Norfolk is commonly regarded as one of the most beautiful counties in England when it comes to countryside. The combination of forests, waterways, fens, heath land and coastline make it an attractive location for walkers and photographers alike. And there are few better times to see the region than in autumn when the shifting light as the season progresses, the changing colours of the vegetation and the influx of wildlife make prime subject matter for those looking to capture something naturally spectacular. Below are a few of the places in Norfolk to consider visiting if you are looking to take some great photographs.
The north coast of Norfolk is, come autumn, arguably the place to be in Britain to take pictures of birds. Walking around areas such as Holme-next-the-sea, Snettisham and Burnham Overy Staithe gives the photographer the chance to take close-up portraits and landscapes of vast flocks of birds wheeling in the sky as migrant birds arrive from Scandinavia and central Europe to spend the winter in England. Wading birds such as the spoonbill, avocet and the knot skitter about on the tidal plains feeding during the day.
As the tide comes in of a late afternoon, they rise in large flocks to return to their roosts, making for some striking patterns against the lowering sun. The knot is a great bird to take close-ups of as its plumage changes colour during the autumn, shifting from brown to black and white. The good feeding conditions in the area also attract a range of bird life from geese, partridge and terns to sandpipers and barn owls, should you wish to test your technical skill with a night photography walk.
Burnham Norton to Warham Greens
This area of countryside also offers bird life, ranging from ducks coming in to winter to indigenous hen harriers patrolling the sky (take your zoom lens). An almost stereotypical swathe of English countryside, Warham Greens encompasses marshes, flats and hedgerows. In autumn, the dragonflies are abundant, looking to mate before the winter frosts. The hawthorn trees are laden with berries in the autumn, one of the reason so many birds are attracted to the area. There is a high bank at Burnham Norton that allows you to look out over the flat landscape below; perfect for some landscape photography.
Brandon Country Park and surrounds
Walking in this area allows you to see different types of forest and parkland. Brandon Country Park was once a private estate, but has since been taken over by the council and is open to the public. The landscaped grounds are full of a whole range of deciduous trees that in the autumn are changing colour from green to red, orange and russet.
There are several trails that allow you great long views of the changing natural scenery. Some trails also lead out into Thetford Forest which lies alongside the grounds. Like most of the forest land in Norfolk, Thetford Forest is primarily a pine forest, so doesn’t have the changing colour of the leaves, but the height of the pines means that all manner of other vegetation has colonised the forest floor, which does alter tone as the season progresses.
The late afternoon autumn light streaming among the trunks of the trees will strike you with its beauty and give you a good chance for some atmospheric photographs. If you get up early in the morning (and are very quiet!) you may also be able to snap some of the deer that live in the forest, such as Muntjac, Roe and Red deer. And, this being Norfolk, bird life is also plentiful, including a population of Golden Pheasants.
The low-lying, marshes of the Broads are one of Norfolk’s most famous natural features. Designated criteria of conservation have made them a haven for wildlife and vegetation. In autumn the light plays off the waterways and brings out the colour of the surrounding vegetation, while the man-made features, such as windmills and boats provide good feature points for your images. The Broads cover over 300 square kilometres and have plenty of spectacular places to visit. A few of the best include Bramerton, Filby and Salthouse Broad.
Hunstanton is a small town sitting on the nub of land that, in this most easterly of counties, faces west. This means that it is one of only a handful of places along the entire eastern seaboard of the UK in which you can watch the sun set over the ocean. This autumn provides a perfect opportunity to capture this combination of two beautiful natural features. However, that is not all Hunstanton offers the photographer. Walk from the town along the beach and you pass tall stratified cliffs, coloured in bands of white and orange, while in front of them sits an almost alien landscape of rocks covered in green ocean vegetation stretching out into the water.
Peter Scott Walk
A famous Norfolk ramble, the Peter Scott Walk stretches from the mouth of the River Nene to King’s Lynn. In terms of terrain it is an easy walk, but offers the photographer an array of landscapes. It takes you past towering sea cliffs, from the top of which you can look inland across the fens, the wide landscapes that the county is famed for. Given that the walk is named after a renowned wildlife artist, it’s no surprise that animal life abounds. Perhaps you can try to emulate Scott by capturing geese, ducks or the common seals that breed along the coast here.
Written for Potters Holidays the perfect weekend breaks in Nofolk