There can be little better than a sunny day on the Norfolk Broads. While visiting this wondrous wetland it is worth going to Hickling Broad Nature Reserve. Anyone who loves wildlife and the peace and tranquillity the Norfolk Broads offers will enjoy a trip to this beautiful spot. Hickling Broad is the largest of the Broads and is a wildlife haven.
Hickling Broad National Nature Reserve
The sheer expanse of this place is difficult to appreciate until you see it in person. A day could easily be spent exploring this area. Hickling Broad can be found at the upper stretches of the River Thurne.
There is a visitor centre on site which is open from Easter to September from 10am to 5pm.
There is a small charge to enter the reserve if you are not a Norfolk Wildlife Trust member. There are some informative displays which make interesting reading as well as gifts, books and refreshments. It is worth noting that dogs are not allowed in the Reserve.
There are two main trails to follow. The Swallowtail trail has wheelchair access. Paths are easy to follow and going on a dry day meant any form of comfortable flat footwear was fine. On a wet day paths may well be wet and muddy. The paths lead you through dykes and reed beds and onto some hides which are fantastic places for spotting wading birds such as redshank and snipe.
There are 3 hides in total as well as observation points and an observation hut. The views over Hickling Broad are truly wonderful. Cadbury hide overlooks an artificial pool which attracts numerous wading birds and Bittern hide overlooks a hundred acre reed bed which is now proud to house breeding bittern.
Wildlife that can be readily seen here includes marsh harriers, bitterns, swallowtail butterflies and a large range of dragonflies and water fowl. If you are looking to do even more boating electric powered boat trips are available at Hickling Broad which gives you access to a 60ft tree tower and bird hides only accessible by boat. More information on the Norfolk Broads nature reserve can be found at the Norfolk Wildlife Trust website.