The largest of the Broads, NWT Hickling Broad is a year-round haven for wildlife. It is easy to spend a day walking around its trails or, in summer, gently whiling away a couple of hours taking in the Broad’s hidden corners on one of NWT’s boat tours. Download timetable here.
Hickling is situated on the Upper Thurne river system, which holds a significant percentage of the UK population of common crane as well as important breeding numbers of bittern, marsh harrier bearded tit and Cetti’s warbler. In winter large numbers of marsh harriers roost in the reedbed north east of Stubb Mill; merlin and hen harrier are also regular. Barn owl is almost guaranteed and you may see kingfisher if you are lucky. Interesting mammals include the introduced Chinese water deer, red deer and hard-to-see otters.
Among the many insects are two iconic local specialities – the swallowtail butterfly and the Norfolk hawker dragonfly – though many equally rare, albeit lesser-known, invertebrates also occur. Plants are well-represented, with the important milk parsley: the larval food plant of the swallowtail.
Visitor facilities improvements winter 2016
NWT is carrying out improvements to the Visitor Centre while it is closed for the winter. Work starts on 1 November and will be finished in time for the normal re-opening in spring 2017. The reserve will be open as usual during the winter and the car park will not be affected. Temporary toilets will be provided next to the car park.
The improvements include a small extension, refurbishment and essential maintenance and will provide more indoor and outdoor seating and improved reception areas. Information in the centre will be updated with displays on wildlife and habitats and on the importance of nature conservation and environmental sustainability.
The works will be carried out by local builders Tweed Services Ltd from Winterton-on-Sea.
A number of ecological enhancements are planned including bat boxes in neighbouring trees, swallow cups in the eaves of the centre, replanting of hazel and a swale or shallow pond to capture rainwater.
Norfolk Wildlife Trust has swing mooring vacancies on Hickling Broad. If you would like more information please contact Debs Kershaw on 01603 625540.