The official visitor website for Norfolk
Search this website

w is for wildlife

Norfolk is famous for its birdlife – we think it's the birdwatching capital of the UK. And whatever time of year, there's plenty to see around the coast at four major reserves.

For many birders, NWT Cley Marshes is a must. This peerless nature reserve, the oldest in the county Wildlife Trusts movement and still among the most celebrated, has such a range of habitats and attracts such a diversity of birds that it is a birder's default choice for Norfolk's splendid birds.

Birds in flight at Cley sunset

Holkham Nature Reserve is vast, with rugged coastal wetlands, saltmarsh, dunes, pinewoods and scrub, grazing marsh and foreshore. It stretches from Burnham Norton to Blakeney and covers about 3,706 hectares. It is possible to explore most of the area by following footpaths from the main car parks. The core section of the reserve, from Wells to Holkham Bay, is crisscrossed by paths allowing access through the pine woodland.

Holkham and Wells-next-the-Sea beaches

RSPB Snettisham has amazing displays of waders and wildfowl, attracted by the mudbanks and salt marshes of The Wash. Norfolk bird watching offers a breathtaking flight of up to 50,000 wading birds leaving the mudflats of The Wash and landing in front of Snettisham's hides which 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.

Wildlife on the Wash

RSPB Titchwell Marsh has good birding all year. In Spring you will see migrating waders such as ruffs in breeding plumage, black-tailed godwits and spotted redshanks. Watch marsh harriers perform their amazing 'sky-dancing' and listen out for a booming bittern. Watch out for dragonflies and damselflies in summer as well as water voles along the meadow trail. Catch curlew sandpipers and little stint in autumn and roosting birds of prey, rafts of wildfowl and skeins of pink footed geese in winter.


Other places of wildlife interest include Pensthorpe Natural Park, you can see deer at Holkham and, of course, you can't leave Norfolk without seeing the seals (see film below) at Blakeney Point.

Top 10 wildlife in Spring

Top 10 wildlife in Summer

Top 10 wildlife in Autumn

Top 10 wildlife in Winter

Winter wildlife safari

Deer swimming at Holkham
W is also for walking, Wells-next-the-Sea

Norfolk coast

More Inspiration