Photo by Jimmy King 1/7
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Hickling Broad, photo by Richard Osbourne 3/7
Hickling tree tower, photo by Jimmy King 4/7
Staff and visitor at Hickling, photo by Jimmy King 5/7
Hickling visitor centre and Senior VC Coordinator, Rachel 6/7
A boat trip at Hickling, photo by Jimmy King. 7/7

Hickling Broad and Marshes

The largest of the Broads, NWT Hickling Broad is a year-round haven for wildlife.

It is easy to spend a day walking around Hickling's trails or, in summer, gently while away a couple of hours taking in the Broad’s hidden corners on one of NWT's summer wildlife watertrail boat tours.

Hickling Broad 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 local specialities – the swallowtail butterfly and the Norfolk hawker dragonfly – though many equally rare, albeit lesser-known, invertebrates also occur, such as the fen mason wasp. Plants are well-represented, with the important milk parsley - the larval food plant of the swallowtail.
 

Book a boat trip at Hickling Broad.





Marsh harrier
As well as nesting, the marsh harrier now over-winters in the county in sizeable numbers, with the largest gatherings found roosting on the edge of the site, viewable from a special raised viewing bank at Stubb Mill. Over 100 were recorded together in one sighting in December 2006.

Swallowtail
Between late May and early July adult swallowtails emerge to provide  one of Norfolk’s wildlife spectacles. Their yellow and black wings have a span of around 9cm, making them easily the largest native British butterfly. In good years a second brood occurs in late August to mid-September.

Common crane
When three common cranes appeared on the northeast Norfolk coast in 1979, few would have believed that, just two years later, the species would go on to nest for the first time in centuries. Undoubtedly the best place to see them is the Stubb Mill viewing platform in the winter. A number of cranes usually fly into the reeds here around dusk each evening to roost. Standing 1.2m (4ft) tall, these impressive birds give a haunting, bugle-like call as they drop in.

Access
From Hickling village follow the signs to the nature reserve. There is a large car park (grid ref TG 428 221), visitor centre and toilets. There is disabled car parking provision and a rough surface leading to the centre where there is a disabled toilet, hearing loop and a wheelchair available. From the visitor centre there are a number of accessible trails, both compacted hoggin or boardwalk which give easy access to two hides as part of a circular route.  
Additionally, Whiteslea track is a raised compacted granite track providing views over the marshes. Please note that there is a requirement to open and close gates while following some of the paths around the reserve.

Also note that the track to the Stubb Mill raptor viewpoint can be wet, uneven and muddy. Stout footwear is advised.
 

Cyclists:
We welcome cyclists to journey to the reserve where there is provision to leave cycles, but cycles cannot be taken on to any parts of the reserve.

Spring
Birds - Hobby, bittern, marsh harrier, pochard, water rail, Cetti’s warbler, crane
Plants - Yellow flag iris

Summer
Birds - Hobby, bittern, marsh harrier, pochard, water rail, Cetti’s warbler, bearded tit, crane
Mammals - Daubenton’s bat
Plants - Yellow flag iris, southern marsh orchid, milk parsley
Insects - Swallowtail butterfly, Norfolk hawker dragonfly

Autumn
Birds - Cranes, shoveler, teal, goldeneye, bittern, marsh harrier, whooper swan, water rail, Cetti’s warbler

Winter
Birds - Cranes, shoveler, teal, goldeneye, bittern, marsh harrier, pochard, water rail, bearded tit
 
  Stubb Road Raptor Roost - Disabled Parking
Unfortunately no parking or turning is currently possible in Stubb Road due to the road being blocked for repair. We are sorry for any inconvenience and will reinstate access to the road for blue badge holders as soon as possible.

Download the Hickling information leaflet:
   Download the Hickling information leaflet: Download   

Details

Address

Post code
NR12 0BW
Map reference
OS Landranger 134
Grid reference
TG 428 222
Designation
NNR, SSSI, Ramsar, SPA, SAC
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Directions
Living Landscape
Best time to visit
Opening times
Dog policy
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Type
Visitor centre
Entrance fee

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