Hickling broad

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Hickling Broad NNR
Situated in the upper stretches of the River Thurne, Hickling is the largest of the Norfolk Broads.The site is a National Nature Reserve, home to some of The Broads rarest plants and animals, including the secrective bittern and spectacular swallowtail butterfly.
There are two main trails from the visitor centre and the superb 'Wildlife water trail' - a two hour trip on a traditional reedlighter (boat) led by an expert warden.Click here for a location map...
Swallowtail Trail (Green markers)

Swallowtail Trail (Green markers)

From the visitor centre, follow the hard path that runs between two large dykes, through oak and silver birch scrub and on into reedbed.During the summer, reed buntings and warblers flit between the stems searching for food.Cross the large dyke and enter the Cadbury Hide.This hide overlooks an artificial pool or 'scrape' which is managed to attract wading birds such as redshank and snipe.Continue along the path to Secker's Hide.This pool has deeper water and tall waterside vegetation - ideal for wildfowl and bittern.
Follow the boardwalk through reedbed and onto an earth bank, which is a good place to see the rare swallowtail butterfly, now only found in The Broads.Its large yellow wings make it unmistakeable.Photo: Mila Zinkova Documentation License

Bittern Trail (Red markers)

Bittern Trail (Red markers)

Follow the grassy path along the floodwall.Here you might see common lizard basking in the sun.Stop to take in the beautiful view from the observation hut and listen for the characteristic 'Ping' of the Bearded tit.Pass Whiteslea Lodge and make your way to 'Bittern Hide'.From here you overlook the Hundred Acre Reedbed, which has been improved to encourage the bittern to breed again at Hickling.If you are very lucky you may see one of these rare birds feeding along the dyke edge.Also look out for grey heron and the numerous wildfowl which use the dyke network.Above the reedbed look out for marsh harrier circling.
Rejoin the stony path back to the centre.The grazing marshes on your left provide nest sites for lapwing and snipe.Home to many rare plants and animals, these marshes are managed in traditional ways by cutting and grazing with Aberdeen Angus cattle and Polish ponies to maintain their wildlife value.
The nature reserve is open all year.The visitor centre is open from April to September daily 10.00am - 5.00pm. There is wheelchair access along the swallowtail trail.
Tel: (01692) 598276
Bittern photograph by Marek Szczepaneck Documentation License

Recommended reading: The Best Birdwatching Sites In Norfolk
When Neil Glenn's original guide to top birding areas in Norfolk was launched in 2003, it created a sensation.Here for the first time was the key information a birdwatcher needed, presented in an enthusiastic and reader friendly way. After this ground-breaking sell-out success, here is the Second edition.Every site from the first book has been revisited, so the information is bang up to date and ten completely new sites have been added.

Covering 83 of the best birdwatching sites in Norfolk from the famous to the less well known. Detailed maps of all reserves. Paperback 256pp.

Click here for ordering details...
Recommended reading: The Best Birdwatching Sites In Norfolk
Where to watch Birds in East AngliaWhere to watch Birds in East Anglia
East Anglia is one of the best birding regions in England. With its extensive areas of nationally scarce habitat such as the fens, reedbeds, undisturbed beaches and Breckland heath, it can be the only place to see several of England's most exciting birds. This is a guide to where to go in East Anglia to see many different species. It contains site accounts, plans, maps, lists of birds in the region and advice on planning birdwatching trips. This fourth edition is revised and updated.
click here for ordering information
Kingfisher Copyright Ravi Vaidyanathan.Click here for copyright details
Recommended reading:The Birds of NorfolkRecommended reading:The Birds of Norfolk
As a result of its unique position on the east coast, Norfolk is arguably the premier county for birds in Britain. Its diversity of habitats attracts and shelters a wide range of breeding species, and its coastline facing the North Sea ensures a wealth of migrant visitors. Norfolks probably also attracts more visiting birdwatchers than any other county.
This book, the most comprehensive work so far on the county's avifauna, brings the record up to date. It has been written by a team of almost forty experts from within the county, and includes many of the evocative and atmospheric passages from earlier works, as well as presenting all relevant records up to the end of 1998'.... The Birds of Norfolk 552 pp.
This landmark volume was first published in hardback in 1999, and reprinted with revisions in paperback in 2000. This is a hardback reprint of the paperback edition.

Click here for ordering details....
Recent bird photographs from Hickling Broad
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Hickling on Twitter
Hickling blogs and links
Local services and accommodation around Hickling Broad
Suggested walks around Hickling Broad

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