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Blue Planet is back! Here are 10 amazing facts about Norfolk nature

PUBLISHED: 14:04 28 October 2017 | UPDATED: 14:49 28 October 2017

Smyrnium olusatrum (alexanders)

Smyrnium olusatrum (alexanders)

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With Blue Planet back on our schedules, we look at the marvels of nature on Norfolk’s doorstep...

Aerial view of.Stiffkey, Norfolk showing the coastline on the north norfolk coast. Picture: Mike Page Aerial view of.Stiffkey, Norfolk showing the coastline on the north norfolk coast. Picture: Mike Page

• Despite Norfolk’s reputation for being flat, the highest point in the county is Beacon Hill near West Runton, standing at 338ft above sea level.

• The Broads are the habitat for 25% of the UK’s rarest species; including the Fen Raft Spider and the Swallowtail Butterfly which can only be found on the Broads.

A Norfolk hawker dragonfly at Upton fen.
Photo by Simon Finlay. A Norfolk hawker dragonfly at Upton fen. Photo by Simon Finlay.

• A dragonfly is named after the county: the Norfolk Hawker. This is one of the first dragonflies to emerge each year and comes out between May and August.

• Little terns regularly breed on the beach at North Denes. You can also see them diving along the Norfolk coast at Blakeney, Holkham, Wells, the Cley Marshes and Holme Dunes.

A swallowtail butterfly at Hickling Broad.
Picture: David Rounce A swallowtail butterfly at Hickling Broad. Picture: David Rounce

• The Cromer-Holt ridge is the terminal moraine (snout) of a former glacier.

• The largest near-complete mammoth skeleton to be discovered in Europe was unearthed in West Runton. Parts of the steppe mammoth were found in 1990.

• Thetford Forest is the largest lowland forest in Britain, covering an area of 80 square miles.

• Weeting Heath was the first Norfolk reserve to use rabbits for ground care: by keeping the grass short they create ideal conditions for rare Breckland plants.

• The world’s longest chalk reef can be found off the coast of Sheringham, and stretches for 20 miles along the coast.

• Alexanders, also known as horse parsley, was introduced to Norfolk by the Romans, who then made the plant found so regularly in Norfolk the county’s flower.

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