Blakeney Freshes coastal wildlife walk

Blakeney National Nature Reserve, Morston, Norfolk

Route details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
A view of Blakeney Point landscape © Joe Cornish

A view of Blakeney Point landscape

British Golden Plover in flight © David Plant

British Golden Plover in flight

Lapwings © Michael Graham

Lapwings

St. Nicholas’ Church, dominates the area with its twin towers. © Simon Knott

St. Nicholas’ Church, dominates the area with its twin towers.

Route overview

This walk through Blakeney Village and around Blakeney Freshes is fantastic for spotting wildlife, especially birds. Keep an eye out for them on the grazing marshes and reedbeds. There are also excellent views to enjoy along the way as you stroll around Blakeney Point and the harbour.

Route details

See this step-by-step route marked on a map

Route of the Blakeney Freshes coastal wildlife walk in Norfolk
  • Directions
  • Route
  • Bus stop
  • Parking
  • Toilet
  • Viewpoint

Start: Bus stop, Blakeney Church, grid ref: TG032436

  1. From the bus stop head away from the church into Blakeney Village and turn right down the High Street. At the end of the High Street, you will come out onto Blakeney Quay.

    Show/HideBlakeney Quay

    For several centuries, Blakeney was a busy commercial port exporting corn and wool and importing a variety of goods, including coal and timber. Today, the quay is mainly used for recreational activities, such as sailing, bird-watching and walking. Savour the stunning views across Blakeney harbour and to the shingle spit of Blakeney Point (point 1).

    A view of Blakeney Point landscape © Joe Cornish
  2. Cross the main car-parking area of the quay and walk up onto the bank on the right hand side. From here you can see Blakeney Freshes on your right. Take the footpath on top of the bank out towards the harbour.

    Show/HideWild birds

    Blakeney is a popular spot for bird watching. In winter, large swirling flocks of Golden Plover (pictured) move between the harbour and the marshes, while ducks and geese, such as Wigeon, and the black and white Brent Geese graze in the fields (point 2).

    British Golden Plover in flight © David Plant
  3. Follow the same footpath round to the right.

  4. Continue along the footpath beside the new river, turning right to head back inland.

    Show/HideRiver Glaven

    The footpath now runs alongside the new route of the River Glaven, which was moved inland in 2006 to prevent flooding. The areas that were fresh water marsh and the old footpath route are now exposed to saltwater and tides and are quickly turning into saltmarsh. New rare habitats have been created as a result and are excellent for breeding birds. In summer, see breeding waders on the grazed fields, such as lapwing (pictured), avocet and redshank. Look out for marsh harriers hunting over the reed-beds and sedge and reed warblers, bearded reedlings and reed buntings in the reed-beds and ditches (point 4).

    Lapwings © Michael Graham
  5. Keep to the footpath on the bank until you reach the A149 between Blakeney and Cley-next-the-sea. Cross the road and turn right, walk up the hill and cross the road again and stay on the pavement until you are back at the bus stop near Blakeney Church.

    Show/HideSt. Nicholas' church, Blakeney

    Well worth a visit while waiting for your bus, St. Nicholas' Church, was built between the 13th/15th centuries; is large for a small village, and dominates the surrounding area with its twin towers. The hammer beam roof and wealth of stained glass enhance the majesty of the building and its dimensions are comparable to a major city church. It featured in Simon Jenkins’ 1000 Best Churches and in the Daily Telegraph 100 favourite churches. The church provides a warm 'Welcome Team' and freely available refreshments. WC's are also available.

    St. Nicholas’ Church, dominates the area with its twin towers. © Simon Knott

End: Bus stop, Blakeney Church, grid ref: TG032436

  • Trail: Walking
  • Grade: Easy
  • Distance: 3 miles (5km)
  • Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • OS Map: Landranger 133; Explorer 251
  • Terrain:

    A circular walk along mostly flat ground. Points 2 to 5 follow the Norfolk Coast Path along a good surface on top of a grassy bank. Part of the walk is along a pavement alongside the coast road. Dogs welcome under close control along the Norfolk Coast Path on points 2 to 5. Points 2 to 5 follow the Norfolk Coast Path along a good surface on top of a grassy bank and in places there is a new wooden boardwalk which diverts the path around recent damage to the sea wall. 'Work is currently being undertaken around Blakeney Freshes to repair this sea wall. The footpath is still open, however, there is a small diversion in place around the work site. Leads recommended along roadside sections of the walk. For more information visit our website at http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/blakeney

  • How to get here:

    By foot: Norfolk Coast Path runs 45 miles from Hunstanton to Cromer, passing Blakeney

    By bike: Norfolk Coast Cycleway (National Cycle Route 30) runs along quiet lanes from King’s Lynn to Cromer, it is an easy 1 mile detour to Blakeney

    By bus: Norfolk Coasthopper, Sheringham-Hunstanton. Go to www.norfolkgreen.co.uk for details of bus times

    By road: A149 Sheringham to King’s Lynn coast road

  • Facilities:

    • Parking : Blakeney Quay, Morston and Stiffkey:
    • WC's : At Blakeney and Morston Quay (not NT), and St. Nicholas' church, Blakeney.
    • Food and drink : Establishments at Blakeney, Morston and Stiffkey. Refreshments at St. Nicholas' church, Blakeney.
    • Dogs welcome on Coasthopper bus

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