“ Holme Nature Reserve, Beach Road, Holme next Sea, Norfolk. „
The wonder of this nature reserve is the abundance of wildlife and plant life that there is on this beautiful part of the Norfolk coast. Holme is a small village that is a few miles to the south of Hunstanton in Norfolk. The Holme Nature Reserve is managed by The Norfolk Naturalists Trust who have a visitor centre in a large converted house at the far end of the reserve. From the village of Holme you can either drive along a single track road to the end of the reserve or walk along the coastal path across the dunes. If you do drive there are a number of parking areas along the road where you have access to the dunes and the beach. However, I would recommend the walk. There are a number of designated paths through the dunes and visitors are asked to stay on the paths in order to minimise any disturbance to the wildlife. The dunes support many species of insects, but what you cannot miss as you walk along are the number of butterflies there are. Apparently there are 16 different breeds of butterfly in the nature reserve and many appear very unusual. As for the plant life, if you are there in July or August the purple colour of the sea lavender flowering all over the area is spectacular. At the visitor centre there is a small shop selling books, maps and other goods, and also you can buy drinks and snacks there and use the picnic tables outside. Adjacent to the visitor centre is the Holme Bird Observatory Reserve. This is a seven acre site of pine trees and scrub-covered dunes with five hides overlooking the inland marsh area. As well as being an ideal location for serious bird watchers this reserve is also family orientated centre. There is a Nature Trail, Nature Garden and pond, all with an abundance of signs and displays showing the types of birds to be looking out for in different locations and at different times of the year. Although I really enjoy being out in the country and seeing all the different plants a
nd wildlife, I have never been very good at remembering all the different names, but I could easily recognise the different birds etc. from the detailed display boards all around the area. There is so much to see in both of these reserves that you do not need a great knowledge of wildlife in order to appreciate the area. At the end of looking around the reserves you can go to the visitor centre, buy an ice cream and wander onto the beach and relax. The beach is very wide with lovely soft sand and stretches for miles in either direction. We have stopped at a nearby caravan site in our friend's mobile home on many occasions and on every visit it is difficult to leave this beautiful part of the country. If you are staying in the area then try to make a visit to the nature reserve at night. You will be amazed at the sheer number of rabbits that emerge from the dunes and the number of bats that fly from the farm buildings on the edge of the village.