Fakenham is located midway between Norwich and King’s Lynn near the source of the internationally important River Wensum with its SSSI and SAC designations. A mile to the west of the town, and bordering the Wensum, are the Hawk & Owl Trust Sculthorpe Moor and the Norfolk Ornithologist Association Hempton Marsh nature reserves. A mile to the east is the Pensthorpe Conservation Centre. Within Fakenham itself are several small nature reserves run by Fakenham Town Council and private owners. These are all either SSSI’s or County Wildlife Sites and provide an important link in the wildlife corridor running along this stretch of the River Wensum. Slightly further afield the NWT reserves at Foxley Wood
, Thursford Wood
and Syderstone Common
. Together these reserves include a wide range of habitats, from ancient woodland to heathland and river banks to ancient grazing marshland; they attract large numbers of birdwatchers and naturalists. As would be expected from this range of habitats, flora and fauna in the area are extensive. Otters, kingfishers, water voles and white-clawed crayfish breed on the River Wensum, which also acts as a migration route for many bird species such as marsh harriers and ospreys. In the early summer orchid meadows attract butterflies and the various scrapes and stretches of water act as a magnet for dragonflies and damselflies.