Buckenham Marshes

Buckenham Marshes 

Rook spectacular in winter months but open all year round 

This RSPB nature reserve is on the north side of the River Yare and is a traditionally managed grazing marsh with large numbers of breeding wading birds, and ducks and geese in winter. The marshes are in a rural and isolated location with limited car parking.

How to get there

By road: South-east of Brundall, a large village to the east of Norwich, just off the A47. Buckenham station is down a tiny lane. For satnav: TG 350 056

From the A47 roundabout, drive through Brundall towards Strumpshaw. Follow the signs for Strumpshaw Steam Engine museum, but then bear left and continue along the lane until you come to the station.

Bus: Regular service to Stone Road Strumpshaw: First Group then about 1.5  mile walk along lanes.

Rail: Buckenham Rail Station is next to the nature reserve and the station platform is a good place from which to observe the rooks. The service is not very frequent and the station is a request stop. For details of train services on the day you want to travel go to: Enquiries

Bike: Probably only an option in the summer if you have children with you, as it will be dark and cold when you’ve finished watching the rooks in winter.

The Yare Valley cycle route runs close to the reserve. The proposed future route of National Cycle Network Route 1 also runs close to the reserve, while its current route passes on the other side of the River Yare View local cycle routes. 


Rooks spectacular: The rook (and jackdaw) colony at Buckenham is one of the largest known in the country, with an estimated 50,000 of the birds roosting in Buckenham Carrs wood every night during winter – between November - February is the best time.

Buckenham Marshes is a traditionally managed grazing marsh with large numbers of breeding wading birds, and ducks and geese in winter including the only regular winter flock of bean geese in England (November to February), together with white-fronted geese and up to 10,000 wigeons.

For details of wildlife that can be seen all year round at Buckenham Marshes, and nearby Strumpshaw marshes see the RSPB website: RSPB

Cost: Free!

Strumpshaw steam museum is nearby but only open during the summer season: see website for opening times and admission costs Steam Museum.

Refreshments: There are no refreshments at the marshes, so wrap up warm and take a flask with you in winter!

Loos: No loos either, unfortunately…



Seal breeding colony in winter months. Windpump open Easter - October. Beach open all year!

A tiny hamlet tucked away on a no-through road off the B1159, and most visitors never notice it. The church is small but atmospheric. Horsey Mill is to the south of the village next to Horsey Mere, and is owned by the National Trust, and the main beach car park is to the north of the village, at Horsey Corner. 

How to get there 

By road:15 miles north of Great Yarmouth on B1159, 4 miles north-east of Martham. If you’re visiting in winter to see the seals, parking can get a bit tricky in the lane near the pub at weekends. If there’s no room you could park at Horsey Mill National Trust car park instead (pay and display), and walk along the permissive path to the beach from there, or you could walk from the main car park atHorseyBeach(see below for details).

Bus: No regular service

Rail:North Walsham (16 miles) GreatYarmouth (15 miles) .

Bike:Regional route 30 View local cycle routes


Seal watching: If you go to the beach at Horsey at any time from early Spring to late Autumn you are likely to see a few seals. But from December to early February grey seals establish a breeding colony there and large numbers of adults and pups can be seen.

Visitors are not allowed on the beach, where the colony is, at this time of year because the presence of people can scare the mothers away, and cause pups to be abandoned. But the seals can be easily seen from the sand dunes.

To reach the colony take the track past Nelson’s Head pub and when you get to the sand dunes, turn right.

Cost: Free!

The Beach: The main Horsey beach car park (no charge) is to the north of the village, at Horsey Corner, down quite a long bumpy track. There are no facilities there, but the beach has lovely soft sand, with sand dunes and a nature reserve behind, and you will often find yourself sharing the sea with a seal.

Cost: Free!

Horsey Mill: Owned by the National Trust, the mill is usually open at weekends and on bank holidays through March and every day from April to October – check the National Trust website for up-to-date details. Climb the windpump for lovely views over Horsey Mere.

There is a large car park next to the mill and refreshments available at Horsey Staithe Stores where you can also discover more about the area. You can walk to the beach from the Mill.

Cost: Charge for car park and for entrance to mill (free for NT members): see National Trust website for details National Trust

Boats trips on the Broad: Available from the Staithe

Cost: See website for details: River Trips


Horsey Staithe Stores, next to Horsey mill

Nelson Head Pub 

Poppyland Restaurant and tea room Horsey – near entrance to main beach car park Tel: 01493393393

During the summer you may also find a van in the main beach car park at Horsey Corner serving snacks.

Loos: Public loos at Horsey Mill National Trust car park


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