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Nature Reserves


Within Norfolk you will find many nature reserves, from those by the coast to those on the inland broads.

Pensthorpe Waterfowl Park and Nature Reserve is host to over 120 species of waterfowl and waders. Close to Fakenham, you can explore over 200 acres of meadowland, woodland and lakes.

Foxley Wood near Fakenham is owned by the Norfolk Wildlife Trust. It is the largest remaining block of ancient woodland in Norfolk, and is renowned for its stunning bluebells and variety of wildlife.

Blakeney Point has a number of hides dotted around the water’s edge, where you can study the large variety of bird life. On nearby sandbanks there is a colony of seals and, by catching a boat from Morston, visitors can enjoy a closer look at these fascinating creatures.

Cley Marshes is home to a large number of rare migrants that are attracted by the wide expanse of salt marshes and all they hold.

Holme bird observatory is 3 miles north-east of Hunstanton, and has hides and a nature trail.

Holkham beach has a mixture of sand, salt marshes, mudflats and sand dunes, with Corsican pines attracting a variety of wildlife.

Scolt Head Island is 5 miles west of Wells-Next-the-Sea, and is accessible by ferry from Brancaster Staithe and Burnham Overy Staithe from April through to September.

Snettisham gravel pits on the Wash have hides and an information centre. Flocks of waders, ducks and breeding terns can be observed.

Titchwell, which is 1 mile west of Brancaster, has hides and a visitor centre. There are reed beds, a lagoon, salt marshes and a sandy beach with marsh harriers and bitterns.

Strumpshaw is between Acle and Norwich and is an RSPB reserve. It has an information centre and various hides scattered over a very idyllic setting.

Spotting the elusive Bittern in Norfolk

Spotting the elusive Bittern in Norfolk

October 2018

The bittern is one of the rarest breeding birds in the UK, it is very well camouflaged and spends all year round in Norfolk, making its home in reedbeds on the Norfolk Broads. The male has a very distinctive booming call, that it uses to attract a mate, and this can be heard up to 2km away between March and June.

Visit the Grey Seals at Horsey, Norfolk

Visit the Grey Seals at Horsey, Norfolk

September 2018

From late October through to February a large colony of grey seals come onto the beach at Horsey, Norfolk to have their young. It is one of the few accessible UK mainland breeding sites where visitors can observe the grey seals and their pups.

The Marsh Harrier is a Norfolk Success Story

The Marsh Harrier is a Norfolk Success Story

November 2018

The marsh harrier is the largest of the harriers and is recognisable by its long tail and light flight with wings held in a shallow ’V’ formation. Females are larger than the males and have distinctive golden-yellow crowns and throat and chocolate-brown feathers. Males are lighter in colour and have a brown back, pale neck and head, gingery belly and long grey wings with black tips. In recent years the marsh harrier population has increased, and in Norfolk, it is not unusual to see this beautiful bird in flight.

See the Swallowtail Butterfly in Norfolk

See the Swallowtail Butterfly in Norfolk

October 2018

The Swallowtail Butterfly, Papilio Machaon Britannicus is a large, strong and colourful butterfly that forms part of the Papilionidae family. The largest native UK butterfly, with a wingspan of up to 9cm, it is also one of the rarest. The Swallowtail Butterfly has very distinctive yellow and black markings and if you are lucky enough to spot one in flight, it’s a beautiful sight to behold.

Useful links

Visit Norfolk Website

Visit Norfolk is the strategic voice of the county's visitor industry. This brand delivery vehicle, operated by Visit East Anglia, is responsible for promoting all that the county has to offer at local, regional and national levels.

RSPB Norfolk

RSPB Norfolk - Passionate about nature, dedicated to saving it.

Norfolk Wildlife Trust

Norfolk Wildlife Trust helps to ensure Norfolk's habitats, wildlife and landscape are protected today and for future generations

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