The Wensum recognised both nationally and internationally as an important chalk river has both SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) and SAC (Special Area of Conservation) designations. The river is also a priority habitat in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan.
The name Wensum comes from the Old English word for winding wendsum or wandsum and the river indeed winds rising near Colkirk, travelling west then north to Fakenham then heads south east, through Pensthorpe and Great Ryburgh. The journey south continues until Swanton Morley before the river takes a more easterly route towards Lenwade then south-east once again before a large meander around Ringland heading north-east to Taverham and another large meander to Drayton. The Wensum is joined by the Tud at Hellesdon and continues to Norwich where it joins as a tributary of the River Yare.