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)


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 PageAerial 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 RounceA 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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