Holkham's wide expanses of sand with mud and shingle patches are a haven for wildlife and people alike. During the spring and summer they are home to nesting shorebirds such as little terns, ringed plovers and oystercatchers.
Some areas of the beach have been roped off to prevent eggs being crushed and to allow the adult birds to raise their young undisturbed. Please do not enter these clearly marked areas.
Holkham is a popular area for dog walkers but this can sometimes cause problems for wildlife. When off the lead, dogs by their very presence can alarm shorebirds into abandoning their nests, or lead to the death of their young. Seals and other animals are also vulnerable to this kind of disturbance so please keep dogs under control and away from cordoned areas.
Much of the land behind Holkham bay was reclaimed from the sea in the 17th to 19th century, when embankments were built and the land was drained for agricultural use. In some parts of the reserve the dune barrier is all that stops the highest tides from sweeping in and covering the area once more.
The dunes are held together only by the plants that grow on them and trampling by. visitors weakens these important sea defences. The dunes also provide a valuable habitat for breeding birds, butterflies and other wildlife.
The most vulnerable and important areas of the dunes have been roped off.
Originally planted to prevent sand blowing onto agricultural land. the corsican pines are a dramatic feature of Holkham providing resting and feeding places for many rare and interesting birds. They are however vulnerable to fire so barbecues, fires and stoves must not be lit while on the reserve.