Great places to see Autumn and WinterWildlife without a carin Norfolk
Norfolk is famous for its wildlife. And never more so than in late autumn and winter. Baby seals, migrating geese, winter waders, rutting deer and many more birds and animals can be seen in the Broads, along the coast and in the heaths and woods. This variety of habitats is what makes Norfolk such a great place for nature lovers. Lots of people imagine you can only get to these wild places with a car, but there are plenty of reserves you can access easily by bus and train. Here are seven of the best.
1. Titchwell Marsh
Woods and reeds, salt marsh and sand dunes, freshwater and tidal lagoons: with such a range of habitats, it’s no surprise that RSPB Titchwell Marsh is one of the best places to see a variety of wildlife. Highlights include bearded tits and shy bitterns, hiding in the reed beds, and wintering avocets in the lagoons. Thousands of migrating birds pass through Titchwell in spring and autumn, and many spend the winter here, giving visitors a great opportunity to see different species of ducks, waders, seabirds and geese. Various nature trails lead through the woods and heath and down to the sea past the lagoons so you can easily access all the different habitats.
- How do I get to RSPB Titchwell car-free Coastliner Bus 36 from King’s Lynn to Fakenham stops on the road right outside the RSPB reserve. Just follow the signs!
- If you’re arriving in King’s Lynn by train, come out of the railway station and walk straight ahead along Waterloo Street to reach the bus station, where bus 36 leaves hourly. The journey is a scenic hour and fifteen minutes through woods around Sheringham, past a lighthouse in Hunstanton and along the coast with views across the marshes to the sea.
- And what about lunch? There’s a café at RSPB Titchwell. Four stops back towards King’s Lynn on the bus, you’ll find a choice of places to eat and drink in Thornham. And one stop (or a short field-edge walk) beyond that, Drove Orchard’s farm shop and Eric’s Fish and Chips also have a bus stop right outside.
2. Dersingham Bog
Dersingham Bog is a National Nature Reserve near King’s Lynn, full of birches, pinewoods, heather and rare wildlife. There are several signed waymarked trails from the entrance, exploring the woods and heath, and the glades attract birds such as redpoll, siskins and crossbills.
- Look out for roe and fallow deer running across the open areas and into the trees. The area attracts migrating birds in autumn and is also a great place for fungi-spotting with colourful fly agaric, boletus, ink caps and stinkhorns.
- How do I get to Dersingham Bog by bus? Bus 36 from King’s Lynn to Fakenham and bus 34 to Hunstanton both stop at Edinburgh Plantation, ten minutes’ stroll from the entrance to Dersingham Bog. Coming from King’s Lynn, get off the bus, walk a few steps further and turn left into a lane through the woods. Keep right at the fork and you will soon find the little car park for Dersingham Bog.
- And what about lunch? There are no refreshments nearby, but you’ll find a big choice of places to eat and drink in King’s Lynn or Hunstanton.
3. Berney Arms and Breydon Water
Breydon Water near Great Yarmouth attracts huge numbers of over-wintering birds and tens of thousands of wintering wildfowl flock to the area known as Berney Arms every year. This is a very remote wild area, which you can only access by foot, rail or boat, but if you plan ahead, you can take one of the rare trains from Norwich or Great Yarmouth to Berney Arms. It’s a request stop so make sure you tell the guard you want to get off! If the train times don’t suit you, you can also walk out and back from Great Yarmouth.
- From Berney Arms station, cross the railway line and head for the big windmill near the river. Turning left, Great Yarmouth is about 6 miles along the signed Wherryman’s Way and Weavers Way. From this reed-fringed embankment, there are views across the River Yare and isolated windmills with lots of birds feeding on the low tide mudflats along Breydon Water.
- Alternatively, turn right towards Reedham, following the riverside Wherryman’s Way for about five Miles. Here, there is a choice of pubs and cafes and more frequent trains. Look out on either walk for flocks of wigeon, lapwing and plovers and for racing hares and muntjac in the wide marshy fields.
- And what about lunch? Bring a drink and snack as there are no refreshments until you get to the end of the walk, whichever way you set off.