9 of the best places to spot urban wildlife in Norwich

Chris Hill

Kingfishers can be seen hunting on the River Wensum in Norwich – Credit: Gavin Bickerton-Jones

Norwich is a great place for spotting urban wildlife, with its wealth of parks, riverbanks and woodlands.

Here, wildlife experts have suggested nine of their favourite spots for families to go searching for nature in the city this Bank Holiday weekend.

Mousehold Heath

At more than 90 hectares, this is the largest local nature reserve in Norwich. Trees include oak, birch beech and lime, and there is a clay-lined pond which is used by breeding frogs in early spring.

Other species include lizards, woodland birds and deer.

Norwich Cathedral

Peregrine falcons have become some of the city’s most-watched wildlife after making their home in the cathedral spire.

Cow Tower and the River Wensum 

Sit along the river and spot kingfishers, geese and mute swans. At dusk keep your eyes peeled for bats feeding over the water.

Lion Wood 

With its majestic trees this woodland in Thorpe Hamlet is home to birds such as great spotted and green woodpeckers, as well as bats and grey squirrels. 

Earlham Cemetery 

The cemetery is home to birds such as jays, goldcrests, sparrowhawks, blackbirds, wrens, robins, nuthatches, green and great spotted woodpeckers. There have been occasional sightings of hawfinch, firecrest, wood warbler and even a great grey shrike. The mix of grassland and trees is home to many moths and butterflies, and mammals include muntjac deer, hedgehogs, grey squirrels and foxes.

Train Wood 

Train Wood borders the River Wensum on the northern side of Norwich, running along the disused railway line from the start of Marriott’s Way to Anderson’s Meadow. The area provides a home for foxes, otters, woodpeckers, and a myriad of other bird and plant life, as well as aquatic life – and it is fantastic for butterflies.

Whitlingham Country Park 

Swifts, swallows and house martins can be seen feeding over the broad, while a whole host of bird song can be heard in the surrounding vegetation. Other species include bats, voles, foxes – and even the elusive otter.

Thorpe Marshes 

The reserve contains a large area of open water known as St Andrew’s Broad. It hosts a variety of waterbirds, particularly in winter, including great crested grebe, pochard, cormorant, grey heron, gadwall and tufted duck. The surrounding scrub is home to reed buntings and a few Cetti’s warblers, whose noisy, explosive song is often their only giveaway.

Waterloo Park

This park, between Angel Road and Aylsham Road, has one of the longest herbaceous borders within a public space in the UK, and is a good place for spotting blackbirds, robins, starlings, collared doves, chaffinches, jays, jackdaws and wrens, as well as holly blue, orange tip and peacock butterflies.

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