Darsham Marshes Nature Reserve
Know before you go
Grazing animalsCattle graze areas
Difficult access for those with poor mobility. Uneven and very wet ground.
Not suitable for wheelchairs.
When to visit
Opening timesOpen at all times
Best time to visitApril to July
About the reserve
Darsham Marshes along with Darsham Common combined boast a varied mosaic of habitats with grazing marsh, fen meadow, woodland, scrub, hedgerow, grassland, heathland, freshwater dykes and ponds. The herb rich marshes are summer grazed with cattle that help to create an ideal sward structure for marshland birds and serve as an important wintering site for snipe. The grazing regime also helps to influence the botanical interests of the site with well over 150 species of flora recorded including the southern marsh orchid, marsh marigold, ragged-robin, flag iris and marsh arrowgrass.
With its ponds and intricate network of criss-crossing freshwater dykes a good number of dragonfly species can be found such as the Norfolk hawker, four-spotted chaser and the willow emerald damselfly. A healthy population of water vole are also present here along with otters that venture across the marshes from the nearby river.
Darsham Common with its thickets of gorse, dense hedgerows and scattered scrub is a common breeding site for linnet, blackcap, song thrush, chiffchaff and occasionally nightingale. Come the colder months and these fruiting hedgerows attract numerous wintering redwings and fieldfares.
Barn owls and marsh harriers are frequent visitors to the site and can often be seen hunting for small mammals and birds across the marshes. Other notable inhabitants include the grasshopper warbler, reed bunting, badger, grass snake, common frog, toad and lizard.