The wild side

A guide to Natural Norfolk

When it comes to natural habitats and the range of wildlife, birdlife and fauna it supports, the Norfolk Coast is a very special place indeed.  So much so, that in 1968 it was designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  The Norfolk Coast Partnership, Holkham Estate, Natural England, RSPB, Norfolk Wildlife Trust and Norfolk Trails help to look after this treasured landscape and keep the balance between enjoying and preserving the area.  Here’s a little more about what to look out for during your holiday…

RSPB nature reserves
The RSPB has reserves along the royal coast at Titchwell and Snettisham – both renowned for their migrations of over-wintering birds.  Rich in birdlife all year around, the reserves are the perfect spot to while away a day with a pair of binoculars dangling from your neck.  Look out for their special events too – we love their Big Wild Sleepout each July.

Norfolk Wildlife Trust
We are privileged to have The Norfolk Wildlife Trust, that carries out tremendous work to keep our coastline the special habitat it is.  With multiple reserves throughout the county, we’re lucky enough to have seven along the coast.  You’ll find visitor centres at Holme Dunes and Cley, with the latter the biggest and most popular.  NWT hosts a multitude of fun events throughout the year to help educate children and adults alike.  Their Fascinating Fossils workshops at West Runton and Sea Dipping days ay Holme Dunes are excellent (and we speak from personal experience!).  Become a member and enjoy reduced rates, and feel humbled that you have helped to support such a worthy cause.

Seal colonies
BBC’s Countryfile visits to Blakeney Point to count the seal pups each winter have become somewhat of a staple in recent years.  With a thriving colony of both grey and common seals, boat trips out from Morston Quay are a must.  Horsey also welcomes many breeding seals each year, but due to the negative impact large visitor numbers can have on the habitat, we would always recommend boat trips as the best way to get up close and personal.  It’s far more exciting and memorable too!

Rural landscape and parkland
Finally, our rich rural landscape is home to a multitude of wildlife to witness if you keep your eyes peeled during country walks and cycle rides.  From boxing hares in March to partridges, pheasants, hawks, owls and more throughout the year, there’s something to spot whichever way you turn.  Our hedgerows, meadows and field margins also support many butterfly and bee species, and the deer on the parklands of our grand estates are a sight to behold.  The countryside that flanks the coastline is truly a wildlife paradise not matter what time of year you visit.