Holkham National Nature Reserve and beach, Norfolk

Nature Reserve & Beach

Welcome to the Holkham National Nature Reserve

Holkham National Nature Reserve covers about 3706 hectares (9158 acres) from Wells-next-the-Sea to Burnham Overy and comprises a number of rare and precious habitats including salt marsh, sand dunes, pine woodland, beach and grazing marsh.

The present landscape is largely man-made having been reclaimed from saltmarsh between the seventeenth and nineteenth century. The 2nd Earl of Leicester planted the distinctive belt of pine trees in the nineteenth century to help stabilise the dunes. At one time the tidal creeks were wide enough to allow ships to load cargo from a ‘staithe’ or quay in Holkham Village. The work to hold back the sea and secure the fresh-water marshes continues to the present day.

Today, Holkham is best known for its stunning panoramic beach and the rich and varied wildlife found on the grazing and salt marshes. Birds are a particular attraction whether a single rare migrant or the spectacular sight of thousands of pink-footed geese. The Lookout visitor centre at Lady Anne’s Drive highlights the diversity of the reserve and through interpretation in the building aims to increase awareness on how visitors can play their part to protect the reserve. The Lookout has a modest refreshment facility and lavatories.

A small team led by the Conservation Manager is involved in the daily management of the reserve. Holkham Estate has long been recognised as a leading farming business and the management of the reserve demonstrates how modern farming and high standards of nature conservation can thrive together.

The reserve offers a wealth of educational opportunities for children and individual tailor-made programmes can be offered by Holkham’s Education Team to enhance a school visit. For more information click here or to contact the Education Team telephone 01328 713112.

The use of any drones, kite buggies, surfboards, sand yachts and remote control cars/appliances/gadgets are not permitted on the beach. Photography (including video photography) of Holkham beach and/or the nature reserve can be taken for personal use only. Photography or filming taken for any commercial use must have prior written consent from the Holkham Estate telephone 01328 710227.

“The area (of the coast) around Blakeney and Holkham is one of the most beautiful parts of the world.”

Sir Andrew Motion, FRSL – President, Campaign to Protect Rural England & Poet Laureate 1999-2009
BBC Countryfile Magazine Awards 2018: Beach of the Year