The North Norfolk coast is a popular area for touring for its wild, open spaces, beautiful beaches and wildlife. To help conserve that wildlife, a new zoning scheme began on 1 April and will continue through to 31 August on the Holkham National Nature Reserve, one of England’s largest reserves, to protect the area’s breeding grounds for shorebirds. 

The seasonal zoning of the most sensitive areas of the beaches at Holkham and Wells-next-the-Sea is designed to help reverse the steady decline of breeding shorebirds, which have been impacted by large numbers of visitors, particularly those with dogs. While dogs are not banned from the beach at Holkham Gap, their owners are urged to keep their dogs on a lead and away from the cordoned roped zones, which are protecting ground nesting birds such as terns, oystercatchers and ringed plovers. In the case of Wells-next-the-Sea, dogs are not permitted in the area where seals haul themselves onto the shore (see the map).

Responsible dog owners will still be able to enjoy year-round more than 70% of the open and permissive access to the 10,000 acre reserve with their dogs off lead, including space within the pinewoods and sand dunes.