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Heighham Holmes nature reserve near Martham to hold open day and snail racing

National Trust open day at Heigham Holmes nature reserve near Martham.

National Trust open day at Heigham Holmes nature reserve near Martham.

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A hidden gem of the Norfolk Broads will be welcoming wildlife lovers and seeing off competitive snails at an open day on Sunday.

National Trust open day at Heigham Holmes nature reserve near Martham. National Trust open day at Heigham Holmes nature reserve near Martham.

The National Trust’s Heigham Holmes reserve, near Martham, will be open from 11am to 4pm with last entry at 3.30pm.

The nature reserve, which is effectively an island, is usually closed to the public but this Sunday visitors will be able to explore and experience its natural beauty and wildlife.

One of the highlights of the open day is the hotly contested snail race in which the molluscs battle it out for a podium space.

The reserve is home to a host of wildlife, some of which is unique to the area including the common crane, swallowtail butterfly and the Norfolk Hawker dragonfly.

In addition to the wildlife, Heigham Holmes also has an exciting and secretive military history as it allegedly played an intriguing role in the Second World War.

It was thought to be a forward base for the Special Operations Executive’s Lysander aircraft carrying out covert missions into occupied Europe but all evidence of that role is still a state secret and was committed to archives for 100 years after the war.

Entry to the reserve is free and via an floating swing bridge over the River Thurne at Martham Ferry.

Activities include bug hunting, kite flying, pond dipping, building a home for a wild animal and a self-guided nature walk.

There will also be light refreshments available including drinks and snacks.

Stephen Prowse, a National Trust lead ranger, said: “We really look forward to our Heigham Holmes open day each year and enjoy sharing this special place with the visitors that come.

“As usual we have lots of nature activities for families on offer throughout the day, or people can head off and explore on their own by following our self-guided trail.

“My personal highlight is the Heigham Holmes snail race which has become an open day tradition and is always very popular with visitors”.

People can bring picnics and dogs are welcome, but must be kept on a lead at all times.

Free parking is available at Martham Ferry, just follow the signs from Martham village.

For more information on the reserve visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/heigham-holmes or call 01263 740241.

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