Maritime History

King’s Lynn is a West Norfolk town brimming with history. Situated on the banks of the River Great Ouse, King’s Lynn is an historic medieval port. Founded as Bishop’s Lynn at the end of the 11th century. Lynn was the fourth most important east coast port in 1204 and the eleventh wealthiest town in England in 1334.

There is a sea of maritime history to uncover as you explore the town
on foot and every turn reveals a tale of times past. from the trading of the Hanseatic League to the building of the Custom House a classic reminder of King’s Lynn’s maritime prosperity.

King’s Lynn was home to Captain George Vancouver who famously charted the north-west coast of North America, declaring the land British Columbia. The city of Vancouver was of course subsequently named after the great man himself. Today. Vancouver is Canada’s largest port and the birthplace of container shipping.

Walking in the King’s Lynn area is a truly fascinating experience and not only for the historic buildings and local heroes of times gone by. In Roman times the coastline was very different and some settlements that we now think of as inland villages were on estuaries, such as Bawsey which was situated on the Gaywood River estuary.

The coastal landscape of north-west Norfolk is a highly valuable asset to our county in terms of heritage and biodiversity. The Wash, shared between Norfolk and Lincolnshire, is the largest tidal bay in Britain and the most important wetland site in the UK: the south-east corner of The Wash forms the largest National Nature Reserve in England.

The Wash is also home to a large colony of seals and supports a whole host of other marine organisms. birds and plants. Huge numbers of migratory birds stop here, either to over-winter or while on their way to more distant destinations and many others are resident, some breeding here.

All of this makes The Wash of national and international importance. so much so that it is recognised (with the Norfolk Coast) as a European Marine Site.


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