An Eventful Afternoon of Birdwatching at Sculthorpe Moor
If you love spending time outdoors and get a kick out of wildlife spotting, Sculthorpe Moor Nature Reserve is the place for you. This stunning, 18-acre reserve is home to a diverse range of habitats, including, woodland, fen and reed beds, which provide homes for a unique array of birds and mammals.
Sculthorpe Moor is a sanctuary for some of the UK’s most treasured species of birds, from tawny owls and kingfishers to great spotted woodpeckers. The reserve is also home to small mammals, such as water voles, stoats and weasels.
Sculthorpe Moor Nature Reserve is managed by The Hawk and Owl Trust and offers a tranquil setting for an afternoon walk. The Hawk and Owl Trust is responsible for maintaining the reserve and is heavily involved in conservation efforts.
Sculthorpe Nature Reserve
Simon Miller, 45, recently visited Sculthorpe while holidaying with his wife in the local area, and spent one glorious afternoon birdwatching at the reserve.
“We were driving past Sculthorpe Moor Nature Reserve and decided to call in for the afternoon as it was close to where we were staying. When we arrived, we were provided with a useful leaflet with a map of the how to get around. The Visitor’s Centre had displays that showed the kinds of birds you were likely to see during your visit, as well information about the reserve and how it’s funded.”
The Treetop Hide
There are five hides at different locations in the reserve, which provide the ideal setting for visitors to do some birdwatching. There are feeders set up outside the hides to attract the birds, allowing you to see all kinds of species up close.
There’s a special treetop hide that was constructed in 2016, and as the name suggests, the viewing platform is in the trees. So at the same time as being immersed in the natural habitat of the neighbouring birds, you can take in the breath-taking panoramic views of the Wensum Valley.
“The treetop hide was my favourite part! We sat no more than six feet away from the busiest bird table I’ve ever seen. We watched blue tits, grey tits, coal tits, chaffinches, bullfinches, brambles and even a nuthatch, all feeding together in unity. It was glorious to sit and watch! There were 25-30 birds at a time on the table.
“While we were in the hide, a volunteer was taking notes of all the birds and recording them in books. He gave us lots of information about the species of birds we had not come across before, particularly the brambles and the nuthatch.
“We were there for nearly three hours and only had to leave because they were closing. We sat in most of the bird hides for at least 10-15 minutes.”
You can expect to see all kinds of other feathered friends during your walk around the reserve, including pheasants, ducks, geese, kestrels and buzzards. With so much to see, it’s easy to spend hours at Sculthorpe Moor Nature Reserve.
A Highly Recommended Nature Reserve
Simon highly recommends Sculthorpe Moor Nature Reserve and is keen to return so he can catch a glimpse of his favourite species of bird.
“It’s one of those places you could go multiple times throughout the year, and each time it would be different. I have to go back as we didn’t see a kingfisher, which is my ultimate aim!
“It’s a great day out for a walk, and there are beautiful surroundings through the woods. The boardwalks are fantastic for ease of walking and accessibility. Although it’s the birds that make it!”
Location, Facilities, Parking and Entry
Sculthorpe Moor Nature Reserve is located just outside Fakenham and can be found on the A418 Fakenham to Kings Lynn Road. The quickest route from The Blakeney Cottage Company HQ will take you approximately half an hour by car.
During winter the reserve is open from 8:00 am until 4:00 pm. Opening hours are extended throughout the summer months, and you can visit between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm.
Once you arrive, there’s free onsite parking available, which also includes disabled facilities.
It’s free to enter for under 16’s, but there’s a suggested £4 donation for adult visitors.
If you want to find out more about the reserve, you can take part in the guided walks or activity courses which are available for groups of 10 or more.
The guided walks cost £5 per person and last approximately two hours. During these walks, you can gain access parts of the park which aren’t open to the public.
Activity sessions cost £2.50, and they can be tailored to meet your interests. From pond dipping to arts and crafts, there’s something to interest every visitor.
Once you’ve completed your walk, you can refuel on snacks and drinks in the friendly café located inside the Visitor’s Centre.
Unfortunately, dogs are not allowed inside the reserve to prevent disruption to the nesting birds.