|On 10th September 2003 The
Princess Royal opened Sculthorpe Moor Nature Reserve, A
Hawk and Owl Trust Reserve located in the Wensum Valley
near Fakenham. The Nature Reserve is signposted off the
A148 about a mile north west of Fakenham near the small
village of Sculthorpe.
A track takes you down to a car park, then on foot to
the reserve itself. This land was originally given to
the Parish of Sculthorpe as compensation for land
enclosures in the 1700's, and the moor was leased by the
Hawk and Owl Trust from a local parish trust, The
Francis Beckham Trust. The site is around 42 acres (17
hectares)and consists of reedbed, valley fen, alder carr
and woodland with a rich bio-diversity of Flora and
The eventual plan is to restore the reed and sedge beds to their former glory over the next few years. A 700m (accessible to ALL) board walk with a taping rail to assist the partially sighted has been installed with plans to increase this braodwalk by a further 700m at a future date. It is hoped that the development of the site will encourage the return of the Hen Harrier, once a frequent visitor to this area.
|A board walk takes you on a circular tour.
There's a good chance of seeing a Tree Creeper. As you
cross the main drain look out for Kingfisher or Water
Vole. In the winter Siskins and Redpolls will be busy
feeding in the tree-tops. To the right are the Saw-sedge
beds. This is the best place to hear a Grasshopper
Warbler. As you cross the main drain again look out for
Herons, the Long-tailed Tits favour the ivy-clad trees
You're now at the bird watching hide where you'll have a chance of seeing Marsh Harrier and Barn Owls hunting over the meadow. Close by on the feeders you'll see the Great and Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers as well as Mash and Willow Tits with, of course, Great, Coal and Blue Tits. A Weasel sometimes uses the pile of logs as its den.
The circular tour ends by passing through dry woodland over a bridge at the dragonfly pool and back to the visitor centre. The reserve will be hosting special events such as dawn chorus walks, Woodcock and Owl prows and special nature days laid on for the children.
The Hawk and Owl Trust is a charity that was founded in
1969 and is dedicated to ensuring that birds such as
owls, hawks, eagles, falcons survive for future
generations to enjoy. The people we met were full of
enthusiasm and bags of energy so I have very high hopes
for this reserve which is already at a stage where it is
well worth a visit. The Water Rail, a shy and elusive
bird is the symbol of the new reserve.