Holkham National Nature Reserve covers about 3706 hectares (9158 acres) from Wells-next-the-Sea to Burnham Overy and comprises a number of rare and precious habitats including salt marsh, sand dunes, pine woodland, beach and grazing marsh.
The present landscape is largely man-made having been reclaimed in the late 19th century by the 2nd Earl of Leicester who planted three miles of sand with Corsican pine trees to stabilise the dunes and hold back the sea to create the present grazing marshes. At one time the tidal creaks were wide enough to allow ships to load cargo from a ‘staithe’ or quay in Holkham Village. The work to hold back the sea and secure the fresh-water marshes continues to the present day.
Today, Holkham is best known for its stunning panoramic beach and the rich and varied wildlife found on the grazing and salt marshes. Birds are a particular attraction whether a single rare migrant or the spectacular sight of thousands of pink-footed geese.
A small team led by the Conservation Manager is involved in the daily management of the reserve. Holkham Estate has long been recognised as a leading farming business and the management of the reserve demonstrates how modern farming and high standards of nature conservation can thrive together.