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Holkham Hall
Holkham National Nature Reserve and Holkham Park
Photos by Joe Bridge - www.joebridge.co.uk
e-mail :
joebridge@gmail.com

Holkham Hall Website

Holkham and Holkham Hall are located on the A14. Pictured are the estate grounds and the shop next to Holkham Hall. Holkham Hall lies in a 3,000 acre estate with the House, Gardens and a Bygone museum.

Opening Hours:
Open June to September every day except Tuesdays & Wednesday Bygones Museum opens at 12 noon-5.00 pm and Holkham Hall opens at 1.00 pm-5.00 pm. Holkham Country Fair is a bi-annual event.

Holkham is the most extensive, diverse and dramatic nature reserve on a coastline famous for nature reserves. Windswept tidelines, a maze of creeks and saltings, miles of dunes and sandspits, shady pinewoods, green pastures and marshes: the mix of habitats and the blend of wildlife unite Holkham's National Nature Reserve a unique place, somewhere to catch your breath in a busy world.

   

Holkham Hall

Holkham Hall

Holkham Hall

Holkham Hall

   

Holkham Hall Brochure

Holkham Shop

Holkham Hall Brochure

Holkham - Shop

   

Holkham Hall Grounds

Holkham Hall Grounds

Holkham Hall Grounds

Holkham Hall Grounds

 

A few facts about Holkham
Holkham Fort, near Bones Drove, dates back. to around AD47 and is the remains of an Iceni settlement. Warriors of this tribe fought with Queen Boadica against the Romans. Holkham is the home of Coke of Norfolk, whose Holkham Shearings (gatherings of farmers and friends to discuss agricultural matters) helped to encourage agricultural reform. A memorial to Coke of Norfolk can be seen in Holkham Park to the south of the reserve. Saltmarsh reclamation began on this coast at Burnham Overy in 1639 and was completed in 1859 with the construction of the Wells sea wall. The Vikings sailed up a creek through the saltmarshes during the first millennium and built a fort at a bleak place they called Holkham ('ship town' in Danish). As recently as 1986 Wells Harbour handled up to 200 large vessels and 100,000 tons of cargo (mostly animal feeds) annually Nowadays a few crab boats and pleasure craft are all that remain. Lord Nelson spent many of his boyhood days exploring this stretch of coast.

Special things to see in Winter
The tideline after a gale - lots of sculpted driftwood, stones etc
Dew on spiders' webs in October
Migrant birds, landing exhausted in the seablite bushes in late October
Thousands of Pink-footed geese leaving their roost on Bob Halls Sand at Wells
Flocks of larks, finches and pipits in Holkham Bay
A peregrine or harrier being buzzed by a cheeky blue tit or pipit
Dawn sunlight over Stiffkey Marshes
Mixed flocks of larks, finches and pipits in Holkham Bay
Hordes of wildfowl (pink-footed geese, white-fronted geese, brent geese, wigeon) in the fields on either side of Lady Ann's Drive

Special things to see in Summer
An evening panorama from Gunhill
Orchids in the Wells Dell in late June or early July
Dashing flight of a dark green fritillary over the dune flowers
Little and common terns fishing in Wells Harbour
Dancing of male ghost swift moths at twilight
Purple haze of sea lavender across the saltings

As with so much of the English countryside the look of the Norfolk coast is an intimate blend, part wilderness and part working landscape. From Burnham Overy to Wells the low-lying marshes north of the coast road used to be tidal saltmarshes, separating offshore shingle and dune ridges from the main coastline. The tidal creeks were large enough to allow ships to load cargo from a staithe at Holkham village. From 1639 onwards a series of embankments were constructed by local landowners, including the Cokes of Holkham. By the time the Wells embankment was completed in 1859 by the 2nd Earl of Leicester about 800 hectares of saltmarsh had been converted to agricultural use.

In the late 19th century the 3rd Earl of Leicester planted pine trees on the dunes, creating a shelter-belt to protect the reclaimed farmland from wind-blown sand. Today the ribbon of mature woodland still separates seascape from farmscape. The fields and dykes, ridges and trackways have become part of the natural mosaic. Nature moves on; Thomas Coke, the great agricultural pioneer whose memorial can be seen above the treeline in nearby Holkham Park, would hardly recognise the place.

