Caring for the Creek

Charity Commission No. 287315


Who we are and what we do

The Burnham Overy Harbour Trust is a registered charity (No.287315) set up in 1983 to manage the harbour and creek for the benefit of its users. The objects of the charity are:

  • to manage the harbour area in line with environmental and heritage objectives.
  • to maintain and improve the creek and harbour and regulate access to the creek for those purposes.
  • to co-operate with relevant organisations to promote water safety and application of byelaws.    


The Trustees of the Charity are:

  • Peter Beck
  • The Earl of Leicester
  • William Garnett
  • David Hart KC
  • David de Stacpoole

Latest News

NORFOLK SUPERHERO 2024 raises £176,000 for the BOHT!

27/06/2024 Book Launch

The first book launch event will take place this weekend at the Boathouse.

Lifeblood: commissioned by the Harbour Trust to tell the story of the creek. Sales will provide additional revenue towards the groyne project. 

25/03/2024 Events Organiser

As many of you will already know, the BOHT has commissioned the publication of the definitive history of the creek which will be published this summer. We are looking for enthusiastic and organised volunteers to run three events in the village in June and August. These events, to be held in the village hall and boathouse, will also act as a focal point for a fund raising campaign for the groyne and saltmarsh restoration project which BOHT expect to complete over the winter months 2024-2025. If you are interested in helping the team in this way please contact: 

Up The Creek Spring 2024

With the vernal equinox fast approaching and with so much going on with the BOHT, I thought it a good moment to update you on the latest harbour-related matters. 

Groyne and Saltmarsh Restoration Project – Presentation at BOS Village Hall on Saturday 9 March 11.30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m.

As many of you know, in December we were thrilled to announce that the BOHT had been chosen as the main beneficiary charity of the 2024 Norfolk Superhero and that this will help enormously in our fundraising campaign for a groyne restoration project.  We are now in position to share our plans for this major project that will be carried out in the winter of 2024-2025.  Please do join the Groyne Group, comprising Will Garnett, David de Stacpoole, John Owles, John Thompson and Ash Faire-Ring on Saturday 9 March, when they will be discussing the project and be delighted to answer any questions that you might have.   The cost of the work will be considerable and we do plan to embark on a fundraising campaign later in the year with a book launch being its focal point……

A history of the creek

The BOHT is also delighted to announce that it will publish the definitive history of the Burn Valley and the Burnham Overy Creek on the occasion of the 2024 Norfolk Superhero. This is in recognition of the Superhero’s munificent contribution to the forthcoming restoration project.  Richly illustrated, it’s written by our very own Jim Ring, who has lived in the Burnhams since 1989. He is an award-winning historian, novelist, and documentary maker, best known for his biography of Erskine Childers. As stated above, the book will be the focal point of the fundraising campaign for the Groyne Project (to augment Superhero funds) and will serve to emphasise the importance of the Creek to the village over time.  The BOHT will own the copyright and 10 sponsors have kindly committed to underwriting the initial cost – all revenue derived from book sales in excess of the costs will go to the BOHT.   Jim Ring has very kindly agreed to attend fundraising events to be held during the course of the summer at which he will talk about the book and what he has learned whilst researching it. 


As you know the Trust generates its income principally from donations and boat licences.  We were extremely gratified that a record number of licences were sold last year.  Thank you for supporting the BOHT in this way.  This year we wanted to make it easier to buy licences so there will be the option of paying by paypal or by direct bank transfer.  As a reminder, all craft using the harbour must have a licence (BOHT Licence) and insurance before they launch. 

The Verges and The Hard

Thank you to all for your cooperation in removing your craft (and detritus!) from the verges and The Hard.  We plan to cut the grass and make any repairs (including re-seeding if necessary) during the first couple of weeks of March.  Therefore, we would very much appreciate if you could wait to put any boats back till the weekend of Saturday 23 March.  As was the case last year, we will have to dispose of a small number of abandoned and unusable boats at some cost.  Please do remove rather than abandon! 

Annual General Meeting

This year we will hold the BOHT’s AGM on Friday 16 August at 6.30 p.m. at Burnham Thorpe Village Hall. For those with long memories, August was the normal month for the BOHT AGM in prior years.  We have chosen to revert to August as more of our members tend to be around and as it will give us time to have the accounts audited and signed off. 


As mentioned last year, the BOHT will provide a numbered tag, free of charge, to be attached to all moorings. This will aid the ongoing identification process that will allow us to further update the Moorings Map which can be found in the Boat House coffee room.

Please contact to arrange for an identification tag to be fitted. 

Boats moored in the harbour are done so at the owners’ own risk. It is important for boat owners to understand that moored boats that collide in strong winds are the responsibility of the boat owners themselves and not the BOHT. The BOHT expects all boat owners to be insured, and also that larger boats are only moored on those moorings with enough swing room.  

We also would like to highlight that damage done by fisherman anchors or anchors with sharp, upward facing points will be the liability of the anchor owner.  During the past year, these type of anchors have caused significant damage and those using them should ensure they remain well buried.

Swimming Caps

As in previous years, we encourage swimmers to wear swimming caps and/or use a float in order to avoid accidents. The BOHT will continue to provide caps free of charge and they can be collected from John Thompson, who operates the Welcome Ferry, or from the Boathouse. 

Thank you again for your support and cooperation in maintaining the good management of the creek and helping to preserve this very special place.  If you would like to provide any feedback or have a query please do not hesitate to contact the BOHT at or speak directly to one of the members of the Harbour Support Group (Ben Goakes, David de Stacpoole, Will Garnett, David Hart, Max Owles, Peter Mitchell, Toby Campbell-Gray). 

