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The River Heacham’s source can be found close to the village of Bircham Newton, where the chalk-fed river flows for 16.4 km to its outfall at Heacham beach.

The Heacham travels through an undulating landscape of open countryside, a shallow wooded valley, the Norfolk Lavendar Mill, across Heacham Park, where a channel from it feeds a small lake, and through low-level meadows.

The diverse nature of the river means that it can support a wide-range of wildlife, from brown trout to water voles and eels.

Woody debris and macrophytes in the Heacham

Undulating landscape

Most of the catchment overlies high permeability bedrock, making the aquifer productive, and accounting for a high proportion of the flow originating from the aquifer. A Water Framework Directive (WFD) report undertaken by the Environment Agency has designated the hydrology as “Good.” Nevertheless, many local people are concerned about abstraction in the upper part of the river, which has allegedly suffered from increasingly long periods of seasonal drying.

If you would like to find out more about the Heacham, the wildlife it supports, or the problems facing this river and the proposed solutions to these problems, please download our Catchment Plan.

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