Broads, Brecks and coast
Norfolk is justly known as one of Britain’s best counties for wildlife. From a base just north of Norwich, we’ll explore a diverse range of habitats in search of early-summer wildlife.
To be confirmed
To be confirmed
To be confirmed
Four nights accommodation, full board. Local transport and entry fees as specified in itinerary.
Travel to Crostwick. Refreshments. Gratuities. Travel insurance. Covid tests and associated costs.
Minimum 4, maximum 12.
We will spend our first day in Broadland, England’s most important lowland wetland, where we will visit the Yare Valley. Hairy Dragonfly, Norfolk Hawker and Swallowtail butterflies are among the rare creatures we may see on the wing over fens full of fascinating plantlife. Marsh Harriers are busy hunting, Bitterns are booming and the reedbeds are alive with the song of freshly-returned warblers. We will take a boat trip out by traditional ‘reedlighter’, visiting to remote hides only accessible by boat and a 60 foot tree tower, providing views of Hickling Broad and the landscape beyond.
We will visit Breckland, Norfolk’s historic sandy grassland, where Mediterranean plants and insects have their northern-most outposts and Stone Curlews have their national stronghold. Though the landscape has changed dramatically, we’ll find quiet corners of the Brecks where we can still explore the fascinating history and natural history of these unique grasslands.
Heading to the famous North Norfolk Coast, we will take another boat trip out to Blakeney Point, where we will visit the busy colonies of breeding terns and occasional bobbing seals. We will visit nearby coastal marshes, where we will look for dozing Spoonbills, and listen out for pinging Bearded Tits amongst the reeds, or head inland to Kelling Heath, where Adder, Green Hairstreak and Woodlark may be amongst the interesting species to be found.
Please note that holidays change, although sometimes only slightly, from year to year and previous trip reports may not reflect the planned itinerary, or other holiday details, for the current trip. Please ask us if you would like to know of any significant differences.
Day 1 Our holiday starts in Crostwick where we will meet this evening at our hotel in time for an introduction to the holiday and our first dinner together.
Day 2 We head east to the Norfolk Broads and Hickling Broad National Nature Reserve: Cetti’s Warbler may be singing, while we listen out for the squeals of secretive Water Rail, and the yelps of Marsh Harriers. We will take a boat trip to bird hides only accessible by boat and a 60 foot tree tower, giving great views over the broad. One of the stars of the reserve is the impressive Swallowtail, Britain’s largest butterfly, restricted to the fens of Broadland. Many dragonfly species will be present including Variable Damselfly, Scarce Chaser and Hairy Dragonfly, but the real local speciality is the Norfolk Hawker that relies on clean water ditches filled with floating Water Soldier.
Day 3 No trip to Norfolk is complete without a visit to Breckland: this ancient grassland once covered a huge area of the south-west of the county and neighbouring Suffolk. Today only small remnants remain and the most celebrated among them is Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s Weeting Heath. The reserve is best known as the stronghold of Stone Curlew conservation, with several pairs nesting here alongside a handful of Common Curlews. We will also visit three surviving patches of remnant Breckland grassland habitat, where we will look for some of the rare plants of the area including Sickle Medick, Spanish Catchfly, Field Wormwood and the impressive Military Orchid, here growing at one of only a handful of UK sites for this rare plant.
Day 4 We start the day at Morston Quay and take a boat trip out through the creeks and channels through the saltmarsh, to the sand and single banks of Blakeney Point. The point is home to nesting colonies of several species of terns, with Little, Sandwich and Common Tern all the be seen along the shores. Blakeney Point formerly held a large seal colony, with both Grey and Common Seals present in the surrounding waters, but in recent years they have moved to sand banks further out to sea: we will hope to be lucky and catch a sighting of one of these large mammals in the shallow waters.
After our boat trip, we will visit one of the other nature reserves along the coast. We could spend our time at Holkham Marshes National Nature Reserve. Heading inland, we could end the afternoon at Kelling Heath, where butterflies should include Green Hairstreak and Small Copper, and where we will watch out for basking lizards and Adder.
Day 5 One final breakfast, and then it is time to bid farewell to The Old Rectory and to Norfolk and to head home, hopefully taking some good memories of the big skies and wonderful wildlife of the Norfolk summer.
Please note that the itinerary may be changed to suit the weather or other practicalities at the discretion of the leaders.