Everything you need to know about… RSPB Titchwell Marsh
From marsh harriers soaring overhead to avocets guarding their fluffy chicks, this family-friendly nature reserve is a wonderful spot to celebrate wildlife.
What is it…
Titchwell Marsh is a Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) nature reserve on the north Norfolk coast between the villages of Titchwell and Thornham. The area is home to diverse habitats including reedbeds, saltwater and freshwater lagoons, not to mention a wide swathe of sandy beach with views across The Wash.
What can I do?
There are two main paths: the West bank trail across saltmarsh, reedbeds and freshwater lagoons – or the East trail with its calm pools of water, wildflowers and yellow gorse. Either way, bring your binoculars because this is the ultimate bird-watching territory. You’ll likely spot marsh harriers, bitterns, bearded tits and avocets to name a few, all of whom nest in this reserve.
Will the kids love it?
Titchwell Marsh is very much a place for families to enjoy wildlife. Take young birders to the multi-habitat reserve, which is great for all-year-round nature spotting. There are pushchair friendly paths and accessible hides, too. Do hit the beach where, at low tide, you can spot the petrified forest and remnants of sea defenses from the Second World War – it’s excellent beachcombing territory.
Can I bring the dog?
Dogs are allowed on the West bank trail as it’s a public right of way – but make sure you keep them on a lead. Assistance dogs are welcome.
Is there somewhere we can eat?
Yes. There’s a Visitor Centre, a shop and a café – all open daily. The menu is local and sustainable where possible, and the coffee is bird-friendly (i.e. coffee producers leave the tree canopy above the coffee bush in place, thus providing a vital habitat for wildlife).
If you do one thing…
Check out the ever-changing programme of events (many are ticketed, with discounts for members). Novice birder watchers might want to sign up for ‘Discover Titchwell’, a 90-minute introduction to the reserve’s diverse landscapes and wildlife – or how about ‘What’s that Bird?’ on how to identify feathered visitors. And we’re loving the sound of ‘Stargazing for Beginners’ where you’ll learn how to spot stars with the King’s Lynn and District Astronomy Society. And kids will want to get stuck into the hands-on activities, workshops and bushcraft days.
When’s a good time to visit?
Well, it depends on what you’d like to see. Titchwell Marsh is stunning year-round, but Autumn is when many of the migrant birds from Scandanavia and Northern Europe arrive – and in the colder months, there can be around 70 species of birds on the reserve. As the winter visitors depart, Spring sees the arrival of the sand martins and swallows. You might see oystercatchers and ringed plovers, mallards, teal, black-tailed godwits and avocets guarding newly hatched chicks. Listen out for the bittern’s call and keep eyes peeled for marsh harriers as they perform their swooping sky dance for breeding season. Summer, of course, is glorious too.
RSPB Titchwell Marsh, Main Road, Titchwell, PE31 8BB; rspb.org.uk