Discover: Gaywood Valley

Round-leafed sundew by David North 1/12
Slow-worm by Wildstock 2/12
Water vole by Wildstock 3/12
Nightjar by Andrew Ramsey 4/12
Mistletoe by Elizabeth Dack 5/12
Kingfisher by Elizabeth Dack 6/12
Hedgehog by Peter Mallett 7/12
Brown hare by Elizabeth Dack 8/12
Grass snake by Dave Kilbey 9/12
Red fox by Brian Macfarlane 10/12
Bog asphodel by David North 11/12
Adder by Lawrie Webb 12/12
Discover the Gaywood Valley’s wildlife-rich heaths, woods, commons, chalk streams, lakes and farmland. Nocturnal summer-visiting nightjars, rare black darter dragonflies, impressive minotaur beetles, adders and lizards, and numerous rare plants can all be found here. Mammals, including brown hares and several species of deer, also occur. Explore the links to our species profiles and learn what has been seen recently (and what you could see), or share your photos of the Gaywood’s wildlife in our gallery.
The sandy, acidic soils which are prevalent in parts of the Gaywood Valley lend themselves perfectly to one of the county’s rarest habitat types: heathland. Going back two hundred years, extensive heaths were found to the east of King’s Lynn, but today the best remnant in the county is at NWT Roydon Common – a low and scrubby landscape, largely covered with heather, though also containing small pockets of mire and birch-dominated woodland.
At adjacent NWT Grimston Warren the Trust has cleared large tracts of species-poor former conifer plantations and is carefully replacing them by recreating the precious heathland habitat, which is home to a much more diverse range of wildlife.

In addition to its biodiversity, the Gaywood Valley provides a vital range of natural functions (sometimes called ‘ecosystem services’) that we all rely upon: its trees and green plants convert the carbon dioxide we exhale (and that is released when fossil fuels are burned) into the oxygen we need to breathe; carbon dioxide is also taken from the atmosphere and locked away in the valley’s bogs and mires, helping to protect against climate change; our crops are pollinated by visiting insects that thrive in and around the heathland; the soils those same crops grow in are kept healthy by well-functioning local ecosystems.
Perhaps almost as importantly, the Gaywood Valley offers people a place to relax and enjoy the outdoors, a place to experience and connect with the natural world. Indeed, many first-time visitors to NWT Roydon Common are amazed that such a peaceful area of near-wilderness exists right on the fringes of King’s Lynn. Alongside this flagship nature reserve there are also many other popular local places to discover, including Bawsey Country Park, Reffley Wood, and, in the heart of King’s Lynn itself, Harding’s Pits and The Walks – the only surviving 18th-century town walk in Norfolk.
Whether it’s taking a stroll, a bike ride, or just sitting and watching the local wildlife pass by, the Gaywood Valley is a source of pleasure and inspiration to the thousands of people who live in and visit this wonderful Living Landscape.

Upcoming events

Habitats: Gaywood Valley

Heather heathland Heather heathland
Woodland Woodland
Churchyards Churchyards
Rivers Rivers
Farmland Farmland
Gardens, parks and urban areas Gardens, parks and urban areas

