Blakeney to Stiffkey coastal wildlife walk
Blakeney National Nature Reserve, Morston, NorfolkRoute details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
Enjoy Norfolk’s vast open landscape and big skies on this lovely walk along the coast path beside pristine saltmarsh. Remember to bring your binoculars, as there are lots of wildlife-spotting opportunities across the marshes and scrub!
Start from the bus stop in Blakeney village, or from the car park at Blakeney Quay. Once arrived at Stiffkey, either return the way you came or take the Norfolk Coasthopper bus back to Blakeney.
- Bus stop
Start: Bus stop near Blakeney Church (TG032436) or Blakeney Quay (TG028442)
From the bus stop, head towards Blakeney village and turn right down the High Street. At the end of the High Street you'll come out onto Blakeney Quay.
Blakeney Quay was once a busy commercial port, dealing in the export of corn and wool from the surrounding Norfolk countryside. The quay is now mainly enjoyed for leisure, from sailing and canoeing, to fishing and paddling.
Turn left and follow the line of mooring posts. Join the Norfolk Coast Path that runs between the houses and the saltmarsh. Head away from the village keeping the salt marsh on your right and fields and houses on your left.
In winter, the saltmarsh becomes home to many species of migratory wildfowl. See large flocks of dark brent geese grazing on the marshes, and short-eared owls and hen harriers skimming over the saltmarsh. In summer, listen out for waders like the noisy redshank, once known as the watcher of the marshes, which breeds on the higher, grassy areas of saltmarsh. Look for rare, salt-loving plants such as samphire, which colonises the open mud, and the silvery 'sea purslane' which borders the creeks. Also, look out for the sea lavender in July and August.
At Morston Quay, head past the National Trust visitor centre along a track to its left and pick up the coast path again (to the right of the building with 1922 on it). Continue walking beside the saltmarsh, but if you begin to cross a bridge onto the saltmarsh, you've gone too far north, head back to the visitor centre and turn right.
Several local families run ferries from Morston Quay out to the shingle spit of Blakeney Point. The boat trip offers a great chance to get up close to common and grey seals. Check out the Old Lifeboat House too - it's now a National Trust visitor centre, open at high tide during busy periods.
Stay on the coast path, passing Stiffkey Freshes Creek on your right and Stiffkey Freshes on your left.
Stiffkey Freshes is an area of freshwater marsh formed behind the sea defence. It's a good place to look out for all kinds of birds, like the ringed plover (pictured), oystercatcher or dunlin. The creek is used by local mussel fisherman to access the harbour.
Continue on the path, passing Stiffkey Greens, until you reach Stiffkey Greenway car park.
End: Bus stop near Blakeney Church (TG032436) or Blakeney Quay (TG028442)
- Trail: Walking
- Grade: Easy
- Distance: 4 miles (7km)
- Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
- OS Map: Landranger 132/133; Explorer 251
Mostly level ground, some uneven natural surfaces, may become muddy after wet weather. Some steps between Blakeney and Morston and at Stiffkey Freshes; suitable for sturdier types of pushchairs. Dogs welcome, but please keep under close control along points 2 to 5. Leads recommended along roadside sections. Also welcome on Coasthopper bus and ferries.
- How to get here:
By foot: Norfolk Coast Path runs 45 miles from Hunstanton to Cromer, passing Blakeney
By bus: Norfolk Coasthopper, Sheringham to Hunstanton, for Blakeney, Morston & Stiffkey
By bike: Norfolk Coast Cycleway (National Cycle Network 30) runs along quiet lanes from King’s Lynn to Cromer. It's an easy 1 mile (1.6km) detour to Blakeney
By car: A149 Sheringham to King’s Lynn coast road for Blakeney, Morston and Stiffkey
- Parking : Available at Blakeney Quay, Morston and Stiffkey
- WC's : At Blakeney and Morston Quay (not NT)
- Food and drink : Pubs and other establishments in Blakeney, Morston and Stiffkey
- Contact us