Image produced from the Ordnance Survey Get-a-map service. Image reproduced with kind permission of Ordnance Survey and Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland.

Access: The main patch can be accessed by parking on Station Road, Snettisham, then walking to Snettisham water mill, which is just past the church hall along a gravel track on the left as you head towards the bypass. Alternatively you can park along Coaly Lane (a gravel track on the edge of Ingoldisthorpe as you enter from Snettisham) as Station Road is often quite congested.

Passage migrants
Pink-footed Goose

Past Highlights:
Ring Ouzel
Yellow-legged Gull
Montagu’s Harrier
Lesser-spotted Woodpecker
“Nordic” Jackdaw
Red-footed Falcon

Snettisham Water Mill is the original Young Norfolk Birders patch. It covers a very large area, but the main patch is located between Snettisham and Ingoldisthorpe – an area of fields with two “hides” (which in reality do little more than offer some shelter from the wind). The “hide” nearest the water mill (known as mill hide) has a ramp at one end which can offer a good vantage point for vis. mig. (visible migration) in spring, and for watching the pink-footed geese fly to roost in winter. However, it is probably best not to enter the hide as it is a bit dilapidated and is possibly unsafe. A walk across the fields will lead you to woodpecker hide, named after the telegraph poles behind it which are a favoured site for green woodpecker. The fields’ uses are rotated, so the wildlife varies from year to year. When left as rough grassland they are an excellent site for skylarks and kestrels, and if you are very lucky may produce quail. Crops are not quite as productive as grassland, but when the fields are newly ploughed they can attract reasonable numbers of gulls and jackdaws which are always worth checking, and occasionally waders such as whimbrel. “Nordic” jackdaw has been seen in the past. In spring and autumn the hedgerow behind woodpecker hide should be checked thoroughly – it has held up to four ring ouzels with wheatear being seen on the wires, and in summer has traditionally been a reliable site for lesser whitethroat.

Heading right from woodpecker hide you will reach another track – turn left towards Ingoldisthorpe. The fields on your right sometimes have breeding Lapwing or Oystercatcher. Continuing along this track, you will come out opposite Ingoldisthorpe playing field. Head left towards the pond. The pond has a history of producing oddities such as common sandpiper, but is usually only good for seeing Egyptian goose where at least one pair breeds every year. If you continue along the road up the hill you will reach an open barn with telegraph wires nearby - this is swallow point. Swallows can almost always be seen perched on the wires in summer.

Heading left at the T-junction will lead you down towards the river Ingol past some horse paddocks. Keep an eye out for harriers, as both marsh and montagu’s have been seen around this area in summer. After the bridge you will see a small layby on the right where you can park (be aware that other cars may need this space for passing however). Through the mesh fence Park Farm lakes can be seen. They can be scanned from the layby, but a better vantage point can be reached by crossing the road and walking to the right, up a small path to the top of a hillock. Yellow-legged gull and red-breasted merganser are amongst the highlights seen from lake viewpoint.

Continue along the road, listening out for yellowhammers. Cross over at the crossroads at the end of the road, and you will find a path through the field on your left. Corn bunting has been seen here on several occasions. The path comes out onto the road opposite the church. Follow the road down past the playing field. Tawny owls often sit in the trees at the other side of the field, but are only ever heard. The playing field itself is not great for birding, although raptors often fly through, including a red-footed falcon on one occasion.

Turn left at the end of the playing field, and follow this road round to the right. This is Park Lane, and leads past James and Simeon’s old house (hence its inclusion on the patch route), where little and mediterranean gulls, waxwing and alpine swift have been recorded! Park Lane curves round to the right and eventually meets Lynn Road near the pet shop. Turn left at Lynn Road and follow it for a short distance to the bridge.

There is a gate to the right of the bridge which leads to a path alongside the river Ingol. This takes you on a tranquil walk through the woodland that borders the main patch. As you enter the wood you will see some dead branches on the left hand corner – a favourite perch for raptors and sometimes turtle dove. The wood itself is usually quiet, though may produce spotted flycatcher and nuthatch, and has had lesser-spotted woodpecker and willow tit. The path ends back at the water mill, completing the patch route.