If you're a bird watcher then Norfolk is definitely the place to be. There are a number of birdwatching sites dotted around the county, ranging from full RSPB & Norfolk Wildlife Trust reserves all the way through to low-key sites that other bird-watchers have simply stumbled across!
Titchwell Marsh is one of the most popular reserves in the region; the shallow lagoons and reed beds are ideal for spotting birds of all varieties. There are a number of different benches and hides in the reserve too, so it's easy to settle down for a few hours at a time.
The Holme Bird Observatory is one of the most stunning bird watching locations in the UK. Since being established in 1962, over 50,000 birds have been ringed and more than 300 different species recorded. With over 13 acres of pine and scrub-covered dunes, it's an absolute must-visit for any bird-watchers.
Cley Marshes is the Norfolk Wildlife Trust's oldest reserve and home to their stunning visitor centre. The shingle beach and saline lagoons, along with the grazing marsh and reedbed support large numbers of wintering and migrating wildfowl and waders, as well as bittern, marsh harrier and bearded tit.
Sculthorpe Moor Nature Reserve is another extremely popular location. A rich variety of wildlife can be found in the woodland, fens and reed beds, with 45 acres available to explore. Bird feeders and nest boxes are set along the way, and there are a number of viewing platforms scattered around the sites, ideal for sitting and waiting.
These aren't the only sites in North Norfolk, of course: we'd also recommend looking at Cley Marshes, RSPC Snettisham and the Blakeney National Nature Reserve as well as the number of smaller sites dotted across the coast.
Essentially, Norfolk is more or less the perfect county in which to bird-watch.
Norfolk is such a popular bird-watching county; it's therefore no surprise that there are a wide number of tours out there offering you the chance to see some of the UK's most beautiful animals in some stunning scenery.
Why choose a proper tour? Well, birdwatching can be very rewarding; but if you don't know where to look it can also be frustrating! Experienced guides will know where to go to see the rarest and most picturesque birds, as well as the spots that you'll actually enjoy spending time in.
Bird spotting tours take place throughout the day, and on some occasions may be even longer. Indeed, some guides – such as the guys at norfolkbirding.com – offer three or four-day weekends that'll allow you to get the most out of your time in our picturesque county.
Here are some of the most well-known tours operating in the Norfolk area:
The Bird ID Company offer a number of tours in both Norfolk and Suffolk.
Norfolk Courtyard and Norfolk Birding have teamed up to offer a number of tours, operating all year round.
As mentioned above, these guys really know their stuff, and also offer tours throughout the year.
Particularly ideal for beginners and intermediate bird spotters looking to improve their skills.
If you're heading to the Norfolk area for a birdwatching weekend and need accommodation, give Norfolk Hideaways a call today on 01485 211022 or speak with our Support Agents on Live Chat for more information.
Norfolk is an absolute paradise for anyone who loves to birdwatch in their spare time. One of the most picturesque counties in the UK, it contains a number nature reserves renowned amongst the bird watching community. These are some of the best known:
Is the Norfolk Wildlife Trust's oldest and best known nature reserve. It was purchased in 1926 to be held 'in perpetuity as a bird breeding sanctuary'. It provided a blue print for nature conservation which has now been replicated across the UK.The water levels in the pools and reedbeds are regulated to ensure they are ideal for the resident birds, and reed is harvested every year to keep the reedbeds in good condition.
The shingle beach and saline lagoons, along with the grazing marsh and reedbed support large numbers of wintering and migrating wildfowl and waders, as well as bittern, marsh harrier and bearded tit.
A new eco-friendly visitor centre opened in 2007 containing a café, shop, viewing areas (including viewing from a camera on the reserve). we have since added to this with the fantastic Simon Aspinall Wildlife Education Centre, a courtyard and viewing deck. The view from the visitor centre across the Marsh to the sea is breathtaking.
Found in Norfolk's northwest corner, where The Wash meets the North Sea, the Norfolk Wildlife Trust reserve is superbly located to attract migrating birds.
It also holds a variety of important habitats which support numerous other wildlife species including natterjack toads, butterflies and dragonflies, as well as a large number of interesting plants.
Various military remains from WWII can be glimpsed around the reserve, including the remains of a target-railway used to train artillery. Much earlier remains have also been discovered including Roman pottery and, in 1998, a well-preserved Bronze Age timber circle, which became known as 'Seahenge'. The circle was uncovered by strong tides, having been hidden for some 4,000 years (no longer at Holme, the structure was removed for preservation purposes by archaeologists).
