It was fantastic to be able to start leading my Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden & South Walsham Marshes guided tours again this week.
The five-mile circular walk is a National Park Experience and combines looking at the history of the area with some wildlife spotting.
The tour starts at Fairhaven Garden, a beautiful natural garden with its own private broad, then heads out of South Walsham to the River Bure, with great views of the ancient St Benet’s Abbey, before returning to Fairhaven across South Walsham Marshes.
As we walked through the garden we saw large areas of wild yellow primroses and some very colourful camellias and a pair of mallards with their tiny new brood, who floated past on one of the garden’s dykes. It was also good to see the King Oak, a sapling at the time of the Battle of Hastings and one of the oldest trees in Norfolk.
The broad was sparkling in the spring sunshine with noisy Egyptian and Greylag geese making their presence felt, along with a group of equally noisy black-headed gulls.
As we walked up the Fleet Dyke, we watched a mute swan taking off in spectacular fashion. There were several pairs of great crested grebes pottering around, along with two herons on the far bank who were fish spotting.
St Benet’s Abbey is a very special place and did not disappoint in the spring sunshine. The dykes on the marshes were crystal clear; under the surface the water lilies were starting to grow towards the light.
Then, just to add to such a wonderful morning’s walk, we spotted a marsh harrier hovering in the thermals looking for prey.
After the walk, it was back to Fairhaven for coffee and cake in the tearoom’s picnic area.
For more information about the Fairhaven Garden and South Walsham marshes tour click here