Our Favourite Nature Spots
This page is being compiled as an ongoing project as we discover new nature spots in the area and as we produce our monthly Rewild Norfolk newsletter. We’d love you to sign up to Rewild Norfolk (at the bottom of the page) which is full of seasonal and nature-based ideas, including foraging tips and ways to enjoy exploring nature each month. We'll be sharing our favourite parts of Norfolk, including walks, beaches and natural spaces to help you get the most out of your next visit to the area. You'll also get a peek into life on our smallholding as we seek out our version of the "good life".
Wells is a picture-perfect, beach hut lined huge expanse of beautiful sand and is a winner whether the tide is in or out. Wells-next-the-sea is one of the closest beaches to Round the Woods and as it really does have everything you might want from a beach experience we tend to make this our beach of choice. The beach is a 1 mile walk, mini train ride or drive from the town of Wells.
The sand remains soft and dry at the back of the beach and when the tide is out there is also perfect sand for sculpting. At high tide the beach is still plenty big enough and during the summer months there is a swimming zone with a lifeguard. At low tide the sea is a long long way out but the retreating tide leaves a lovely saltwater stream that leads out to sea that's perfect for sheltered swimming practice (spot the seal on the bank of the stream in the pic!). Also left behind are puddles of water on the sand that warm up in the sun and are great for playing in, like a saltwater bath with endless potential for dun. The back of the beach is lined with a pine woodland which offers lots of potential for shady exploration.
Useful info: There's a pay and display car park at the beach as well as a cafe. Alongside the lifeguard hut is a water tap which can be useful for drinking water and washing sandy feet at the end of a fun day before climbing the steps through the woods to the car park. It's just a 40 minute drive from the countryside location of Round the Woods to Wells-next-the-sea and town of Wells-next-the-sea has the fantastic French's fish and chips shop, pubs, ice cream shops and an arcade plus a dutch barge serving pancakes so you can easily make a whole day trip there.
River Wensum in Lyng - our favourite wild swimming spot
Is there anything better on a hot summer's day than a refreshing dip in cool water? Whenever we're in need of some reprieve from the heat we head to our favourite spot along the river for a swim. We rarely come across anyone there so it feels like our little secret but as we love it so much we're thought we'd share this with our lovely Rewild Norfolk readers.
It's absolutely brilliant for families as there are lots of shallow bits - literally about a foot deep - and one section is this depth right across from one bank to the other. The flow is nice and calm in most of it and you have to swim into the deeper water to catch the faster current. Me and Seb tried and failed in our challenge of swimming against the current, kind of like an endless swimming pool & great for some exercise!
Here's the exact spot that we love - pin on google maps
If you want to make a whole day of it why not combine it with a walk around Sparham Pools and a meal at the Fox Pub.
Useful info: Lyng is our neighbouring village to the West and only a 5 minute drive or 15 minute cycle along country roads. Access to the river is on Lyng Road and our preferred spot is between Lyng Mill (where you can also swim either side of the bridge) and Sparham Pools. There are a few spots for parking along the side of the road and there's a little path on the opposite side of the road that leads you to the spot.Bring a picnic blanket as the bank is nice and shaded with trees and so it's not grassy. As you look at the water there's a shallow stream on the right and to the left is a large area of shallow water and there are several places to get in the water.
West Runton - a beach that offers it all
We love this sandy and shingle beach, and if you time it right with the low tide there's a big expanse of sand and intriguing rock pools to explore. Dylan even found a lobster waiting for the tide to return last time we went!It's well known for fossil hunting from the crumbling cliffs too and the largest near complete mammoth skeleton ever found was discovered here 30 years ago. Make sure you don't erode the cliffs to look for fossils though, stick to the bits that have already broken off. We've previously found what we think was a tiny mouse bone, didn't quite compare to a mammoth fossil but it kept us happy!
Useful info: Norfolk Wildlife Trust run regular sessions here to help you get the most out of rock pooling or fossil hunting. There's a lovely little cafe between the car park and the beach selling seaside essentials but otherwise this is a non-commercialised beach. There's an all day pay car parking at the top of the cliff and an awesome view from up there along the coast with Sheringham to the West and Cromer to the East. West Runton is a 40 minute drive from Round the Woods and it's a short drive from the village of West Runton along Water Lane to get to the beach and car park.