The Holkham Nature Reserve
Is a must visit for bird-watchers. It's a stunning landscape that stretches from Burnham Overy to Wells across a range of low-lying marshes, dykes, fields, ridges and trackways. As you can imagine, it's paradise for migrant birds, as well as larks, finches and pipits.
Is one of the most spectacular reserves in the UK, offering a range of wide open spaces and uninterrupted views of the North Norfolk coastline. The shingle spit of Blakeney Point is particularly stunning, the surrounding salt-marshes hosting a range of wildlife. In particular, the stunning summer breeding tern colony is a must-see.
Marshes, sandy beaches, beautiful skies…what more could you want? Titchwell Marsh is another stunning nature reserve, and one of the most popular in the county. It's especially stunning in the Autumn, with hundreds of birds resting throughout the reserve as they migrate from the Arctic. A must-visit for any bird-watcher.
The beauty of Norfolk is that there are so many more reserves out there to explore: to find out more, see our properties below.
The RSPB offers protection for birds across the UK, and operates a number of different reserves that offer sanctuary for birds across the country.
North Norfolk in particular is host to two of the UK's major RSPB sanctuaries, both of which are definite must-visits for any enthusiastic bird-watchers.
Some of the major RSPB sanctuaries include:
Regularly plays host to one of the UK's most unique wildlife spectacles: tens of thousands of wading birds across the mudflats. It's a one-of-a-kind experience and one that any birdwatcher should see at least once – and preferably a few times! There's also the opportunity to enjoy some of the UK's most beautiful autumn sunsets, and – in mid-winter – the opportunity to see thousands of pink footed geese flying inland from their overnight roosts to feed.
Which is one of the most popular reserves on the coast, offering lovely walks, a sandy beach as well as a number of lagoons in which a range of species can be found. Avocets, gulls and terns can all be found in the range, along with over 20 species of wading birds as well as ducks and geese. There's also a full shop and eating area in the reserve, which is ideal if you're coming for an all-day trip.
If you're heading to Norfolk to visit some of the RSPB reserves, see our properties below.
***Exclusive Offer for Norfolk Hideaways Guests – Half Price membership for the whole family for one year, just quote NH50 when purchasing (available at Cley Marshes & Holme Dunes) ***
The Norfolk Wildlife Trust is the oldest Wildlife Trust in the country. The purchase of 400 acres of marsh at Cley on the north Norfolk coast in 1926 to be held 'in perpetuity as a bird breeding sanctuary' provided a blueprint for nature conservation which has now been replicated across the UK.
NWT has come a long way in 88 years. From humble beginnings the now have over 35,000 members, more than 100 corporate members, and eight thriving local members groups. They provide education services for over 5,000 young people on school and university field trips each year.
Across Norfolk the NWT cares for over 50 nature reserves and other protected sites encompassing wetland, heathland, woodland and coastal habitats that provide a home for flagship species including otter, water vole, natterjack toad, bittern, common crane, marsh harrier, bearded tit, swallowtail and Norfolk hawker.
North Norfolk Reserves (further information from NWT Website)
Norfolk is a brilliant county for bird-watching, with a wide number of sites from full RSPB reserves to obscure, small spots that just happen to attract rarer birds. On this page, we'll go through some of the locations where the latest sightings have taken place:
As an RSPB reserve, it should come as no surprise to see Titchwell on this list, with the most notable recent sightings a Curlew Sandpaper as well as a Red-necked Grebe.
Another beautiful reserve that continues to attract a number of species, with the last month or so including sights of Spoonbill, Yellow-browed Warblers and Windchats.
Another popular destination, another few sightings! In recent weeks at Blakeney, there's been Lapland Bunting, Ospreys, Yellow-browed Warblers and a Red-breasted Flycatcher as well as a number of others.
It's not just us people that love Holkham! In the last week or so sightings have been reported of Yellow-browed Warblers, Great White Egrets, Firecrests and Black Terns.
Other noticeable sightings include Great Grey Shrike Northrepps at Hungry Hill, a Honey Buzzard over Waxham and a Richard's Pipit over Northrepps.
Remember that you should check out the brilliant at www.norfolkbirds.com blog if you want to find out about the very latest sightings. They're really up to date and might help you hunt down a rare sighting of your own!
If you're looking for accommodation within easy reach of Norfolk's most popular bird-watching reserves, give Norfolk Hideaways a call today and we'll be happy to help you.