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.
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.
Holkham beach has a mixture of sand, salt marshes, mudflats and sand dunes, with Corsican pines attracting a variety of wildlife.
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.
Pensthorpe Natural Park is one of Norfolk’s finest attractions and is located 45 minutes from Norwich on the A1067 Fakenham to Norwich road. It is home to many species of mammals, birds, invertebrates and plants and its diverse range of habitats creates a stunning rich landscape which Pensthorpe Conservation Trust manages. With indoor and outdoor adventure play areas, educational facilities, talks and guided tours, bird hides, a café and gift shop, it’s a great place to visit, whatever your age.
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.
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.
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.