Snettisham beach signs

Has anyone had problems with the confusing signs at Snettisham beach?

The signs on RSPB land say that we cannot access the sea bank but local  parish council signs say we can walk along the sea bank. 

After talking to some local residents of Snettisham beach (beach park pub) it seems the RSPB are to blame for the confusing signs!  

The sea bank at Snettisham is one of Norfolk's top bird watching locations and we need this issue sorted! 

  • After doing some research on these signs, it seems the RSPB are in collusion with some of the beach caravan owners and that is why they do not want us walking along the sea bank!  It seems someone from the RSPB is putting their personal interests in front of the general bird batching community!

    I would urge all fellow bird watchers to walk the sea bank and enjoy this wonderful area.

  • In reply to inspector:

    Hi Inspector, we have been in touch with the site manager for Snettisham who has provided the following answer to your questions. If you have any further questions about this issue or the reserve itself, please get in touch with the reserve team directly by emailing

    Response to queries regarding access at Snettisham RSPB reserve -in particular access along a section of sea defence in front of beach properties.   There is at present a long running complicated dispute between various parties regarding access at Snettisham beach.  In relation to the seawall, legally, each adjacent property owns the land across the top of the seawall to the high spring water mark on the beach –which is around two thirds of the way up the slope of the revetment.  The Environment Agency has rights of access and a remit to maintain the sea defence, but it remains on privately owned land.

    Part of the current dispute revolves around access along the top of this seawall.  On one side, parties maintain that they have walked the bank for years, on the other side, beach residents maintain that they have had various signs in place and have tried to challenge persons walking the bank –though clearly there is a limit to how much challenging has been possible.  Snettisham Parish Council has made a formal request to Norfolk District Council to have a footpath recognised from the Beach car park, along the seawall to the RSPB reserve to the south.  Both sides in the argument have supplied evidence supporting their case to NCC, and a decision is imminent, although it is highly likely that whichever side the decision goes against will appeal.  At present therefore, there is no recognised, established right of access along the seawall, although this may be established soon.

    Regarding signs, the RSPB have two signs in place at either end of the contested section of seawall requesting visitors to the reserve use the footpath from the RSPB car park to access the reserve (avoiding the area around the beach properties) –there are additional non-RSPB signs present too.  However, the RSPB does not state on its signs that there is no access, or that visitors cannot walk through the area in question –the RSPB is requesting that visitors use the RSPB’s dedicated footpath.  Clearly, if a footpath becomes established along this route then these signs would be removed.

    Up until 1999 access to the reserve (by agreement with the Snettisham Beach Property Owners Association) was from the Beach car park, along the seawall section opposite the caravan park, and then along the concrete road through the beach properties –not along the seawall in front of the beach properties.  This arrangement was always a temporary agreement until the RSPB could establish a route to the reserve avoiding the beach properties, which occurred from 1999 onwards.

    Comments regarding not being able to see aerial displays of waders, or waders on the mudflats.  This is simply untrue.  From the extensive area to the south of the beach properties, there are huge vistas across the mudflats.  The best areas for witnessing wader flocks are on the mudflats well to the south of the beach properties.

    Jim Scott

    Snettisham Site Manager