Brancaster Beach or 'Branny' as it's known locally is a stunningly beautiful location for kitesurfing situated on the North Norfolk coast of the UK. This is one of the busiest beaches in Norfolk, with in excess of 30,000 visitors per year.
The entire area is has an amazing collection of wildlife designations including SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest), SPA (Special Protection Area - for birds), SAC (Special Area of Conservation - for wildlife and habitats) and is part of the Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Brancaster Beach is sandwiched between RSPB Titchwell Marsh Reserve to the west; with its unique mixture of saltwater, brackish and freshwater habitats that are important for breeding and overwintering bird species and Scolt Head Island to the east. This island is designated a NNR (National Nature Reserve) and is a high-profile breeding ground for internationally protected bird species managed by Natural England. In addition the eastern two-thirds of the beach are owned by the National Trust and the western third owned by The Crown Estate and leased by the RSPB.
In 2000, following concerns that the incidents of kite sports conflicting with other users and conservation bodies were spiralling out of control the choice was to try and manage these activities or to ban them. The 'North Norfolk Kiters Working Group' was set up as an experiment in voluntary management, and all interested parties came up with an agreement on launching and landing zones, buggy zones and kitesurfing no-go zones for Brancaster Beach. All protected areas, like the North Norfolk Coast, are experiencing an increase in visitors. By managing kite sport activities in this voluntary way we are ensuring that these activities have a minimal impact on beach users and on the environment. This voluntary agreement has worked exceptionally well for more than a decade and only recently was commended for three consecutive years with 'zero incidents'.
Unfortunately things seem to have gone pear-shaped in April and May 2016, particularly with visiting kiters not knowing and/or observing the guidelines. These guidelines are shown on a number of signs around the car park and beach access points, and enforced by wardens on site.
If you DO come to kitesurf at 'Branny' - PLEASE be aware of the sensitive wildlife, other beach users and respect the voluntary management measures in place!
No-one wants to lose access to this awesome location but it requires EVERYONE to stick to the agreed guidelines as illustrated below.