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Norfolk’s Waterways

In Norfolk, we are incredibly fortunate to be home to many internationally rare chalk-fed rivers; there are just over 220 across the world. These exceptional ecosystems provide a habitat haven for a large variety of fauna and flora to thrive including the otter, starwort, brown trout and white-clawed crayfish. Delicate underground chalk aquifers and springs supply clear, mineral-rich water to these precious watercourses.

Rivers found in the west and south-west of Norfolk eventually find their way to the Great Ouse – a river that completes its journey as it meets the Wash at King’s Lynn. These rivers include the Gaywood, Little Ouse, Nar, Thet and Wissey. In the south, east and centre of Norfolk, the rivers Ant, Bure, Thurne, Waveney, Wensum and Yare feed the Broads National Park and flow out to sea via Breydon Water. In the north and north west of Norfolk, the rivers Burn, Glaven, Mun and Stiffkey, all chalk-fed, flow into the Wash or directly into the North Sea.

Why should we protect and restore our rivers?

A well-functioning river system requires good water quality, distinctive physical processes, and a diverse array of fauna and flora. These three factors interact, and are vital for wildlife, people and the local economy. As well as acting as wildlife corridors, connecting habitat islands within intensively farmed regions, rivers also supply clean water for drinking, growing crops, transport, energy and manufacturing. Furthermore, rivers can provide essential protection against flooding, when managed carefully.

Visit Our Work to find out what we have been doing to ensure that Norfolk’s rivers continue to support wildlife, provide clean water, and offer a tranquil environment for future generations to enjoy.

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