Will Garnett, Chair of the BOHT Management Committee

25/1/24 Consent and support for the groyne and saltmarsh restoration project and book launch

The Burnham Overy Harbour Trust is delighted to announce the important milestone that Natural England have given their consent for the groyne and saltmarsh restoration project.  This follows the public support received from Holkham Estate, the Burnham Overy Parish Council and The Scolt Head and District Common Rightholders Association.  All three organisations have also welcomed and expressed their deep appreciation of the news that the Norfolk Superhero has selected the BOHT as the main beneficiary charity for the 2024 Norfolk Superhero. It goes without saying that the BOHT has the full support from the village.  

The BOHT is also delighted to announce that it will publish the definitive history of the Burn Valley and the Burnham Overy Creek on the occasion of the 2024 Norfolk Superhero. This is in recognition of the Superhero’s munificent contribution to the forthcoming restoration project.  Richly illustrated, it’s written by Jim Ring, who has lived in the Burnhams since 1989. He is an award-winning historian, novelist, and documentary maker, best known for his biography of Erskine Childers. 

01/12/23 Dam and Creek repairs.

On Friday 1 December, 14 hardy volunteers heady out at in icy conditions at 7.00am into a still dark creek to repair some breaches in the one of the banks.  The timing was designed to take advantage of the high tide which allows us to bring the sandbags over the marsh in John Thompson;’s Welcome. These banks are crucial to stop erosion of the precious sea marshes……Yes… I am going to mention the samphire again!
The BOS saltmarshes and creeks are stated in the SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) notification document to be “among the best in Europe … the flora is exceptionally diverse”. The latest biodiversity audit in 2020 went further identifying them as the most diverse saltmarsh in Europe with a large number of habitat specific plants; citing that it is home to 8 species of samphire some of which are very rare.  

30/11/23 BOHT chosen as one of the Superhero Charities in 2024!

We are thrilled to announce that the Burnham Overy Harbour Trust (BOHT) has been chosen as the main beneficiary charity of the 2024 Norfolk Superhero.  This has major funding potential for the Trust and will help enormously in our fundraising campaign for the major groyne restoration project. 

As mentioned in earlier updates, the BOHT formed a Groyne Working Group to assess the remedial action that needs to be carried out in the Creek. We have now developed a detailed plan to prioritise and cost the work that will prevent the Creek from silting up, as well as deliver significant environmental benefits by helping to protect the saltmarshes which are unique in their exceptional biodiversity and beauty. This will be quite a major project and, having won the support of the Superhero, the next step is to liaise with national bodies such as Natural England and the Environment Agency, as well as with other local stakeholder groups. The intention is for the works to take place in the first quarter of 2025; they will need to be finished by the middle of March and the onset of the bird breeding season. John Owles and David de Stacpoole have spent a considerable amount of time and effort on this planning phase and I would like to thank them both.

The Norfolk Superhero has been running the challenge from Burnham Overy Staithe for 15 years.  In that time it has raised over £830,000 for Norfolk-based charities – for more info please go to   This is not only fantastic news for the BOHT but all the users of creek and its abundant wildlife! I attach an excerpt from the Norfolk Superhero press release which is a powerful endorsement of the work that the BOHT carries out. 

Please see the news page for the full details.


The land and creek at Burnham Overy Harbour was bought by the Earl of Leicester (the Holkham Estate) in 1922 and is leased to the Burnham Overy Harbour Trust (the Charity) for £10 a year. 

Click here to read a copy of the lease

The Charity operates under a constitution which ensures the harbour is managed fairly and in the interests of all harbour users and local people.

Click here to read a copy of the constitution

Common Rights

Much of the land leased to the Charity forms part of CL65, a registered Common and is therefore subject to common rights. Common rights involve the entitlement to take a specific product from land belonging to another, in this case the Holkham Estate. The rights of common and the names of the rights holders in relation to CL65 are registered at Norfolk County Council. The rights holders are entitled to exercise their registered rights (grazing, wildfowling etc.) unhindered as well as such further ancillary rights as are reasonably necessary to exercise their registered rights. All other rights remain vested in the landowner who has granted a lease to the Charity which in turn may appoint a Management Committee.



  • Hon. Chair: William Garnett
  • Hon. Secretary: Toby Campbell-Gray
  • Treasurer Designate: Ben Goakes

Boat Licencing

Boat Licensing can be accessed by clicking on the License Application Tab at the top of page. 

All craft using the harbour must have a licence and insurance before they launch. Any boat without a valid sticker maybe removed and a fee charged for its return.

The purpose of the boat licence fee is to raise money to manage and maintain the Harbour and the Creek. Boat licences entitle you to launch your boat and must be displayed on the craft. Boat licences are not an automatic entitlement to leave or park your boat.  It is a requirement that you have third party insurance before you launch.

 The Fees for all moored or launched craft including sailboards are:

·       1 Day Visitor all lengths  = £5.00

 Annual Licence 2 or more days using the harbour:

·       Overall length up to 8ft (2.4m)  = £15.00

·       Overall length 8ft to 20ft (2.4 – 6m) = £30.00

·       Overall length over 20ft = (6m+) £50.00

If you visit more than one day in a year, you need to buy an annual licence. Everybody contributes towards the upkeep of the harbour. No dispensations are available for permanent residents. Checks will be made by the Harbour Master and un-licenced craft may be removed and a charge levied for their return. 

We are now paperless, so all applications must be made using the licence application page. 

Licence Stickers can now only be collected from the Boathouse once the application has been verified (no stickers will be posted). 

Applications must be made by 1800 hours the previous day.

Stickers can only be collected more than at 3 hours before high water, or more than 3 hours after high water, on the day after the application was made.



2023 AGM was held on Saturday 8th April 2023 at 5pm in Burnham Thorpe Village Hall.


 For news please see the News tab at the top of the page.