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Bill Jordan

Everything you need to know about the Pensthorpe Bird and Wildlife Fair

The new Pensthorpe Bird and Wildlife Fair will highlight Norfolk’s credentials as a birding and wildlife hotspot and raise money for the Norfolk Wildlife Trust (NWT) when it debuts at Pensthorpe Natural Park on Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 May 2019. Here is everything you need to know…

Expert talks

Visitors will be treated on both days to insightful talks and guided walks from nature and wildlife experts including Simon King OBE, known for his work on Big Cat Diary, Springwatch and as a cameraman on Planet Earth, and Mike Dilger, The One Show wildlife reporter and presenter on Nature’s Babies.

One of Britain’s best-known birders, Bill Oddie OBE, who has presented popular TV programmes including Springwatch and Autumnwatch, will also be in attendance and giving a talk on both days.

Visitors can also look forward to talks from both male and female experts from the world of television, conservation and birdwatching*.

Highlights include speakers from the Norfolk Wildlife Trust, the RSPB, Joe Harkness of Bird Therapy, who recently appeared on Winterwatch with Chris Packham talking about the healing power of birds, as well as wildlife photographers sharing their tips on capturing incredible footage.

Talks not to be missed include ‘The trials and tribulations of a wildlife presenter’, ‘Exploring therapeutic benefits of birdwatching for mental health and wellbeing’, ‘Project Godwit – Black-tailed godwits and the race to save them’ and ‘Conservation in Norfolk: bringing back the wild to our lives’.

Talks will take place in the Lecture Marquee and Garden Room on both days from 10.30am to 4pm and all talks are included in the admission price.

Bill and Deb Jordan and Pamela Abbott from NWT

Special ‘out of hours’ events with Simon King OBE and Mike Dilger

To raise extra funds for the Norfolk Wildlife Trust, there will be two special ‘out of hours’ experiences for visitors.

‘An evening with Simon King OBE in association with Zeiss’ will take place on Saturday 18 May from 6pm to 8pm at Pensthorpe’s Wader Scrape hides. Simon will point out wildlife he hears and spots and answer questions, as well as give hints and tips on how to make the most of optic equipment. Pensthorpe’s Reserve Manager, Richard Spowage, will also be on hand to talk about the diverse habitats at Pensthorpe and the species that call it home. £35pp and includes canapés and a glass of Prosecco.

A morning with Mike Dilger in association with Swarovski on Sunday 19 May from 8am to 10am will see visitors jumping aboard the Pensthorpe Explorer, winding though the farm and to the Wader Scrape for tea, coffee and pastries. Mike will point out interesting species, sights and sounds along the way as visitors enjoy spectacular views of the Wensum Valley and ask questions. Mike will be joined by Pensthorpe’s Reserve Manager, Richard Spowage, to talk about the history of Pensthorpe and its conservation work. £35pp and includes tea, coffee and pastries.

The space on each is limited to just 25 people so advance booking is essential by visiting


Guided walks

Here is the programme of guided walks…

Saturday 18 May
• 11.30am – a habitat walk with Mike Dilger and Richard Spowage
• 12pm – a walk with acclaimed naturalist Nick Acheson
• 1.30pm – a butterfly walk with Greg Bond
• 2pm – a wildlife photography workshop with Craig Jones
• 2.30pm – a habitat walk with Simon King OBE and Richard Spowage
• 3pm – general natural history with David North

Sunday 19 May
• 11am – a walk with acclaimed naturalist Nick Acheson
• 11.30am - a habitat walk with Simon King OBE and Richard Spowage
• 1.30pm – a butterfly walk with Greg Bond
• 2pm - a wildlife photography workshop with Craig Jones
• 2.30pm - a habitat walk with Mike Dilger and Richard Spowage

Guided walks are included in the standard admission price.


There will be bird ringing demonstrations and moth identification sessions on both days, and a pond dipping session with Jack Perks (Saturday at 11am). These demonstrations are included in the standard admission price.

Pensthorpe Explorer

The behind the scenes Pensthorpe Explorer will include a few special highlights for the two day event. As well as learning the history of the estate, passengers will also stop and look out over the Wader Scrape and lakes; areas that visitors don’t normally have access to during breeding season. Plus, there will be a stop at the top of Mid Brec, the highest point on the Pensthorpe estate with panoramic views. The tour lasts an hour and runs at regular intervals on both days.

Adults/seniors £5 and children £4.

Book signings

There will be afternoon book signings on both days with Simon King OBE, Bill Oddie OBE, Mike Dilger and Joe Harkness, plus Jack Perks (Saturday only) and Lucy McRobert (Sunday only).


The event will bring together experts in the fields of optic equipment, wildlife-inspired art and crafts, books, artists, retail and nature holidays. Around 50 exhibitors will be in attendance including Butterfly Conservation, Cley Spy, Emily Rose Fine Art, the Hawk & Owl Trust, Norfolk Cottages, the RSPB, Woodland Trust, Wensum Valley Birdwatching Society and many more.

Norfolk Wildlife Trust (NWT) is the charity beneficiary of the Fair, meaning that a percentage of profit will be used to develop wetland restoration and care in the Broads National Park, specifically at Upton Broad and Marshes, South Walsham, Ranworth Broad and Hickling Broad. The special ‘out of hours’ event profits will also be donated to NWT.

The event will be hosted by Pensthorpe Conservation Trust (PCT), a charity dedicated to creating a centre of excellence in ecological restoration, promoting sustainable farming and researching, breeding and protecting threatened species.

The event is sponsored by Cley Spy, WildSounds & Books, and Norfolk Cottages.

Pensthorpe’s café, snack shack and hatchery will be open for food on both days, and Squilla & Squidge, Pie Central, Sunrise Crepes and Elm Bars will also be in attendance.

The event is from 10am to 6pm on Saturday and 10am to 5pm on Sunday.

Tickets cost £8 per person. Under 3’s and Pensthorpe Annual Members are free. Parking is free. Dogs, except guide dogs, are not allowed in the main reserve.

For more information about the Pensthorpe Bird and Wildlife Fair or to book tickets visit or call 01328 851465.

All talks, walks and activities have been booked in good faith and are correct at the time of going to print. However, there may be unavoidable changes. Please visit the website in the run up to the event for updates.