News stories: A living landscape

2018-08-13 Floating digger provides next Floating digger provides next stage of fen restoration
Monday 13 August, 2018
A 14-ton excavator has been ‘floating’ on a Norfolk fen this month to create a network of ponds, which wi...
2018-07-25 Songs, Scales and studies at C Songs, Scales and studies at Cley this summer
Wednesday 25 July, 2018
Don’t miss Cley Calling Summer Spirit next week - Thursday 2nd till Sunday 5th August – with unusual ways...
2018-06-27 Summer Spirit as Cley calls to Summer Spirit as Cley calls to art and nature lovers
Wednesday 27 June, 2018
Just five weeks until our long summer weekend of wildlife and creativity at Cley! Thursday 2nd till Sunday 5th August...
2018-05-22 Wildlife in Common Wildlife in Common
Tuesday 22 May, 2018
A two year project celebrating Norfolk’s commons and their wildlife and heritage has begun,  run by Norfol...
2017-12-08 Be ‘eagle’ eyed this winter Be ‘eagle’ eyed this winter
Friday 08 December, 2017
Winter is often a very good time of year to spot birds of prey. As the trees have lost their leaves the silhouettes o...
2017-12-05 Cley Calling celebrates Norfol Cley Calling celebrates Norfolk’s starry skies this weekend
Tuesday 05 December, 2017
Do you know your mallard from your gadwall? Do you fancy a spot of frosty storytelling with a glass of mulled wine? Y...
2017-10-02 New report links volunteering New report links volunteering in nature with better mental health
Monday 02 October, 2017
A new report which examines the effects of volunteering in nature on people’s mental health is published by The...
2017-09-20 Cley Calling – Autumn Colours Cley Calling – Autumn Colours
Wednesday 20 September, 2017
This autumn, you can explore North Norfolk’s colourful coastal landscape and culture as part of NWT’s ...
2017-09-19 Celebrating two decades of rub Celebrating two decades of rubbish help for biodiversity
Tuesday 19 September, 2017
It feels counterintuitive - the waste we produce helping to restore habitats and conserve some of Norfolk’s mos...
2017-09-11 Breeding redshank return to Ro Breeding redshank return to Roydon Common after 40 years
Monday 11 September, 2017
A new noise has joined the cacophony of bubbling curlew, drumming snipe and the ‘tooo-wips’ of lapwing th...
2017-06-27 Norfolk's magical meadows Norfolk's magical meadows
Tuesday 27 June, 2017
Norfolk Wildlife Trust is leading a free meadow tour of Mulbarton Common this Saturday 1 July 2017 as part of The Wil...
2017-06-07 From Dartmoor to Breckland From Dartmoor to Breckland
Wednesday 07 June, 2017
New ponies settle in to manage Cranwich Camp, Norfolk.  Sixteen Dartmoor Ponies are settling in to their new...
2017-05-03 Cley Calling - Spring Song Cley Calling - Spring Song
Wednesday 03 May, 2017
Musicians and artists celebrate spring at the North Norfolk Coast From Thursday 4 May to Sunday 7 May, Norfolk Wi...
2017-04-18 £1 million target reached to s £1 million target reached to secure future of international wetland Hickling Broad
Tuesday 18 April, 2017
Norfolk Wildlife Trust has announced today that the £1 million target had been reached through donations to the...
2017-03-15 'Microsculpture' 'Microsculpture'
Wednesday 15 March, 2017
'Microsculpture' is a unique exhibition resulting from a ground breaking insects project by Levon Biss, Briti...
2017-03-07 Celebrating 'The Year of Norfo Celebrating 'The Year of Norfolk’s Nature' - photography competition
Tuesday 07 March, 2017
Norfolk Wildlife Trust today [Wednesday 8 March 2017] announced the winner of its photographic competition celebratin...
2017-02-16 Do some 'fun raising' and Do some 'fun raising' and "Help Hickling" Broad
Thursday 16 February, 2017
Norfolk Wildlife Trust has an ambitious target of raising £1 million by 31 March 2017 to help it purchase 655 a...
2017-02-02 World Wetlands Day celebrates World Wetlands Day celebrates major public commitment to securing Norfolk’s finest wetland
Thursday 02 February, 2017
Norfolk Wildlife Trust has announced today on World Wetlands Day that over £500,000 has been donated so far to ...
2017-01-14 Sea Flooding at NWT Cley Marsh Sea Flooding at NWT Cley Marshes Nature Reserve
Saturday 14 January, 2017
Update: 18 January 2017 Following the flooding at the weekend, reserve staff are now carrying out a clean-up and ...
2016-12-06 A strong step towards securing A strong step towards securing Hickling Broad
Tuesday 06 December, 2016
Norfolk Wildlife Trust has announced that over £128,000 has been donated so far as a result of it launching the...
2016-11-21 It's time to chat about the ba It's time to chat about the bat
Monday 21 November, 2016
Join bat expert John Goldsmith for an evening this Thursday [24 November] discovering the secret lives of these noctu...
2016-11-02 Hickling Broad - urgent appeal Hickling Broad - urgent appeal to secure future of historic Norfolk wildlife haven
Wednesday 02 November, 2016
 Norfolk Wildlife Trust today announced it is launching a £1 million appeal to secure the future of one of...
2016-07-11  A wild morning in Reffley – t A wild morning in Reffley – this Saturday!
Monday 11 July, 2016
Join Norfolk Wildlife Trust, Reffley Community Association and the Gaywood Valley Conservation Group for a fun packed...
2016-05-13 Competition to name King’s Lyn Competition to name King’s Lynn Wildlife Area
Friday 13 May, 2016
Ideas are being sought from members of the public for a name to give to a publicly accessible wildlife area which is ...