Official Visitor Website

D is for Dunes

You won’t have trouble finding dunes in Norfolk – we have 1200 hectares of them, stretching around the entire coast.

Coastal sand dunes occur on large beach plains, which Norfolk has lots of, where the surface dries out between high tides. With an onshore wind, the dry sand is blown landwards and deposited above the high water mark, where it is bound by the deep roots of marram grass, creating natural sea defences and… perfect places to play!

Sand dunes in Norfolk – how to protect and enjoy them

Dune grassland and dune slacks (sheltered areas behind the dunes, close to the water table) support a large variety of flowering plants, insects and wildlife.

So, we know dunes are great for exploring, playing hide and seek, and jumping off, but where are the best ones in Norfolk?

Holme Dunes beach West Norfolk

If we start in the north-west, the first dunes are to be found at Old Hunstanton and Holme-next-the-Sea, the latter including a Norfolk Wildlife Trust reserve.

Holkham beach high tide aerial Mike Page

The dunes are bigger at Brancaster, on Scolt Head island, at Burnham Overy Staithe and at Holkham and Wells-next-the-Sea where they protect a large pine forest (there are some excellent trails here).

Blakeney Point seals

There are also impressive dunes on Blakeney Point, a lovely backdrop to the seals lounging around on the seashore.

Where to see the seals in Norfolk

Winterton Dunes

On the east coast the dunes stretch from Sea Palling to Horsey (more places to see seals), then down to Winterton-on-Sea, Hemsby, Caister-on-Sea and the north beach at Great Yarmouth.

Snow Bunting, Salthouse

Birds to look out for in the dunes include sandwich tern, little tern, ringed plover, shelduck, snow bunting (pictured), shorelark and stonechat. If you see any barriers or warnings about nesting birds, please take notice!

Birdwatching in Norfolk

Okay, now you know where they are, what are you waiting for!

PS Marram is an original East Anglian word, deriving from Old Norse words for sea and grass.

D is also for Deep History Coast, Dog-friendly beaches