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Beat the festive blues by getting Active in Nature in Norfolk with the RSPB and Sport England with free taster sessions throughout January

Last modified: 05 January 2016

View over reedbed at Strumpshaw Fen

Enjoy stunning views of The Broads landscape by bike, canoe or on foot

Image: Chris Gomersall

The RSPB is encouraging people to swap the sofa for stunning scenery this January as part of a new partnership with Sport England. The joint venture offers the chance for people to beat the festive blues by running, canoeing, climbing and cycling with wildlife on two RSPB nature reserves.

Using £199,865 of National Lottery funding, the two-year project, which is aimed at getting people out and active in nature, will see RSPB Strumpshaw Fen in Norfolk and RSPB Rainham Marshes in Essex offering a programme of cycling, canoeing, climbing and running activities to help visitors experience wildlife from a different perspective.

Ed Parnaby, Active in Nature Project Officer for Norfolk, said: “Nature and staying active is very important to our health and wellbeing. With this partnership project, the RSPB wants to encourage as many people as possible to get outdoors and active this January. This could be cycling and running along peaceful lanes in the Norfolk Broads discovering marsh harriers and other special wildlife found in the area, or taking to the water in a canoe for an encounter with an otter or kingfisher”.

“The most popular New Year’s resolution for people in the UK (51%) was to get fitter and healthier. This project presents the perfect opportunity for people who aren’t keen on the gym or traditional fitness classes and would prefer to complete their resolution surrounded by Norfolk’s beautiful nature and wildlife – and at far less of the cost.”

The partnership kicks off in January with a month’s worth of free taster events aimed at helping visitors get over the festive blues and enjoy being active in nature. 

At Strumpshaw Fen visitors will get the unique opportunity to take a canoe out onto the river Yare, which is part of the wildlife rich Norfolk Broads, or cycle round the quiet country lanes with stunning views of the open rural landscape and meandering rivers before taking a walk through Strumpshaw’s reedbeds famous for its bitterns, otters, dragonflies and butterflies.

Weekly ‘Wild Runs’ are open for all – whether you’re the next Mo Farah or just looking to start jogging. The smooth terrain provides perfect views of the River Yare and plenty of opportunities to see wintering wetland birds. The 5 km route will pass the UK’s largest corvid roost where upwards of 50,000 rooks, jackdaws and crows roost during the winter.

Sport England Property Director, Charles Johnston said: “I am delighted that thanks to almost £200,000 of National Lottery funding, now even more people can become active in the great outdoors. Sports in less traditional settings like this offer a rewarding experience, with fresh air, great scenery as well as a chance to try an activity a little off the beaten track.”

Events at RSPB Strumpshaw Fen in January 2016: 

  • Sunday 10th January, 9.30 am: Wild Run
  • Sunday 10th January, 11.30 am: Guided Bike Ride
  • Sunday 17th January, 9.30 am: Wild Run
  • Sunday 17th January, 11.30 am: Guided Bike Ride
  • Sunday 24th January, 9.30 am: Wild Run
  • Sunday 24th January, 11.30am: Guided Bike Ride
  • Sunday 31st January, 9.30 am: Wild Run
  • Sunday 31st January, 11.30 am: Guided Bike Ride

These taster sessions are free of charge.  Booking is essential. Please call on 01603 715191 or email to book or for more information.

Canoeing events will begin in Spring 2016.

To find out more about the RSPB’s and Sport England’s Active in Nature partnership project, or to find out what activities are available in the Norfolk Broads, visit

Nature reserves

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