The grounds extend to approximately six acres with most of the land lying between the holiday accommodation and the beach with a small area of woodland lying to the south.
Approximately ten thousand trees and shrubs have been planted since 1987 at which time the land was arable. Ponds, wader scrapes and several wet areas have been constructed.
Several hides overlooking scrapes or wet areas are available to our guests for photography or simply to enjoy close up views of birds etc.. In addition a small hide provides some shelter for sea watching for those days when inclement weather brings seabirds close to the coast.
Our main wildlife interest is birds and the reserve has been designed to attract birds both breeders and migrants. To date two hundred and fifty species have been recorded in or from the reserve. As might be expected with a location on the east coast immediately behind the beach a good number of scarce or rare birds have been recorded some on a number of occasions.
Warblers feature prominently and we have seen Radde’s Warbler, Dusky Warbler, Yellow-browed Warbler, Greenish Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Barred Warbler and Sardinian Warbler as well as most of the more common warbler species.
Bird ringing is undertaken within the reserve. However there has been a large decline in bird numbers within the UK over the last 25 years or so and the number of birds ringed has fallen significantly over recent years. Bird ringing is therefore likely to come to an end in the not too distant future.
Moths are recorded with the use of moth traps. Since 1998 a total of 442 species of macro moth have been recorded. The numerous micro moths have not been specifically identified. As would be expected from a coastal site a number of rare or scarce migrants have been seen.
Our guests are encouraged to inspect the moth traps with us but should bear in mind that this activity is very dependent on weather conditions. Some of our guests even bring their own moth traps to help boost the numbers!
Twenty eight species of butterfly have been recorded. Silver-washed Fritillary was added to the garden list in 2013 reflecting a small but expanding population in North Norfolk.
The most astonishing addition to the garden list was Yellow-legged Tortoiseshell which briefly visited the garden in July 2014. A small number of this species was recorded in the east of England at that time being the first records since one in Kent in 1953! You just do not know what might turn up on the reserve.
The ponds and wet areas on the reserve attract a good number of dragonflies and damselflies.
Small Red-eyed Damselfly is the scarcest resident species. The migrant Red-veined Darter has been recorded on several occasions.
The most obvious mammals that guests will encounter are rabbits and Reeves’ Muntjac deer. In recent years there have been infrequent sightings of water vole, badger and otter. Bats are regularly seen but without the assistance of a bat detector (and more enthusiasm on our part) remain unidentified.