SwallowtailThe Broads under a Microscope

Comprising a number of navigable waterways and lakes, which are known locally as broads, the Broads National Park in Norfolk is Britain’s largest wetland and is home to more than a quarter of the UK’s rare plants and animals. The chances are you’ll visit the Broads during your next self-catering stay in Norfolk, but do you know what you’re going to be exploring? With over 300 square kilometres waiting for you, here’s our quick guide…

Getting to know the Broads

The Broads National Park straddles the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk and is made up of seven rivers, as well as lakes (broads) that were formed when medieval peat excavations flooded – they’re not natural occurrences, as some believe. The rivers you may navigate during your next trip are the Yare, Bure, Thurne, Ant, Waveney, Chet, and Wensum, each with their own fantastic features and landscapes. As for the individual broads, read on…

Hickling Broad is the largest expanse of open water in the Broads network, and has numerous trails and paths that can be walked and explored. There are so many species for you to discover, including several types of waterfowl, the swallowtail butterfly, and the Norfolk hawker dragonfly.

Barton Broad is the second largest broad, and is home to Desmoulin’s Whorl Snail, which is a nationally endangered species. The broad has seen a mass restoration project in recent years and now hosts an annual regatta, has numerous boating opportunities and a wide variety of wildlife.

Hoveton Great Broad can only be accessed by boat due to its secluded woodland location. Offering wildlife spotting and numerous footpaths, Hoveton Great Broad became the site of the region’s first nature trail in 1968.

Breydon Water is regarded as the gateway to the Broads, and can be found just outside the precincts of Great Yarmouth. Located nearby are some Roman ruins at Burgh Castle, and the nature reserve is a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

The Broads are managed and maintained by The Broads Authority.

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