Natural England - Scolt Head Island NNR

Scolt Head Island NNR

Scolt Head Island NNR is the prime example of an offshore barrier island in the UK. It is situated on a very dynamic coastline and is steadily growing westward.

Scolt Head Island NNR

County: Norfolk

Main habitats: Coastal

Why visit: Scolt Head Island is an area some 727 ha in size of sand dune, beach and saltmarsh. It is owned jointly by The National Trust and Norfolk Wildlife Trust and has been a nature reserve since 1923. It is managed under lease by Natural England.

The saltmarshes are considered to be among the finest in the UK and are the best documented and researched in the world.

The island supports nationally and internationally important numbers of breeding terns (sandwich, common, arctic and little) and wintering wildfowl, and waders such as brent geese, shelduck, wigeon, teal and curlew.

The plant communities of the dunes and saltmarshes are classic examples of their type. Vegetated shingle 'lows' contain plant species of national importance such as matted sea lavender and sea heath.

Location and access

The island is on the North Norfolk coast, 10 km west of Wells-Next-The-Sea.

By ferry

The site is reached by a ferry from the village of Burnham Overy Staithe on the A149. The ferries are seasonal, operating from April to September and further information on these can be obtained from Deepdale Visitor Information Centreexternal link .

Those wishing to reach the island in their own vessel should refer to the Brancaster Harbour conditions of Launch and General Directions documentexternal link.

For launches from Burnham Overy Staithe please see the information board at the harbour.

By foot/cycle

Burnham Overy Staithe is on the route of a major trail, the Peddars Way and Norfolk Coast Pathexternal link, and is near Route oneexternal link of the Sustrans National Cycle Network.

By train

The nearest train stations are in Sheringhamexternal link and King's Lynnexternal link.

By bus

Bus services from the above stations to local villages are provided by Norfolk Green.external link

Visiting the reserve

The nearest toilet and refreshment facilities are in local villages. There is a one km nature trail with interpretation panels for visitor information.

Dogs are not allowed on the reserve between mid April and mid August and must be kept under control at all other times.

School and community groups: due to the difficulties in accessing the site, school visits are rarely practical. Any groups considering a visit must contact the NNR office in advance.

Further information 

Michael Rooney, Senior Reserve Manager,
Natural England
Harbour Way
Brancaster Staithe
PE31 8BW 
Tel: 01485 211171