Broadland local group

The Bure Valley, photo by Richard Osbourne

From the chair

On behalf of the Broadland local members group it is my pleasure to welcome you to our part of the NWT local members website. We were founded in May 1978 and are an active and friendly group who are fortunate enough to live within reach of the famous Norfolk Broads where we have access to some of the NWT's best known nature reserves and the iconic species of wildlife which live there. We run a conservation group which assist the reserves staff with physical management work during the winter months and actively fund raise during the summer by holding open garden events and an annual cheese and wine party. Our autumn and winter programme of indoor talks are held at Ingham village hall on the second friday of the month between October and April commencing at 7.45pm. We welcome both members and non members, hold a raffle and serve refreshments at the end all included for a small admission fee. We organise wildlife walks led by knowledgable leaders within the Broadland area and welcome members old and new as well as visitors to the region. We look forward to meeting you at one of our events.

Jerry Simpson

Broadland is a unique expanse of East Anglia extending from east Norfolk down into Suffolk. It consists of numerous navigable waterways and sections of open water forming Britain's largest protected wetland. The broads are essentially manmade and were formed when Medieval peat diggings later became flooded. In the past trading wherries used the waterways for transporting heavy loads, but today the remaining wherries are pleasure craft and the broads are used mainly for leisure and tourism.

Our local NWT group concentrates on the northern section of broadland, taking in the major nature reserves of the rivers Bure, Ant and Thurne. The two largest broads, Hickling and Barton, are both NWT reserves, as are the smaller broads at Upton, Ranworth, Alderfen, Cockshoot and Martham.

Around each of these stretches of open water there are fens, marshes, reedbeds and carr woodlands making up a diverse network of wetland habitats. The region abounds with Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) and National Nature Reserves (NNRs) and the whole of broadland is designated a Special Protection Area (SPA). 

The Broads are home to many rare and beautiful creatures including Swallowtail butterflies, Norfolk Hawker dragonflies, Bitterns, Otters and Water Voles. The winter raptor roost at Stubb Mill, NWT Hickling Broad can contain up to 100 Marsh Harriers and over 30 Common Cranes frequent the same marshes. NWT Upton Broad and Marshes is one of the best sites in the whole county for dragonflies and has recently been extended to several times its original size. NWT Ranworth Broad and NWT Barton Broad both have colonies of Common Terns that nest on specially built floating platforms and at Barton there is also a successful heronry in the carr woodland.

NWT Broadland Group holds indoor meetings from October through to April on the second Friday of each month. These meetings usually take the form of an illustrated talk by a guest speaker, although occasionally we persuade one of our own members to talk about their travels or ask one of the NWT broadland staff to update us on their work. We hold our AGM in December and usually invite someone from NWT HQ in Norwich to talk to us on that occasion.

Our winter indoor meetings are held at Ingham Village Hall from 7.45pm onwards and the talks are followed by coffee and biscuits, giving members in this small and friendly group a chance to chat to each other. A small charge is made for these indoor meetings, but the cost includes refreshments. A monthly raffle raises further funds for the NWT to use on local reserves.

Every summer we hold an open garden and plant sale, as well as a wine and cheese evening to raise funds for Norfolk Wildlife Trust. We also arrange an annual moth evening and a number of guided walks for birds, butterflies, dragonflies and other wildlife, each of which are led by local experts and open to all.

The group produces its own local newsletter, The Broadland Browser, distributed twice a year in April and October to those attending our indoor meetings. The Broadland Browser lists our forthcoming events, has reports on previous outings and talks, publicises local conservation issues and gives highlights of unusual bird sightings in the local area over the previous six months.

NWT Broadland Group runs its very own team of conservation volunteers who meet monthly on a Sunday throughout the winter. They work on NWT reserves and occasionally County Wildlife Sites to open up and restore areas of fen, reedbed and open water, by clearing scrub and having bonfires. A very welcome source of warmth in the darker months!

During the 2012/2013 winter period, there will be conservation work days at NWT Upton Broad & Marshes, Catfield Fen, NWT Barton Broad, NWT Alderfen and the Ebb & Flow Marshes. Tools and training are provided on site and new volunteers are always welcome. If you think you might be interested in getting some fresh air and exercise, whilst at the same time helping Norfolk’s wildlife, please contact the group for further details.