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The wonders of wildlife
If you love the Great Outdoors, this is a perfect spot for you. Whatever the season, there is always plenty to see. With clear, open skies and relative darkness, Norfolk is a great place for star-gazing.
Birdwatchers rate Norfolk as the best stretch of coastline in the UK for both the rarity and sheer numbers of birds to be seen. Our proximity to the continent guarantees a steady supply of migrating birds in spring and autumn.
Throughout the summer, the breeding birds are out in force — avocets, bearded tits, marsh harriers, and even bitterns at RSPB reserve Titchwell Marsh. In winter Norfolk plays host to 150,000 pink-footed geese from Iceland and Greenland. See them on the vast tidal mudflats at RSPB Snettisham.
Cley Marshes was the first reserve started by the Norfolk Wildlife Trust in 1926 and provided a blueprint for bird conservation throughout the UK. There are excellent views across pools that attract a huge diversity of water birds.
A boat can also be hired at Brancaster Staithe (weather permitting) to take visitors to the National Nature Reserve on Scolt Head Island which is managed by English Nature. The island is an important breeding site for Terns, Oystercatchers and Ringed Plovers.
Sculthorpe Moor Community Nature Reserve, just four miles away, was created by the Hawk and Owl Trust to protect and enhance the very special habitat in the Wensum Valley of Norfolk. Wildlife includes breeding marsh harriers, otters, water rails, kingfishers and barn owls.
Just a few miles down the road is the famous nature centre Pensthorpe, home to BBC Springwatch and a perfect place to get close to animals, insects and birds. See a wide range from ducks and geese, to lapwings and rare Red Crowned Cranes. Check out the captive breeding programme for red squirrels, and the first public garden in the UK by award-winning naturalistic designer Piet Oudolf, featuring bold drifts of colourful perennials.
Along the A148 towards Holt discover Natural Surroundings, a beautiful 60-acre wildlife, wildflower and countryside centre.
Alternatively take a walk around Walsingham with this Wildflower leaflet and see how many wildflowers you can identify. The leaflet was made with information supplied by Tim McDonald from an original list compiled by Mrs Clark of wildflowers she discovered on walks around Walsingham with her dog. Photos supplied by Elizabeth Meath Baker and Joanna Otte.