Have a wild time at Ken Hill at Snettisham
Your mission: visit Wild Ken Hill at Heacham Bottom Farm. Your brief: wear suitable clothing. This tape will self-destruct in five seconds…
It wasn’t quite the Mission Impossible style message from the editor, but at last I could wear my bright pink Hunter wellies and perhaps even get them muddy for the first time.
I’d heard about Wild Ken Hill, situated on Lynn Road just past Snettisham and their website explains: “Wild Ken Hill is returning land to nature and farming sustainably in coastal west Norfolk.
“We use rewilding, regenerative farming, and traditional conservation practices side by side in a unique , innovative approach.”
When friends told me there were ponies running wild, roaming pigs, beavers making dams, I thought, pull the udder one. But there’s nothing like experiencing it for yourself and it far exceeded my own expectations.
They say the best scarecrows are the ones outstanding in their field , and with a warm welcome on arrival from Andrew and Sophie, our tour guides, both were friendly, knowledgeable and enthusiastic throughout.
Along with our team of photographers, off we set for a two hour yomp. “Bring water” had also been an instruction. I did. Plus a couple of bags of crisps and some jelly beans just in case.
Wild Ken Hill is a tranquil spot, with accessible public footpaths as well as official tours guided by various experts including ornithology.
It was lovely to bump into Harry Buscall of Ken Hill while we were looking at the herd of Exmoor ponies. He told me about the great partnership with Natural England and the aim for “people to engage with nature” which has perhaps been lost in our busy modern lifestyles.
Seeing the ponies is “calming”and the stunning view when there is a sunset is “like the Serengeti” spanning across the North Sea horizon. I could see Skegness!
Throughout the morning I saw red kites, hares, coal-tits, white fallow deer, Red Poll cattle, the Eurasian beaver enclosure, a flock of Egyption Geese whooshing up into the air. Plus kestrel boxes, woodpecker nests, peregrine falcons and Tamworth pigs.
Andrew shared his knowledge fully backing up the redevelopment’s aim and ethos in “giving everything back to nature”.
Educational workshops for children look great fun - outdoor fun events like learning to build campfires.
In just two hours I learnt so much about the redevelopment, the plans for businesses, such as Open Sky Cycles, to operate, the aim “to get people back in to nature, provide a great place to stop and eat and a place that is for nature”.
Natural eco systems work together, and all these elements of the site “create open spaces for sunlight and new growth.”
In exchange I shared my top tips for using baby oil on my Hunter wellies to keep them shiny.
The great outdoors! I thoroughly recommend a visit and by June there will be a sea of natural red poppies across the fields. Stunning.