North Norfolk Wildlife and Nature Reserves 

 Pensthorpe Waterfowl Park and Nature Reserve



Seals on Blakeney National Nature Reserve 


Blakeney Point 3 mile long sand and shingle spit



 Cley Marshes



 Holkham Nature Reserve



 Scolt Head Island National Nature Reserve



 Holme Dunes


Titchwell Marsh Nature Reserve



Snettisham Nature Reserve



 Foxley Wood



 East Wretham Heath




Pensthorpe Waterfowl Park & Nature Reserve

Open all year round.  We are just one mile outside Fakenham on the main A1067

Set in the heart of the Norfolk countryside, with over 200 acres to explore in the beautiful and tranquil Wensum Valley, Pensthorpe is an award-winning mix of meandering nature trails and beguiling woodland walks, and a showcase for British wildlife and nature conservation.  As one of the leading Norfolk attractions, it's a brilliant place to visit, with beautiful gardens and spectacular wildlife

Embracing nature trails, bird hides and walk-through aviaries into our natural surroundings, Pensthorpe offers visitors the perfect opportunity to get up close to some of the most endangered and vulnerable species, in addition to our own fine Norfolk wildlife. From Grey-Crowned Cranes to Red Squirrels, our wildlife park makes for a truly unforgettable experience and a wonderful Norfolk day out.

Blakeney National Nature Reserve – National Trust

Open all year.

Wide open spaces and uninterrupted views of the natural and dynamic coastline make for an inspiring visit to at any time of the year. It has an extensive area of saltmarsh, vegetated shingle, dunes and grazing marsh.  The moving tides, covering the pristine saltmarsh or exposing the harbour, combined with the varying light of Norfolk's big skies, create an ever-changing scene.

Blakeney National Nature Reserve has long been recognised as an important area for its wide range of coastal plant habitats and wildlife. The vast areas of rare habitats such as pristine salt marsh, vegetated shingle and sand dunes, attracts a colourful array of wildlife from sea birds to seals.

Blakeney Point, a 3-mile-long sand and shingle spit, is a paradise for all kinds of wildlife and home to a colony of common and grey seals that are here most of the year round and can be seen from any of the seal boat trips that leave from Morston Quay.

The popular Norfolk Coast Path stretches from East to West along the edge of Blakeney National Nature Reserve

Cley Marshes – Norfolk Wildlife Trust

Open all year round. Cley Marshes is on the north Norfolk coast, on the A149 coast road, 6km north of Holt. The visitor centre and car park are easily accessible on the landward side of the road

NWT Cley Marshes is Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s oldest and best known nature reserve. It was purchased in 1926 making it the first Wildlife Trust reserve in the country.

The shingle beach and saline lagoons, along with the grazing marsh and reed bed support large numbers of wintering and migrating wildfowl and waders, as well as bittern, marsh harrier and bearded tit. The view from the visitor centre across the Marsh to the sea is breath taking.

Holkham National Nature Reserve

HOLKHAM is the most extensive, diverse and dramatic nature reserve on a coastline famous for nature reserves.  Windswept tidelines, a maze of creeks and saltings, miles of dunes and sandspits, shady pinewoods, green pastures and marshes: the mix of habitats and the blend of wildlife unite Holkham's National Nature Reserve a unique place, somewhere to catch your breath in a busy world.

Special things to see in winter, migrant birds landing exhausted in in late October, thousands of Pink-footed geese leaving their roost on Bob Halls Sand at Wells, flocks of larks, finches and pipits in Holkham Bay, dawn sunlight over Stiffkey Marshes, Hordes of wildfowl (pink-footed geese, white-fronted geese, brent geese, wigeon) in the fields on either side of Lady Ann's Drive.

In summer Orchids can be seen in the Wells Dell in late June or early July, little and common terns fishing in Wells Harbour, dancing of male ghost swift moths at twilight and the purple haze of sea lavender across the saltings. 

Scolt Head Island National Nature Reserve-Natural England

The island is on the North Norfolk coast, 10 km west of Wells-Next-The-Sea.  The site is reached by a ferry from the village of Burnham Overy Staithe on the A149. The ferries are seasonal, operating from April to September.

The reserve's primary habitats are sand dune, saltmarsh, intertidal sand and mud flats, and open shingle. The saltmarshes are considered to be the finest in the UK and are the best documented and researched in the world.  

The reserve is difficult to access and this, combined with a management policy of non-intervention, has helped to establish the site as a first-rate research resource for the study of coastal processes.

