Top Nature Reserves near Great Yarmouth
Norfolk is known for its exclusive and vibrant wildlife, so it’s no wonder there are many fantastic nature reserves near Great Yarmouth for you and the family to explore. There’s plenty near Hemsby Beach Holiday Park, so why not try and spot some of Norfolk’s wildlife during your stay?
Ant Broads and Marshes National Nature Reserve
The Ant Broads and Marshes National Nature Reserve includes Barton Broad, the second largest of all the Norfolk Broads. True to the Broads National Park’s history, Barton Broad was from medieval peat digging, and is surrounded by reed swamp. In this reed swamp, you can spot wildfowl such as gadwall, tufted duck, and teal, and Britain’s rare largest butterfly, the swallowtail. As well as this, there are a number of insects for you and the kids to spot, from uncommon dragonflies to rare beetles, and the nationally rare crested buckler fern. There is also the opportunity to spot a heron or two and, if you’re lucky, you might even spot the ever-elusive otter!
The largest Broad, Hickling Broad, is a fantastic place to visit with the kids to see Norfolk’s wildlife. With a range of trails and boat tours from the Norfolk Wildlife Trust, this is a great place to make a day of. The Hickling Broad has a high population of the common crane, as well as a good amount of bittern, marsh harrier, bearded tit, and Cetti’s warbler. You are almost certainly sure to see a Barn owl or two, and – if you’re lucky – Chinese water deer and otters. Hickling Broad is also home to the swallowtail butterfly and Norfolk’s own hawker dragonfly – a great place for wildlife spotting.
How Hill Trust
Popular with schools in the area, the How Hill trust is renowned for its educational focus on the environment in Norfolk. With How H
ill House, beautiful gardens, wetlands, and woodlands, the How Hill Trust is also beside the river Ant. Hosting many events at the site, such as a lovely early morning walk led by the Trust’s Director and Head Gardener (2 May 2017, £12.50pp) and a range of Family Fun Days (26, 28 July and 4 August 2017, £7 adults, £7 children, under 4s free) where you can thatch a reed roof, dyke dip for water minibeasts and take part in outdoor games, teasure trails, woodland art and more, How Hill is a great day out for the kids.
Martham Broad Nature Reserve
Another fantastic place to see the swallowtail butterfly, the Martham Broad Nature Reserve is also home to an array of birds including the common tern, bittern, and marsh harrier, with the common crane also seen flying over the Broad. There is a simple yet delightful circular walk around the Broad, which is a fantastic 360 degree way to see the wildlife of this Broad. For those hoping to catch a glimpse of the hard-to-see otter, mark this on your list of places to visit as the creature has been known to show its face here.
Winterton Dunes Nature Reserve
Winterton is home to striking acidic dunes and heaths that makes up the Winterton Dunes Nature Reserve. Regarded important internationally for the rare groups of plants and animals they home, the dunes at Winterton are uncommon for England, being more common in the north of Europe. The dunes are also home to freshwater pools. Whilst unique and a great way to see some rare wildlife, exercise caution – the dunes are home to adders, so avoid walking through the rough vegetation for children’s safety. Don’t let that put you off – there are many rare insects, including damselflies and butterflies such as the grayling and dark green fritillary. The freshwater pools are also home to natterjack toads, and you occasionally see grey and harbour seals along the coast and beach.