• Wildlife

Wildlife and Bird Watching at Cranmer Country Cottages

Cranmer Country Cottages is ideally located for luxury birdwatching breaks in Norfolk.  Our rural setting is at the heart of the North Norfolk Natural Area of special interest and the Norfolk Coast ANOB . With some of the finest nature reserves in the country and its unique position on the east coast, Norfolk is one of Britain’s top birdwatching destinations – whether you are a seasoned ‘twitcher’ or enthusiastic amateur. There’s plenty to see whatever the time of year – from barn owls to kingfishers, avocets to bearded tits. Norfolk is a birdwatchers’ paradise and a wonderful place for children to begin to learn about their feathered friends. With child-friendly visitor centres and nature reserves, you’ll find all the help and information you need to get started.

As far as accommodation goes our luxury Norfolk holiday cottage Coot sleeps 2 and is an ideal birdwatching bolthole, alternatively our larger holiday cottages can offer space to accommodate special interest birdwatching groups in communicating cottages of up to 12. the Green Room provides a meeting facility for lectures, talks and film showing. Our private farmland setting provides an opportunity to observe farm birds from the doorstep and the wonderful dunes of Holkham are within cycling distance along the Roman road passing our door.

Birdwatching at Cranmer

We are lucky enough to have a fantastic community reserve right on our doorstep – Sculthorpe Moor Nature Reserve a peaceful and beautiful place that never feels crowded, you can observe tawny and barn owls, kingfishers, buzzards, bullfinches, willow and marsh tits and great spotted woodpeckers throughout the year. – an excellent chance to get close to birds throughout a patchwork of habitats including wet woodland, hazel coppice, reed and sedge beds, open water and wet meadow. The site was created by and managed by the Hawk and Owl Trust.  This special place provides every one with a real opportunity to get involved with the natural environment.  Families and wildlife watchers are made very welcome, it is a great place to relax and watch nature at work at any time of year.  Boardwalks guiding you through the reserve make easy access for everyone including people using wheelchairs.

The reserve host a range of special events throughout the year, including beginners & intermediate guides to nature photography, guided walks and talks – http://hawkandowl.org/events/categories/sculthorpe/

As a sign of our appreciation and support for this special community reserve in Sculthorpe we ask our guests if they would like to make a small donation via our Visitor Payback Scheme for 2018.  For every £1.00 donation we will match it with £1.00 from Cranmer Country Cottages.  You can make your donation – just tick the box in the extras section when making your booking.

Birdwatching in Norfolk

Closeby you will find the Holkham Nature Reserve vast, with rugged coastal wetlands, saltmarsh, dunes, pinewoods and scrub, grazing marsh and foreshore. The reserve land stretches from Burnham Norton to Blakeney and covers about 3,706 hectares. It is possible to explore most of the area by following footpaths from the main car parks. The core section of the reserve, from Wells to Holkham Bay, is crisscrossed by paths allowing access through the pine woodland.

Another visitor birdwatching family favourite within easy reach is Pensthorpe – recently voted Norfolk’s Best large attraction 2014/2015 – a centre for wildfowl set in 500 acres of beautiful countryside. There are miles of peaceful nature trails to explore through ancient fen meadows, woodland and a superb series of lakes. Pensthorpe is home to Europe’s finest collection of waterfowl including endangered exotic waterfowl from around the world, and was also the home of BBC Springwatch for 2008 and 2009.  More recently Pensthorpe has defined itself as a centre of nature discovery for young children with its indoor and outdoor adventure play houses with nature inspired play themes. http://www.pensthorpe.com/

Further along the North Norfolk coast is the home of the Norfolk Wildlife Trust Holme dunes which contains a huge variety of species, such as avocets, ringed plovers redshanks, curlews and lapwings. There is also Cley and Salthouse Marshes for black-tailed godwits, ruffs, snow buntings and several thousand brent geese. The wetland nature reserve at  RSPB Titchwell Marsh attracts all kinds of birds including the marsh harrier. The Wash is one of the country’s most important winter feeding areas for waders and wildfowl. The best place to see these thousands of birds coming into roost is RSPB Snettisham nature reserve

Conservation at Cranmer

As part of our commitment to Green Tourism and responsible land management farmland at Cranmer Country Cottages is being managed in a sustainable way with the help of conservation body Natural England and the Higher Level Stewardship scheme.  Our HLS scheme is designed specifically to integrate sustainable and environmental farming methods to enhance the wildlife and the landscape of the area, which is shared by the visitors to Cranmer Country Cottages. This will benefit farmland birds, preserve biodiversity and protect farmland bird species in decline in Britain. Species identified at Cranmer Country Cottages include stone curlew, grey partridge, lapwing, tree sparrow and turtle dove.

RSPB volunteer & Farmer Alliance 2011 & RSPB conservation monitoring project  2015 – As part of farm birds monitoring project managed by the RSPB we received surveys of our farmland to identify species of concern who have made their homes at Cranmer.  Notably the Skylark and Reed Bunting were in evidence during spring/summer with other interesting species visitors in the winter.