The island supports nationally and internationally important numbers of breeding terns (sandwich, roseate, Arctic and little) and wintering wildfowl, and waders such as shelduck, wigeon, teal and curlew

The plant communities of the dunes and saltmarshes are classic examples of their type. Vegetated shingle 'lows' contain plant species of international importance such as matted sea lavender and sea heath

Holme-Norfolk Ornithologists Association

The visitor centre is open from 9th April to 31st October and from 1st November to 30th March for weekends only.

Leave from Hunstanton and head north along the A149 coast road.  Signs to the nature reserve areon the left just before Holme next the Sea.

Explore Holme Dunes National Nature Reserve - one of the north Norfolk coast’s most attractive landscapes. There are a range of coastal habitats including sand dunes, freshwater pools, grazing marsh and saltmarsh. Much of the site consists of natural habitats maintained largely by coastal processes.

Impressive numbers of migrant and wintering waders fly from the Wash to roost on the shingle bars during spring tides. Wintering wildfowl flocks use the grazing marshes and breeding birds include avocet and little tern. Over 320 different bird species have been seen at this beautiful nature reserve.

Titchwell Marsh Nature Reserve-RSPB

Open all year round.  Take the first left after driving eastwards along the A149 through Thornham village. The reserve is signposted with a brown tourist sign and is on the coast near to Hunstanton.

This popular reserve on the north Norfolk coast has something for everyone. A walk from the visitor centre down to the sandy beach takes you past reed beds and shallow lagoons, which are often full of birds. You can sit on benches or watch from spacious, wheelchair-accessible hides.

In summer, marsh harriers float over the reeds, where bearded tits nest. On the lagoons are avocets, gulls and terns. In autumn and winter you can see up to 20 species of wading birds and lots of ducks and geese.

A well-stocked shop has a wide range of RSPB gifts and books and a large selection of telescopes and binoculars.

Snettisham Nature Reserve-RSPB

Open at all times. Free, but donations to help us continue our work here are welcome.

Snettisham is home to two of the UK’s great wildlife spectacles, massive clouds of wading birds whirling around as they are pushed off the mud by the incoming tide, and huge flocks of pink footed geese leaving their night time roost at dawn in V-shaped formations.

The reserve is open all year and with it each season brings a different experience of nature to enjoy.  In spring, the air is filled with birdsong as they compete to establish territories and attract a mate.  In summer, large numbers of black-headed gulls and smaller numbers of common terns nest on the reserve when there is a spectacular display of shingle flowers.  Look out for young birds making their first venture into the outside world.  Autumn brings large movements of migrating birds - some heading south to a warmer climate, others seeking refuge in the UK from the cold Arctic winter.   In winter, look out for large flocks of birds gathering to feed, or flying at dusk to form large roosts to keep warm.  In the middle of winter, a dawn or dusk visit may reward you with the sight of thousands of pink-footed geese flying from their overnight roosts inland to feed.

Wader spectacular

The breathtaking flight of up to 50,000 wading birds leaving the mudflats of The Wash and landing in front of Snettisham's hides is one of nature's most impressive sights.

Though waders can be seen on all of the highest tides from mid-July to late May, the best period is from August to January.

Pink-footed goose spectacular

The goose spectacular occurs in the hour or so after dawn from mid-November to late January

You might see tens of thousands of geese flying overhead in V-shaped formations, all calling loudly. At dusk, they return to the mudflats for the night.

Foxley Wood-Norfolk Wildlife Trust

Open all year round except Thursdays is 25km north west of Norwich on the A1067 Fakenham Road. Go through Foxley village and the entrance and car park is 2km ahead on the right. 

Foxley Wood is the largest area of ancient woodland now remaining in Norfolk. Its wide rides, originally created to allow the movement of felled timber, make wonderful paths far into the wood.

The wood is exceptionally rich in flora, with over 250 different species recorded, including herb Paris, early purple orchid, lily of the valley and several uncommon trees.

Since becoming an NWT nature reserve in 1989, management has concentrated on clearing the conifers and promoting the regeneration of hardwoods.

East Wretham Heath-Norfolk Wildlife Trust

Open all year located 5km north east of Thetford on the A1075 towards Watton.

East Wretham Heath was established as a nature reserve by the Norfolk Naturalists Trust in 1939, and is among the largest and most varied of important wildlife sites in Breckland.

The two remarkable fluctuating meres are found only in the Brecks and support a number of rare species. The reserve also includes a substantial area of heath, as well as mature woodland, scrubland and open water with marshy grassland.

A large part of the reserve was ploughed during World War II and farmed for almost twenty years, but is now grazed by sheep and rabbits and is slowly reverting to grass heath.

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