The Knapton Cutting Butterfly Nature Reserve, known locally as the Butterfly Walk, follows the picturesque path of the old railway track from North Walsham to Mundesley which was closed in 1964. It’s now a public walkway and forms part of both the Knapton Way and the Paston Way footpaths.
The butterfly reserve (the first section you enter, down the steps from the car park) is full of of wild flowers, scrub and undisturbed grassy banks, which make it an ideal habitat for butterflies with nineteen different species having been recorded.
There’s a diversity of flowering species such as black knapweed, yarrow, sheep’s sorrel, primrose, oxeye daisy and hoary cinquefoil. There is also the Small-Flowered Catchfly, which is classified as endangered in the United Kingdom. You can click the button on the left to learn more.
Further along, the main body of the railway cutting is dominated by young oak woodland and the old railway bed supports primroses, wood avens, herb Robert and lords-and-ladies.
Along the cutting, which continues over the Dilham canal, there are also areas on each side of deciduous and wet woodland. Here you can find tree species such aspen, birch, hazel, sycamore, holly and in places mature oak and alder. Woodland to the east is bordered by Pigney’s Wood community woodland.