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

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.

08/11/23 Thank you to all those who have removed boats. The verges are nearly clear!

23/10/23 All Harbour users are requested to remove boats from the verges and hard by the end of British Summer Time 29th October so they can be maintained over the winter. 

The BOHT AGM was held on 8th April 2023 at 5pm in Burnham Thorpe Village Hall.  Thanks to all those who attended.


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
  • Hon.Treasurer: Peter Low

Boat Licencing 2023

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  = £15.00

·       Overall length 8ft to 20ft = £30.00

·       Overall length over 20ft = £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.