This national nature reserve managed by NWT is open all
year. The visitor centre is open 7 days a week from 10am
to 5pm April to September. The reserve is an
internationally important wetland.
This part of East Anglia is renowned for its expanses of
open grassland, marshes and water. It is also important
for its wildlife which includes national rarities such
as the marsh harrier and the swallowtail butterfly. The
runs through part of the reserve. There is a huge
expanse of broadwalk together with many viewing
platforms and hides.
The Swallowtail Trail - This is a circular surfaced path
which leads you past open reedbeds and pools. This path
is suitable for wheelchair users. Approximately 30 mins.
The Bittern Trail - 50 mins approx - A surfaced path
leading to Broad viewpoint. Access suitable for
wheelchairs. However, beyond Broad viewpoint it is an
unsurfaced path not suitable for wheelchairs. This part
of the path may be wet underfoot.
Konik ponies help keep the marshes and fens in good
condition all year round.
In June and July look out for the swallowtail
caterpillar feeding on the milk parsley. The swallowtail
is a magnificent butterfly its strong characteristic
flight can carry it over open water to new and untouched
supplies of food. The best time to see swallow is in
late spring and early summer around the sedge beds by
the broad. This is where they feed on nectar from plants
such as ragged robbin and lay their eggs on milk
This is the only plant their caterpillars eat. The
swallowtail is rare now because milk parsley has all but
disappeared from the UK. These unusual plants need wet
places to grow where there is plenty of space.
Well managed sedge in the broads are perfect. The
butterflies flourish here where it is permanently wet
and free from trees and scrub the fact that sedge is
still harvested for thatching may have saved this
butterfly from extinction in the UK.
In Winter large amounts of wildfowl visit the reserve.
In Spring listen out for the booming call of the rare
bitten, whose call can be heard over 5km. Early summer
brings the spoonbill which fly's here from Africa.