  • We had a wonderful family time in this perfect hideaway

    Cottage guest
  • Lovely cottage and fantastic facilities for the children (aged 3 + 5)

    Cottage Guest
  • We have had a fantastic time and would love to come again

    Toby aged 8
  • Self-catering just got a seriously stylish upgrade

    Marie Claire Magazine
  • If you’re looking for a luxury, family stay in North Norfolk, this is it. If you’re looking for a luxury, ecologically aware  family stay, this is it too.

    Enjoy North Norfolk Website
  • I can’t think of another five-star self-catering accommodation in the UK that is as green as Cranmer

    Richard Hammond – Green travel correspondent
  • Just a word to say how much we enjoyed our stay at the cottages – no one wanted to go home!

    Dave & Wendy Hardaway – and the family!
  • We have just returned from a fabulous weeks cycling based at Cranmer Country Cottages in North Norfolk from which we cycled over 300 miles on the some of the best English lanes you could hope to find. As club cyclists who have enjoyed lots of Great Britain and Europe on a bike we think Norfolk is a real gem.

    Jeanette and Ian Sumler- Hutchinson
  • There is so much more on offer. Quiet lanes linking pretty villages with duck ponds and great pubs, watch out for the wild life on the way, brown hares and barn owls don’t seem very shy as they go about their business.

    Jeanette and Ian Sumler- Hutchinson
  • The two cottages were booked as a surprise for my 60th birthday, and what a surprise. I could not have hoped for a more fantastic celebration. We all enjoyed a brisk walk in Wells-next-the Sea, lunch in a local pub followed by a swim in the great pool here. The cottages are so well equipped, everything has been well thought out. I would recommend the cottages to any group wanting something special! Very relaxing time had by all.

    The Reeves family
  • Wonderful to come back to such a peaceful place, fresh air and beauty. It was very snowy while we were here and although very cold still fantastic. We loved the touch of the welcoming tea tray and fresh flowers – felt very personal. A wonderful haven!

    Worthington family
  • Our first winter stay and it was even better than we had hoped for! A beautiful place to relax in comfort, fill your lungs with fresh air and spend some time with the most hospitable owners, Lynne and John, who have become friends over the eight years we have been visiting. Thank you.

    Jones Family, January
  • Another great Christmas in Tern, Swallow and Woodpecker Cottages. All very welcoming, warm and comfortable – everything we could need. Our Christmas dinner cooked in the Rayburn. All fantastic yet again!

    The Irving Family
  • We very much enjoyed our stay in the lovely warm surroundings of Woodpecker Cottage. Heated pool absolute bliss for early morning swims with the added bonus of splendid views of extensive countryside through those huge windows. Thanks for a wonderful stay, we will be back soon.

    Mark and Jo
  • First Class Accommodation – highly recommended. We have stayed in 3 properties and would not hesitate in recommended them. We take our 2 small children (under 4) and often take my mother-in-law (for babysitting) and we particularly like in heated, indoor, salt water pool and huge fenced off play area which each property backs onto. Compared with other accommodation we have staying in, these are the best by a long shot.

    The Wrench family
  • We booked Garden House, Avocet & Woodpecker for a surprise birthday party for my son. It was such a brilliant weekend and I would like to thank you for recommending Susi; she was marvellous and the food was perfect. Hope to return to Cranmer Cottages in the near future and would thoroughly recommend them to everyone.

    Myra Quick
  • If you are looking for a luxury, family stay in North Norfolk, this is it. If you are looking for a luxury, ecologically aware family stay this is it too. A fabulous holiday with a green conscience, if you will…...

    Enjoy North Norfolk
  • A wonderful week with plenty of memories – and amazingly enough, no rain, even some sunshine. Completely sold on Norfolk and this place – have no doubts we will be back.

    Owl cottage guest
  • Just wanted to say thanks for the Easter egg – what a lovely welcome surprise! We have had a wonderful stay and Coot cottage worked so well for us with Harry – you really do think of everything!

    Eleanor Denton
  • Our family love visiting Cranmer Country Cottages and we have returned for the past 4 years. We all feel like its ‘home from home’ and are always made to feel so welcome by the wonderful staff. The children particularly love the yummy handmade chocolates on arrival and they are so excited to jump straight in the pool after our long journey from Hampshire. It is so worth the drive! It is brilliantly located for fantastic family days out and long strolls on amazing beaches. We have so many lovely memories

    The Bensons – Hampshire
  • We had a brilliant holiday – thanks for providing us with everything we needed.

    Garden House, August 2015
  • An excellent example of how a luxurious accommodation can attempt to be carbon neutral

    Richard Hammond, Green travel correspondent
  • I really loved Norfolk. The cottage is so so so great and the pool was the best. Everyone absolutely loved it – we thought we should have stayed a whole week. I wish I could stay forever. Bye Bye!

    Isla aged 7
  • We have just been here for three nights but so wish we were able to stay a week! Thank you so much and we wish you every success with this venture which is truly excellent

    Mallinson family Norfolk
  • Probably the coldest week in the last 12 months; ice, snow and very cold! Nevertheless we had a good time. It was always lovely to return to the warm welcoming cottage. We experimented by cooking with the Rayburn – great fun and good results. Try it!

    Alan & Jenny Suffolk