Being situated in North Norfolk, we are extremely lucky to have a number of nature reserves
nearby, making our holiday cottages the perfect destination for nature lovers. We also
know that the autumn and winter months are an excellent time to visit the
reserves, especially for keen bird watchers. Not only do we have a great
variety of resident birds including Marsh Harriers, Bitterns, Avocets and
Oyster Catchers, the reserves also become packed with winter migrants including
Brent and Pink Footed Geese, the Black-tailed Godwit, Fieldfares, Redwings and
|Marsh Harrier hunting over local arable land|
There isn’t a day that currently goes by where we don’t see
or hear a flock of geese flying over us and we know, from reading updates via
the social network sites, that the migratory birds are arriving and settling
into the reserves on a daily basis.
We offer the perfect sanctuary after a long day outside,
braving the elements. Our warm, cosy, open plan cottages have been designed to
make you feel at home the instant you walk through the door. The living room
space invites you to put your feet up and relax and our large beds are so
comfortable, we guarantee a good night’s sleep. We also have a heated, indoor
swimming pool on site, which is always a welcoming place to thaw out those
frozen, numb toes!
So, dig out your thermals and waterproofs, scrub down your
walking boots, clean up your binoculars and rummage around in the back your
kitchen cupboard for that Thermos flask. It’s time to book into one of our
luxury cottages and explore the Great British Wildlife at some of these popular
We had to start with our neighbour, Sculthorpe Moor, which
is situated approximately 2.5 miles from our cottages. This reserve is owned by
the Hawk and Owl Trust, a charity that’s dedicated to conserving owls and other
birds of prey, in the wild.
The 45 acre reserve has woodland, fen and reedbed habitats
and offers a rich variety of wildlife. Throughout the year you can enjoy
spotting wildlife such as tawny and barn owls, willow and marsh tits, kingfishers,
tree creepers and water and bank voles. During the autumn and winter months you
can find bramblings, water rails, siskins and roosting harriers too.
Between October and March the reserve is open from 8am –
4pm, Tuesday to Sunday. All families are welcome to enjoy the reserve - a voluntary
donation of £3.50 is suggested from adult visitors.
Okay, so Pensthorpe could possibly be seen as more of an
attraction, but we had to include it for the work this place does. This
fabulous reserve covers over 200 acres and is nationally renowned for it’s
conservation projects on Red Squirrels, Corncrakes, Turtle Doves and Cranes and
is also nationally recognised as a breeding site for several species of birds,
butterflies, insects and mammals.
Pensthorpe also works extremely hard to encourage children
to discover nature and how they can respect and protect our natural
surroundings and wildlife for their future. Interactive activities such as pond
dipping, den building and going on an interactive bug walk, all educate the
children and help them experience nature first hand.
This year, Pensthorpe also opened up their new adventure
play area WildRootz. This adventure play area has been designed to encourage
children to play and explore in natural habitats such as woods, fields and
streams. It’s adventure play, nature’s way!
Cley Marshes is owned by the Norfolk Wildlife Trust and is
their oldest (it was purchased in 1926) and best known nature reserve. In fact,
it actually provided a blue print for nature conservation, which has now been
replicated across the UK.
The reserve includes a shingle beach and several lagoons,
along with a grazing marsh and reedbed. It supports large numbers of wintering
and migrating wildfowl and waders and is home to residents including the
bittern, marsh harrier and bearded tit.
The visitor centre looks across the marsh to the sea and the
views are truly breathtaking.
This popular RSPB reserve takes you past reedbeds and
shallow lagoons, before you reach a sandy beach.
There are four birdwatching viewing points, all of which are wheelchair
accessible, where you can watch an array of birds including Water Rails,
Bitterns, Bearded Tits, plus variety of Waders, Terns and Ducks.
There is something for everyone at this reserve, even the
children are encouraged to find different species of birds, insects and animals
during their walk and if they find everything on their list, there’s a little
prize to collect from the visitor centre.
Blakeney Point Nature
One final thing we must mention before we go, is
the seal colonies around Blakeney Point.
Blakeney Point is a four-mile-long sand and shingle spit and
is home to colonies of Grey and Common Seals. It is also one of the most
important sites in Europe for breeding terns.
|Grey Seal Pup basking in the winter sun|
Although the seals can be seen throughout the year, Grey
Seals have their pups between November and January and Common Seals have their
young between June and August. The best way to view the seals in their natural
habitat is by taking a boat trip either via Morston or Blakeney Quay. This is a fantastic
experience for all the family as it allows you to enjoy a close view of the
wildlife without disturbing it.
Blakeney Point sits within the Blakeney National Nature
Reserve. The reserve itself is made up of saltmarsh, mudflats and fresh
watermarsh and hosts a diverse range of special wildlife.