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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]

River Stiffkey
Crossing Ford near Great Walsingham
River Stiffkey is located in Norfolk
River Stiffkey
River Stiffkey within North Norfolk
RegionEast of England
DistrictNorth Norfolk
Physical characteristics
 - locationSwanton Novers
 - coordinates52°51′20″N 0°59′46″E / 52.8555°N 0.9962°E / 52.8555; 0.9962
 - elevation90 m (300 ft)
MouthFreshes creek
 - location
behind the spit, Blakeney Point
 - 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
 - elevation
0 m (0 ft)
Length18 mi (29 km)
Basin features
WatermillsLittle Walsingham



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". originally available as Retrieved 2006-04-14. External link in |work= (help)CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  2. ^ a b c d "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.