Honing station, Honing, North Norfolk. First explored early summer of 2020. This place has quickly become one of my favourite places on the Norfolk Broads. It’s got a quirky feeling of ‘the place that time forgot’.
The eerie nostalgia fills the air, along with the acrid smell of burnt coal and decaying wood. This place was once bustling with passengers, cattle, trucks and freight that would be dispersed across the whole country; by the beautiful chugging ensemble of mammoth machines, composed of the most basic of natural elements to create propulsion: steam, fire, water and coal. Steam trains.
This small village station nestled in the rural heartland of the North Norfolk Broads was opened in 1882 where it formed part of the eastern section of M&GNJR (Midland & Great Northern Joint Railway), connecting Great Yarmouth with Melton Constable. The two platforms carried passengers and freight all around North Norfolk, and connected Norwich, Cambridge and the North to the Norfolk coastline. It was sadly closed in 1959 as part of the Beeching cuts and was reclaimed by nature and lost for over 60 years. Recently, the line has been found and reopened as a footpath. The station buildings and platforms that remain, saved from the unforgiving consumption of nature, have been excavated and the history preserved.
This particular station still has the entire platform remaining complete with loading ramps and dock for freight and vehicles, the holding pen for cattle with original concrete posts stamped with the year 1919, the footings of both waiting rooms, toilets, coal shed and signal box. Some of the original picket fencing and the level crossing gates still survive, along with the surrounding bridges over the local rivers and the canal just outside the station.
This abandoned and recently discovered station’s skeleton lies now as a footpath for walkers and hikers and a site for the interest of amateur historians as the former glory of this industrial genius is now a distant memory that rots into the past.
I re-visited this place now, in winter, and took photos to compare alongside the ones I took in the summer. It is a fitting juxtaposition acting as an appropriate and timely reminder of the nostalgic cycles of the seasons, and the entropy of time. Time moves forward, not back, it never stands still and just continues effortlessly moving forward just like the well-oiled machines of yesteryear.
Just as the seasons change, the moon undergoes its cycles and nature reclaims what was to forge a path for the present. Live mindfully, in the moment, with grace and flow. Lean into the path of least resistance, not the past nor future. Live now and today with intention and gratitude, and soak up the moments, big or small. So when it is gone you can look back at this time with fond memories and not regret a single breath.
Words: Alexander Woosey, BA Film, @alexandernomad.co