River Stiffkey

River Stiffkey
Crossing Ford near Great Walsingham
Country England
State Norfolk
Region East of England
District North Norfolk
 - location Swanton Novers
 - elevation 90 m (295 ft)
 - coordinates 52°51′20″N 0°59′46″E / 52.8555°N 0.9962°E / 52.8555; 0.9962
Mouth Freshes creek
 - location behind the spit, Blakeney Point
 - elevation 0 m (0 ft)
 - coordinates 52°57′27″N 0°57′40″E / 52.9574°N 0.9610°E / 52.9574; 0.9610Coordinates: 52°57′27″N 0°57′40″E / 52.9574°N 0.9610°E / 52.9574; 0.9610
Length 18 mi (29 km)
River Stiffkey within North Norfolk
Little Walsingham

The River Stiffkey is a chalk stream running through an area of north Norfolk, England from its source near Swanton Novers to flow out into the North Sea on the north Norfolk coast near the village of Stiffkey. The river has been dredged historically, presumably for agricultural purposes, and has a self-sustaining population of brown trout.[1]


The river's source is a small wooded lake just north of the village of Swanton Novers, after which the river passes close to Fulmodeston, then north to pass through the village of Great Snoring, which is noted in the Domesday book as having a watermill. From Great Snoring[2] it runs south past Thorpland Hall,[2] then north-west through East Barsham,[2] North Barsham and Houghton St Giles to the town of Little Walsingham.

The Priory in Little Walsingham was built with stone from Northamptonshire which had been towed up the River Stiffkey in flat-bottomed barges. The priory had a watermill on the river but this was demolished early in the 20th century.[3]

From here it flows north past Great Walsingham, then through Wighton and Warham before passing through the village of Stiffkey and out to its estuary on Stiffkey Salt Marshes.[2] The area from Great Walsingham to Stiffkey is prone to flooding and was the subject of a severe flood warning in October 2004.[4]


The river is probably named after the village of Stiffkey, whose name means "Island with tree-stumps".[5]


  1. Vaughan Lewis, Windrush AEC on behalf of Tom Coke, Holkham Estate and Nick Zoll (2002). "Habitat Advisory Visit, Rivers Stiffkey and Burn, Norfolk" (PDF). originally available as http://www.wildtrout.org/WWT/library/papers/AU18.pdf. Retrieved 2006-04-14. External link in |work= (help)
  2. 1 2 3 4 "Rivers of East Anglia, By James Turner: Publisher: Cassell & Company Limited, 1954, Chapter III The Stiffkey.:AASIN B0007JD6TQ
  3. Jonathan Neville (2003). "Norfolk Mills - Little Walsingham watermill". Norfolk Mills. Retrieved 2006-04-14.
  4. National Flood Warning Centre (2006). "River Stiffkey from, and including Great Walsingham to Stiffkey". Environment Agency. Archived from the original on May 27, 2005. Retrieved 2006-04-01.
  5. A. D. Mills. A Dictionary of British Place Names. Oxford University Press.
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