The habitats at Orford Ness

Sea campion growing on shingle ridges at Orford Ness

Redundant Article. There are a number of rich and varied habitats on the Ness, including saltmarsh, mud-flat, brackish lagoons and the internationally rare and protected vegetated shingle.

Grazing marsh

The Grazing Marsh is one of the two principal habitats on the Ness, the other being coastal shingle. Follow the Red visitor walking route on our map (below) through the 'fresh water' airfield marshes and the Green Route round the brackish King's Marsh.

The brackish lagoons of Kings Marsh

The brackish lagoons of Kings Marsh play a key role in the ecological significance of the site; the fluctuating salinity levels enable the area to support significant plants and animals.

Coastal vegetated shingle and heath

Coastal vegetated shingle and shingle heaths are extremely unstable and fragile environments. Orford Ness is the largest vegetated shingle spit in Europe and therefore is a very important habitat nationally and globally.

Reed marshes

Reed marshes are a rare habitat in the UK and many species of conservation-concern depend fully, or partly, on these reed-beds. The EU LIFE-Nature project has helped Orford Ness to extend and improve the reed marshes present.

Salt-marsh and mud-flats

Stony Ditch is the tidal creek on Orford Ness which contains salt-marsh and mud-flat habitats. The mud-flats provide food with each tide for the many waders and wildfowl.

Download our map

The visitor trails on the Ness will allow you to see all of these habitats, although coastal brackish lagoons are best viewed from the Green Route (open seasonally).