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 from saltmarsh between the seventeenth and nineteenth century. The 2nd Earl of Leicester planted the distinctive belt of pine trees in the nineteenth century to help stabilise the dunes. At one time the tidal creeks 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.