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Holme Dunes, photo by Richard Osbourne 2/4
Holme Dunes, photo by Mike Page 3/4
Holme Dunes, photo by Liz Dack 4/4

Holme Dunes

At Norfolk’s northwest corner, where The Wash meets the North Sea, Holme Dunes is superbly located to attract migrating birds.

It also holds a variety of important habitats which support numerous other wildlife species including natterjack toads, butterflies and dragonflies, as well as a large number of interesting plants. Various military remains from the Second World War can be glimpsed around the reserve, including the remnants of a target-railway used to train artillery.

Much earlier remains have also been discovered including Roman pottery and, in 1998, a well-preserved Bronze Age timber circle, which became known as ‘Seahenge’. The circle was uncovered by strong tides, having been hidden for some 4,000 years. No longer at Holme, the structure was removed for preservation purposes by archaeologists. It is now on view at King’s Lynn Museum.

DOWNLOAD the Holme Marsh walk map (PDF)
 


Car park booking system

We are trialling an online booking system for the car park at Holme Dunes to help manage visitors accessing the nature reserve and protect the site. The new system, hosted by Eventbrite, applies to weekends, public holidays and school holidays: 1 – 4 June 2021 and 22 July – 3 September 2021. 

Bookings will be released for the Saturday and Sunday (or Friday in the school holidays) at 11am eight days prior to the first booking date and open until 3pm on the day before. Visitors will be allocated a 30 minute arrival timeslot and can then stay as long as desired, until the nature reserve closes at 5pm. 
 

NWT members park for free - join online now before you visit! Blue Badge Holders also continue to park for free and so badge holders and members will not need to make any payment when using the booking system, but non-members will need to pay.  

  • Please book one ticket per car
  • You will need to show your e-ticket on arrival, and members please also bring your membership card
  • If you arrive more than 10 minutes after your allocated timeslot, we cannot guarantee you entry.
  • Tickets are for your use and cannot be sold or shared
  • This booking information will be held by our staff on the gate and anyone not having booked can be refused entry.
 

Book Tickets now via Eventbrite


Frequently Asked Questions

Why is this system being introduced? 
We recognise that during these unprecedented times the pressures on the north Norfolk Coast and its communities are significant. The system will allow us to safely manage visitors accessing the nature reserve and protect the site.

What happens if I can’t access the internet or if the ticket website isn't working and we can’t book a timeslot?
If you do not have access to the internet you can call the visitor centre on 01485 525240 to book. If the ticketing website is not working then please do try again at a later point. 

What happens if we are late because we're caught in unexpected traffic and we miss our timeslot? 
We will take all reasonable steps possible to try and accommodate the needs of our visitors including those with unexpected delays. However, if you arrive more than 10 minutes after your allocated timeslot, we cannot guarantee you entry.

Will this be a permanent change? 
We are trialling this new system and its longer term use will be reviewed as part of this process. 

Which car park does this apply to at Holme Dunes? 
The booking system only applies to the main Holme Dunes reserve carpark. 

 

Covid-19

Coronavirus: read our guidance on visitor centre safety measures - what to expect

Access
From Hunstanton head north along the A149 Coast Road for 4km (2.5 miles), where you will then take a  left turn and drive down Beach Road. The reserve is signposted. Please park in the NWT car park on the left- hand side of the track. Entrance to the nature reserve and start of the trails are beside the visitor centre. A number of hides overlook the pools and grazing marshes. There is a charge for non-NWT members. The Lynx Coastliner bus stops on the main road 3km (1.9 miles) away.

Access for those with limited mobility
Reserve:
From the car park it is possible to access the Norfolk Coast Path via a hardened path. The coastal path which runs adjacent to the reserve has some sections of easy access boardwalk. The reserve also has some sections of boardwalk/hardened paths leading to one accessible hide.

Visitor Centre:
No specific disabled car parking bays but a rough surface leads to the centre and a ramp to the entrance and patio area. The unisex toilets are wheelchair accessible but are only available when the centre is open.

Please note that the dunes and their wildlife are very susceptible to erosion and disturbance, so please follow all on-site access instructions. During busy periods in the summer visitor numbers may be limited.
 

Spring

Birds - Little tern, ring ouzel, ringed plover, redshank, lapwing, marsh harrier, shoveler
Reptiles and amphibians - Natterjack toad
 

Summer

Birds - Avocet, little tern, black-tailed godwit, ringed plover, redshank, lapwing, bittern, marsh harrier, shoveler
Reptiles and amphibians - Natterjack toad
Plants - Southern marsh orchid, sea lavender


Autumn

Birds - Black-tailed godwit, wigeon, pink footed goose, brent goose, Slavonian grebe, twite, spotted redshank, pied flycatcher, curlew, bar-tailed godwit, knot, ringed plover, redshank, lapwing
 

Winter

Birds - Wigeon, pink footed goose, brent goose, snow bunting, long tailed duck, Slavonian grebe, twite, spotted redshank, curlew, bar-tailed godwit, knot, ringed plover, redshank, lapwing

 

Sea Buckthorn
Probably planted to help stabilise the dunes, this spiky silvery shrub is prevalent here. In autumn, its bright orange berries are a godsend to the thousands of migrating birds, such as wintering thrushes, that stop off at Holme.
 

Barn Owl
There are few sights in Norfolk more evocative than the ghostly form of a barn owl carefully quartering the fields and dykes. NWT Holme Dunes is one of the best places to catch up with the ethereal birds as they hunt silently over the grazing marshes in the late afternoon. Calm days are the best time to observe them.
 

Avocet
This unmistakeable black-and-white wader, with its characteristic upturned bill, breeds in small numbers on the reserve, and can often be watched feeding in front of the hides during the summer.
 

Migrating and vagrant birds
The unique location of NWT Holme Dunes means it attracts large numbers of migrating birds. In spring, wheatears and warblers are common, with large numbers of finches and thrushes in the autumn. Scarce migrants such as wryneck, yellow-browed warbler and barred warbler are almost annual. When the conditions are just right, thousands of tired migrants take shelter among the scrub and dunes in what is known as a ‘fall’.
 

Seabirds
Holme is a good place to seawatch: with the correct winds gannets, skuas, terns and divers can be watched passing by the coastline in their hundreds.

  Booking system introduced
VIsitors will now need to book a car park space on weekends, bank holidays and school holidays. Parking remains free for members and Blue Badge holders. Please book via the buttons below.

 

Details

Address

Post code
PE36 6LQ
Map reference
OS Landranger 132
Grid reference
TF 714 449
Designation
NNR, SPA, SAC, SSSI, Ramsar
Get directions
Directions
Best time to visit
Opening times
Dog policy
Type
Visitor centre
Entrance fee

Upcoming events at Holme Dunes

Children's Wildlife Watch - Beach Wildlife Explorer, Holme Dunes
Sun 25 Jul 2021 - Sun 08 Aug 2021
Event Info
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