National Grid TG177418 (central) 00o00´/00o00´ at least 6000ha 16-35m 60m highest point, mainly meadows and hedges with a rugged stunning heathland coastline 
Anytime (03.05.92, 21-22.05.93)


Birding Site Guide

Also search BSG with ‘Norfolk’ for other sites nearby, or by a species, as there are many good birding sites in the county. Salthouse Heath adjoins another good birding area Cley (NW) (see account on BSG).

At the E end of the North Norfolk Coast, along the last 19km of the A149 lie the towns of Cley, Sheringham and Cromer. Immediately S of these lie their heaths, although much has been transformed by natural woodland regrowth, farmland, buildings and conifer plantations a few more natural looking areas still remain.

Salthouse Heath lies S of the A149 immediately E of Cley and stretches past Salthouse to Kelling. It covers roughly 2000ha. It is one of the best preserved heaths in this part of Norfolk and is therefore very good for typical heathland birds such as Wood Lark, Tree Pipit, Nightjar and Nightingale (in scrub) and Crossbill can be found in conifer plantations. Stone Curlew will have to be sought elsewhere.

Our strategy for night birds and saving money was to drink in the Dun Cow (main road at Salthouse) then stagger out back to our cars on the heath (hoping at least someone else had remembered a torch!) and sleep for free in the open air to the sound of the Nightingales. It really makes you appreciate just how loud Nightingales are when they are in the bush just above your head, and by the early hours you also realize how bloody persistent they are! If we managed to sleep despite Nightingales and Nightjars, rain and the familiar habit of sliding down the hill while asleep (on your wet polythene ground sheet) to wake in a tangled mess of sleeping bag and gorse bush, it would be an early start at Cley and then on for breakfast at a local cafe. It may not actually be allowed to sleep out there but we had never had problems and I think the trick is to keep well away from any house and don’t cause a nuisance.

The best known area for visitors are perhaps the National Trust places near Beeston Regis at Stone Hill and Row Heath and Beacon Hill. These and much of the rest of the area are accessible by Public Rights of Way, and also minor roads in places.


Birds seen (this is a composite list from all my visits).

  • Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus
  • Eurasian Turtle-Dove Streptopelia turtur
  • Eurasian Collared-Dove Streptopelia decaocto
  • Tawny Owl Strix aluco
  • Eurasian Nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus
  • Common Swift Apus apus
  • Eurasian Hoopoe Upupa epops
  • Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major
  • House Martin Delichon urbicum
  • Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis
  • Eurasian Blackbird Turdus merula
  • Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus
  • Common Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita
  • Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla
  • Garden Warbler Sylvia borin
  • Common Whitethroat Sylvia communis
  • Common Nightingale Luscinia megarhynchos
  • Great Tit Parus major
  • Eurasian Blue Tit Cyanistes caeruleus
  • European Starling Sturnus vulgaris
  • House Sparrow Passer domesticus
  • European Greenfinch Carduelis chloris
  • Lesser/Common Redpoll Carduelis flammea
  • Eurasian Siskin Carduelis spinus
  • Eurasian Linnet Carduelis cannabina
  • Yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella


Heath and bog plants found in Norfolk (follows Stace)

  • Dense Silky-bent Apera interrupta
  • Field Wormwood Artemisia campestris
  • Heather Calluna vulgaris
  • Bell Heather Erica cinerea
  • Cross-leaved Heath Erica tetralix
  • Blue Fescue Festuca longifolia
  • Marsh Gentian Gentiana pneumonanthe
  • Smooth Rupturewort Herniaria glabra
  • Bur Medick Medicago minima
  • Sickle Medick Medicago sativa
  • Proliferous Pink Petrorhagia prolifera
  • Purple-stem Cat's-tail Phleum phleoides
  • Lesser Butterfly-orchid Platanthera bifolia
  • Allseed Radiola linoides
  • Perennial Knawel Scleranthus perennis
  • Small-flowered Catchfly Silene gallica
  • Spanish Catchfly Silene otites
  • Wild Garden Thymus polytrichus
  • Bird's-foot Clover Trifolium ornithopodioides
  • Suffocated Clover Trifolium suffocatum
  • Gorse Ulex europaeus
  • Western Gorse Ulex gallii
  • Hoary Mullein Verbascum pulverulentum
  • Fingered Speedwell Veronica triphyllos
  • Spring Speedwell Veronica verna
  • Breckland Speedwell Veronica praecox


Author: BSG