Pensthorpe Natural Park 2014

Enjoy, Explore, Experience

Pensthorpe Natural Park near Fakenham in North Norfolk is a 660 acre Park combining stunning areas of wetland, gardens, meadows, farmland and even a conservation centre.

One of Pensthorpe’s key aims is to improve children’s connection with nature and in summer 2013 it launched the WildRootz outdoor activity development.


The Park provides a unique natural haven for some of the UK’s rarest and most endangered wildlife and attracts families, walkers, gardeners and bird spotters, all keen to see the beautiful surroundings and the very special selection of species that either live there permanently or migrate to the expansive wetland area throughout the year.


Some Key Features of Pensthorpe

  • The Pensthorpe Estate provides a perfect natural environment which is rewarded by birds such as Avocets, Lapwings, Little Ringed Plovers and Kingfishers, to name but a few, who breed there.
  • In 1988 Pensthorpe began its evolution from a series of disused gravel workings into an internationally renowned nature reserve; where a unique combination of habitats provides a home to literally thousands of species of fauna and flora.
  • Bill Jordan (founder of Jordans breakfast cereals) and his wife Deb are the owners of Pensthorpe. Both are passionate about the reserve and the opportunity it presents to engage visitors with wildlife and the outdoors.
  • The Pensthorpe Conservation Trust, based at the Reserve, is involved in important and high profile work to breed rare species such as Cranes, Corncrakes, Turtle Doves and Red Squirrels. Pensthorpe, along with project partners, work to establish why species’ numbers are decreasing and what can be done to reverse the decline.
  • Pensthorpe is particularly proud of its involvement in the East Anglian red squirrel breeding programme, which aims to boost the number of these endangered – and rather appealing – creatures. Tortoiseshell, a female breeding squirrel has produced a staggering 45 kittens since 2008.
  • Dedicated to bringing children closer to the natural world, a family visit isn’t complete without exploring WildRootz, the Reserve’s new £1million outdoor activity development. Spanning a vast two acres, WildRootz comprises of over 30 individual items of play equipment nestled in the Norfolk countryside. Visitors will learn fascinating nature facts as they play, then take their knowledge out on to the Reserve with the WildRootz Passport, packed with games, quizzes and fact-finding missions for all the family.
  • Pensthorpe also has a working farm which complies with strict Conservation Grade farming protocols. This wildlife-friendly farm puts scientifically-backed, carefully- designed and well-located habitats into modern farming which creates the essential conditions where nature and farming can function, sustainably, side by side again.
  • The Millennium Garden, which contains 90 different species of perennials and over 20 types of grass, is most notable having been designed by world-renowned plantsman Piet Oudolf. Its sculptural qualities, along with its innate sympathetic approach to nature meant that it was a great addition to the Gardens at Pensthorpe. Although it was first launched in 2000, Piet’s special connection with the place prompted his return in 2010 to redesign the garden using the vast knowledge he had acquired over the past 10 years, the first of his public gardens he has done this in. The garden continues to inspire visitors today.
  • As well as the Millennium Garden there is also the Waveline Garden, the lush and prosperous Wave Garden, the beautiful and natural Wildflower Meadow, one of the largest in the region and which featured on BBC’s Great British Garden Revival, and the Wildlife Habitat Garden which encourages colourful insects and butterflies to take up residence but also gives visitors hints and tips for what to do at home to attract wildlife into their own outdoor spaces.
  • Pensthorpe was host to the BBC Springwatch programme (2008-2010). Pensthorpe’s non-human inhabitants once again became the stars of the show as scores of remote cameras spied on Kestrels, Little Ringed Plovers, Avocets, otters and many other species.


Dates for Your Diary in 2014:

  • Throughout the year; Daily Feeds, Pond Dipping and the Wildlife Tracker Trail are just a few of the popular permanent features which encourage children to explore the fascinating natural world. Families will also enjoy taking part in the Stamper Trail, Bug Walk and Camouflage Trail, or simply feeding the ducks.
  • Easter to 3rd November – Another highlight for visitors is the Wensum Discovery Tour, an informative and adventurous way to explore Pensthorpe. Visitors simply hop aboard the Land Rover and trailer then weave through ‘behind the scenes’ areas of the whole estate. An expert guide will tell visitors about Pensthorpe from the Ice Age up to present day and will also point out any species which happen to fly past! Additional fees apply.
  • The Easter Eggstravaganza is an ‘egg-cellent’ way to celebrate the Easter holidays! Taking place daily (10am to 5pm) from 5th – 22nd April, the event teaches visitors about nature in spring time and the baby animals which hatch or are born at this abundant time of year. Follow the fascinating trail which weaves through the Park to improve your nature know-how. Included in admission price to the Reserve.
  • Saturday 26th April sees the return of Wild about the Wensum, a charity event hosted by the Pensthorpe Conservation Trust where visitors can find out about the stunning Wensum Valley. What makes this area so unique? Which creatures call it home? How can visitors and local residents help to protect it? This educational event from 10am to 5pm is an inspiring insight into the natural environment. No admission fee but £4 parking charge applies which goes towards making the event sustainable.
  • The titanic event of the summer is the historical Mediaeval Spectacular on 23rd – 25th August. Back by popular demand and for its 10th year, this special event will take visitors back in time with battle re-enactments, jousting, wood turners, a Mediaeval market, archery demonstration, barber surgeon and traditional children’s entertainment. This is Norfolk’s largest historical re-enactment between 10am and 5pm. Included in admission price to the Reserve.
  • Calling all keen gardeners! Saturday 13th September (10am to 5pm) sees the return of the Norfolk Nursery Network – Specialist Plant Day showcasing the plants and produce from the county’s finest independent nurseries. There will be a vast Mselection of plants on sale and horticultural experts will be on hand to answer questions. Entry to the Plant Day is just £2 p/person (proceeds go to charity) plus there’s reduced entry to the Reserve.
  • The Vintage Fair returns to Pensthorpe Wildlife & Gardens between 10am and 5pm on 4th – 5th October, bringing together over 300 exhibitors of vintage or nostalgia memorabilia. Vintage cars, motorbikes, tractors, model boats, Romany caravans and military vehicles will all be on display for visitors to experience up close. Entrance solely to the Vintage Fair is £7.00 for adults or £5.00 for children. Alternatively, entrance to the fair is included in Pensthorpe’s regular ticket price.
  • Mixing Halloween with nature is the spooky Trick or Tweet event over October half term from 23rd October – 2nd November (10am to 5pm). Celebrate the spooky season with a spine chilling self-guided trail and uncover a host of fang-tastic facts and solve mysterious puzzles. There will be prizes for those who complete the trail and those who come dressed in freaky fancy dress! Included in admission price to the Reserve.
  • Christmas Shopping at Pensthorpe is incredibly special, with the on-site shop offering a treasure trove of exclusive gifts and sumptuous seasonal and local selections that you won’t find on the high street! Christmas shopping begins on 25th October and heads through until Christmas Eve so there’s plenty of time to pick up stocking fillers. Shop opens 10am – 5pm. Free entry to the shop.


Admission Price

Admission costs £11.25 for adults, £9.50 for seniors and £8.00 for children (aged 3-16).

Where is Pensthorpe?

Pensthorpe is located on the A1067 in North Norfolk, one mile east of the bustling market town of Fakenham. The full postal address is Pensthorpe, Fakenham Road, Fakenham, Norfolk NR21 0LN.

For more information on Pensthorpe Natural Park visit, telephone 01328 851465 or follow on Twitter: @Pensthorpe.

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