Holkham National Nature Reserve is owned by the Earl of Leicester and the Crown Estates and is managed by English Nature and Holkham Estate.

 
Holkham National Nature Reserve and Holkham Park

Holkham National Nature Reserve and Holkham Park
   
Holkham National Nature Reserve and Holkham Park

Holkham National Nature Reserve and Holkham Park

RAF Marham and the Ministry of Defence always try to work closely with the local population, and meetings are often set up to air views and opinions, with the aim of resolving local issues that occur from time to time. On this occasion, (October 2005) a trip to Holkham National Nature Reserve was arranged to hear the views of the Nature Reserve staff, with particular regard to the migrating and nesting Geese, low flying helicopters and the noise of fixed wing aircraft flying over the Nature Reserve, during the birds breeding season.

A number of staff from the Ministry of Defence, RAF, Defence Estates, the Army and United States Air Force bases were invited to visit the Reserve and view the problems at first hand. There would be an opportunity to discuss and suggest possible solutions to the problems encountered. The Reserve staff gave a thorough briefing on the migrating habits of birds which have increased in numbers from 40,000 in 1990 to over 154,000 in 2005 due to the success and management of the Nature Reserve. At any one time (6 month breeding season - October to January) there can be up to 100,000 Geese on the 10,000 acre site, which stretches from Burnham Norton to Wells-Next-The-Sea. The birds are particularly affected by loud sudden noises, such as a low flying helicopters which cause them to flock en-masse, which could potentially create a problem with low flying aircraft - mainly helicopters. The birds have become used to the distant noise of fixed wing aircraft (Tornado GR4s from RAF Marham) which always cross the marshland over to the sea at right angles at heights in excess of 1,000 feet, and although irritating for the bird watchers with the aircraft noise, they do not pose a significant threat to bird strikes.

When asked how they count the birds it was explained that Geese take off in flock formation, so it is relatively easy for a team of Reserve staff to count each flock that takes off and multiply it by the number of flocks per meadow. The Geese fly down from Iceland and winter in the Holkham Reserve for six months, taking off and feeding on local sugar beet fields in the morning and returning in the evening, and generally fly at between 250 feet-1,000 feet.

The Reserve staff gave the MoD visitors a guided tour of the meadows and marshland areas that the birds roost in, followed by a trip up the coast to Wells-Next-The-Sea, to show the expanse of the Reserve. During lunch the problems encountered by the Reserve staff were discussed and possible solutions were discussed, some of which could be rectified fairly quickly, whilst other more complex issues would need to be discussed at greater length before solutions could be identified and implemented.

 
Holkham National Nature Reserve
Holkham National Nature Reserve
Holkham National Nature Reserve
Holkham National Nature Reserve
Holkham National Nature Reserve
Holkham National Nature Reserve
Holkham National Nature Reserve
Holkham National Nature Reserve
Holkham National Nature Reserve
Holkham National Nature Reserve
Holkham National Nature Reserve
Holkham National Nature Reserve
Holkham National Nature Reserve
Wells Next-the-Sea - Holkham National Nature Reserve
Wells Next-the-Sea - Just along the coast from Holkham Hall
Pink Feet in the Holkham area, courtesy of Ron Harold (Holkham NNR Manager) and were taken by A. I. Bloomfield (Andy)

Pink Feet in the Holkham area,
courtesy of Ron Harold (Holkham NNR Manager) and were taken by A. I. Bloomfield (Andy)
Pink Feet in the Holkham area, courtesy of Ron Harold (Holkham NNR Manager) and were taken by A. I. Bloomfield (Andy)

Pink Feet in the Holkham area,
courtesy of Ron Harold (Holkham NNR Manager) and were taken by A. I. Bloomfield (Andy)
Pink Feet in the Holkham area, courtesy of Ron Harold (Holkham NNR Manager) and were taken by A. I. Bloomfield (Andy)

Pink Feet in the Holkham area,
courtesy of Ron Harold (Holkham NNR Manager) and were taken by A. I. Bloomfield (Andy)

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