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Bird Watching

With its rural landscape and unique habitat, Norfolk is a great place to see many rare species, both native and migrating

An Introduction to Bird Watching in Norfolk

Geese on Barton Broad
Ranworth Nature Reserve
Observation Tower
Young Gosling
Holkham Bay

Norfolk is one of the best places in Britain to see both common and rare birds. It is therefore no suprise that it is a popular place for birdwatchers. There are plenty of specially prepared places where you can watch birds without disturbing them - from observation towers, bird hides and visitor centre's. Species include marsh harriers, which fly over reeds where bearded tits nest. On the lakes and Broads are avocets, gulls and terns. You can also see many species of wading birds and lots of ducks and geese.

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Map showing Birdwatching sites in Norfolk

Norfolk Map Holme next the Sea Ranworth Blakeney Horsey Hickling Thurne Barton Broad Salhouse Coltishall Salthouse Cley next the Sea Martham Brancaster Holkham Whitlingham Country Park
 

10 Top Places to enjoy Birdwatching in Norfolk


Norfolk Coast Path Brancaster to Burnham Overy
A popular section of the North Norfolk Coast Path leads from Brancaster Staithe to Burnham Overy Staithe (approx 4 ¼ miles). The whole area has been designated an area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB) and it is easy to see why. There are fabulous views over the marshes which are popular with residential and migrating birds. Brancaster is a working fishing village and you can treat yourself to some fresh shellfish sold from a stall in Brancaster Harbour.
North Norfolk Coast Path View
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Holkham Bay
Holkham Bay is the most extensive, diverse and dramatic nature reserve in North Norfolk, with windswept sand dunes, a maze of creeks, shady pinewoods, green pastures and marshes. This has to be one of the most beautiful in the country and at low tide, you can walk out over the golden sand to the sea beyond. The bay is surrounded by pine trees, planted to protect the land behind. A path goes around the entire bay, one direction taking you all the way into Wells next the Sea, making a lovely walk and gives great views over sand and marshes.
Bird Watching
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Salthouse
In Salthouse, you can enjoy birdwatching without even leaving the pub! the Dun Cow has a raised garden overlooking the marshes, complete with viewing telescope. If you do decide to leave the pub, you will discover a large expanse of salt marsh that attracts both common and rare species of bird. To get a birds eye view, you can also climb the heath and get fantastic views of the salt marsh, coast and village below.
Dun Cow Pub
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Cley Nature Reserve
On the edge of the marsh, just outside the village is Cley Nature Reserve and visitors centre. Cley Marshes is one of the best nature reserves for bird watching in the UK. A patchwork of reedbeds, freshwater pools, dykes, grazing marshes and saline lagoons provide a habitat to attract a wide variety of birds to feed, breed and rest. You may see avocet, bearded tit and extremely rare bittern. The brand new environmentally friendly visitor centre incorporates an observation area, a café, and sales area.
Cley Marshes Visitors Centre
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Barton Broad
In our view, Barton Broad is the best of Norfolk Broads and home to numerous flocks of birds, including geese, swans, coots and grebe. Until recently, the only way to see the broad was by boat, but a new boardwalk has been built to a viewing point taking you through ancient woodland to a viewing point, overlooking the Broad.
Swan on Barton Broad
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How Hill Nature Reserve
Situated on the River Ant in the heart of the Norfolk Broads, this nature trail takes visitors on a varied journey around the local countryside and includes bird viewing hides, bridges and views over the reeds to the windmills. How Hill itself, is a peaceful stop between Ludham Bridge and Barton Broad. There is a magnificant thatched manor house, used as a study centre, which is set in beautiful grounds. You will also find a small marshman's museum and you can take boat trips from the staithe.
How Hill
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Ranworth Broad Conservation Centre
A floating thatched building right on the edge of the Broad which has information about the Broads and their history. Inside, the centre has plenty of things to see and do, such as models of local scenes and also a simulation to demonstrate how boat wash harms the banks of the river. There are also views out through purpose built windows with binoculars and telescopes on the upper windows for bird watching. Ranworth is a small pretty village with a cluster of thatched cottages and village pub, on the south bank of Ranworth Broad.
Nature Reserve Centre
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Hickling Broad Nature Reserve
Hickling Broad Nature Reserve is one of the largest in Norfolk and overlooks Hickling Broad - the largest of the Norfolk Broads. You will find plenty of paths weaving their way across the reed marsh, with observation towers and hides, giving great views over the surrounding ponds and Hickling Broad itself.
Observation Tower
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Whitlingham Country Park
This woodland and water park just southeast outside Norwich at Trowse is a great place to walk, cycle, picnic or birdwatch. Built on the site of a quarry whose gravel was used for a number of major local construction projects, Whitlingham offers a full range of water-based activities, including moth and bat evenings, pond dipping, quarry safaris and a Canadian canoe trail. A historic flint barn has been converted into a visitor information centre, cafe and WC.
Whitlingham
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RSPB Titchwell Marsh
Situated on the North Norfolk Coast between Brancaster and Thornham, this specially created bird watching centre is one of the most popular in Norfolk. From the car park, paths take you past shallow lakes and reedbeds that are teeming with birds. You can observe the birds from benches or from bird hides. There is also a visitors centre with a well stocked shop and a cafe.
RSPB Titchwell
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Other places in Norfolk with good Birdwatching


 
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NORFOLK BOOKS AND MAPS


This is a good and comprehensive Norfolk guidebook

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If you like circular walks to a pub, this is the book for you!

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