Sparham Pools lies in the Upper Wensum Valley near the villages of Lyng and Sparham, the site of former gravel workings that have been flooded to form deep and shallow pools with islands. The result is a very attractive and interesting site with a number of vantage points providing the opportunity to observe the pools and their rich and varied habitats.
The reserve, leased to NWT, is popular with birdwatchers as it attracts a number of waders and waterfowl. Sand martin and kingfisher nest in the banks and common terns breed on the islands.
Dragonflies and damselflies flourish including red-eyed damselflies and butterflies such as the purple hairstreak and green hairstreak. The area has a mix of birch, gorse and willow scrub with woodland supporting a rich variety of plant species including hound’s tongue and evening primrose.
These former gravel workings attract a variety of wildfowl including shoveler, gadwall, mallard, pochard and tufted duck.
In winter these may be joined by goosander and, occasionally, goldeneye. The surrounding trees harbour good numbers of common woodland birds.
Sparham Pools is one of the better sites in Norfolk to see this attractive long-tailed grey and yellow songbird. The bridge over the Wensum is a good spot from which to look for them.
In winter, Sparham can be a good site for this sleek diving-duck. Males have a dark green head and back that contrasts with the rest of their stunning pink-washed, creamy plumage.