RSPB Titchwell Marsh

239 Reviews

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Review type

Things to do


Date of travel

February, 2017

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Reasons for trip

Why had we never been before? Cley was too easy perhaps, with its lounge above the marshes so an idle birdwatcher could sit by a provided telescope and drink coffee or hot soup all day. We went this time as much because the tidal surge had damaged Cley as to find anything new. Now we have been it is top of our agenda for all future visits.

Had we arrived earlier or been less fascinated we might also have visited Walsingham to see the snowdrops. That will be on the agenda too. Also, if we feel wealthy, there is North Creake delicatessen and farmers’ market nearby.

No sign of farmers’ market cars in the car park, where charges only apply to non-RSPB arrivals. The visitor centre has refreshments (though we’d brought our own) and very helpful staff to suggest routes and likely sightings. Just outside is a lazy-watchers’ bench for a warmer day than most in February. The feeders had goldfinch, chaffinch, coots, a robin, a pheasant and inevitably a persistent squirrel. It was diverting while we ate.

There are two routes: as first-timers we chose the longer, heading for the shore about a kilometre away. Drainage channels run beside it and in one, as promised, was our first ever sighting of a water rail. These are normally too shy to be seen but here, as the warden had told us, it almost hogs the cameras. Unfortunately it was just too far in the reeds for a decent image, and had moved on before we returned.

The first lagoon is maintained as fresh water, with sea water nearer the beach. The two are separated by double turf walls high enough to withstand the recent surge. As there is nothing to see, the walls being head-high on both sides, informative and sometimes amusing circular plaques present, Heritage-style, historical and ornithological facts.

We were to save the wall and its splendid two-directional hide for our return from the shore, but had time for a little grebe, numerous lapwing, grey and golden plovers on the water or islands and redshank probing the mud. Teal too were in abundance.

Out at sea there were gulls or just possibly divers hurling themselves into the water after fish. Along the tideline more gulls and shelduck were abundant. As once before a clear blue sky belied the afternoon chill whipped up by a sharp wind. Views along the tideline seem to be endless, only the curvature of the Earth restricting them.

The sand dunes between lagoons and shore would probably stop people of limited mobility, but otherwise the path is broad, flat and easy. Between the sea wall parapets there is easy passage for wheelchairs. We enjoyed the fact that it was once possible to walk across to the Continent from there because (pre-Brexit) we were then part of it. More recent history recorded the Romans and World War II airfields in the vicinity.

Not only spacious but open on all sides via retractable windows, the hide must be one of the finest yet. The afternoon was wearing on; it was clear we would not go, either to Walsingham or the second route around Titchwell. Not to worry: there was the little grebe out plunging and fishing and the others already mentioned to enjoy.

A skein of geese flew over as we returned to the car park and there was even a ‘darkling thrush’ singing from a tree. No doubt about a return visit: how soon is the only question.


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