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Holme lies in the north-west corner of the county between Hunstanton and Thornham. Historically it marked the termination of the Peddars Way - the famous Roman Road which may also have been an early pilgrimage route. Today the footpath runs from Knettishall Heath near Thetford to the coast.

Broad Water at the Holme Dunes Nature Reserve

The Holme Dunes nature reserve - which is managed by the Norfolk Wildlife Trust - is a spectacular area of sand dunes, grazing meadows and reed beds located where the North Sea meets the Wash. The reserve which is rich in flora and fauna provided the impetus for Patrick Barkham's book The Butterfly Isles (2010).

Patrick Barkham: photo © Curtis Brown

During the 1980s Barkham used to visit the reserve regularly with his parents for their two-week summer holiday. Sharing an interest in butterflies - he and his father John Barkham (an environmental scientist working at the University of East Anglia) used to try and track down and identify as many species as possible.

Inspired by this early interest in Lepidoptera, Barkham recently embarked on a tour of the UK with the aim of identifying all of our 59 species. The account of his 2009 journey was subsequently published by Granta. The book also features other Norfolk locations: such as Hickling Broad - where he spotted a Swallowtail and Wells - where he ticked off the Meadow Brown. (He has cottage in the town.)

Barkham was educated at Cambridge University and then studied for a MA in Journalism at Goldsmith's College in London; he now works as a feature writer for the Guardian newspaper.

Norfolk is fast becoming the county-of-choice for nature writers and we are lucky enough to have both Mark Cocker (see Claxton) and Richard Mabey (see Roydon) as residents.





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