The Best Nature Reserves on the Broads
One of the main attractions of staying in one of the many Norfolk Broads Holiday Cottage is the vast array of wildlife and countryside nature trails on offer. The area contains arguably some of the most beautiful protected nature reserves in the country, which are ideal for hiking, spotting animals or just relaxing with a picnic. Here are some of the Broads’ most picturesque and popular nature reserves that are open to the public all year round and are well worth a visit.
How Hill Nature Reserve
How Hill contains rolling marsh meadows and large stretches of open water. On the water, visitors can take marsh cruises upon an unusual solar powered electric “eel” boat, which provides unparalleled views of the reserve’s wildlife along the banks. Visitors are likely to see Norfolk cattle, sheep and a variety of ducks as they pass. The cruises also take you past a much-loved old thatched cottage called Toad Hole, which was previously a home for the men that used to maintain the marsh – well over a hundred years ago. While on the boat, you will also enjoy taking in the sights of the area’s beautifully colourful woodland and swamp-like marshes, which are full of alder trees and birch. Boat trips can last a good couple of hours and are an ideal way to take in the true beauty of the How Hill Nature Reserve and all it has to offer.
Bure Marshes Nature Reserve
Situated in the Ranworth Broad, Broadland is one of the UK’s most significant spots for wildlife. The grand River Bure runs right through the reserve and there are many riverside trails that have been designed to show off the full breadth of Bure’s wildlife and scenery. Visitors can walk through woodland and reedbed, spotting common sights such as teal and wigeon wildfowl and great crested grebes. The area is also home to one of the largest congregations of cormorants in the country. At the end of the riverside trail is the Broadland Conservation Centre, which floats on the River Bure and offers panoramic views of the open water. You might even be lucky enough to spot an otter!
Hoveton Great Broad Nature Reserve
This lesser-known gem of the Norfolk Broads is a tiny nature reserve that was only recently opened to the public. Accessible only by boat, the small area provides a series of trails that lead deep into the swampy woodland. Be sure to take decent walking boots or Wellington boots as the trails can get very muddy on wet days – and be sure to keep to the trails as land can be very swampy. The area provides a rare and unique insight into this little-accessed area, and there are guides available to help people navigate around this extreme habitat and make the most from their visits to this unusual place.
Cley Marshes Nature Reserve
This coastline nature reserve is well-known for being one of the best bird spotting regions in the country. Depending on the time of year, visitors can enjoy an up-close look at some of the rarest birds in the area, such as flocks of wildfowl, redshank, bitterns, avocets and snow buntings. Such is the calibre of bird watching in this area, there are now a range of discreet thatched bird watching hideaways that offer unparalleled views of birdlife.
At this stunning nature reserve, there are a range of activities on offer that will show you the full range of wildlife living here. For example, there are a variety of nature trails around the woodland, as well as the opportunity to climb a magnificent 60 foot high tree, which gives splendid views of the reserve. Hickling is the Broads’ largest reserve and is home to many beautiful species of wildlife, such as the marsh harriers, swallowtail butterflies, Norfolk Hawker dragonflies and bitterns. The marshes are packed full of colourful plants, such as the yellow flag iris, marsh orchids and water mint.
This is the second largest of the Broads and is currently subject to an extensive renovation project – Clear Water 200 – which is cleaning the once mud-like water in order to restore the natural beauty of the surrounding landscape. The area, which had once suffered from sewage and fertiliser damage, is now well on the road to recovery, and visitors to the reserve can enjoy viewing a range of new plants that have recently been introduced to help add vital nutrients back into the water. Waterside trails offer hikers the opportunity to spot otters and glimpse at rare vegetation.
About us: Waterside Breaks specialises in holiday cottage & lodges by the water throughout the UK. These include Scottish log cabins, Scottish holiday lodges and for course Norfolk Broads holiday cottages. We offer personal service to all our customers.