Discover the Norfolk Broads
A guide to 12 great days out in the unique environment of the Norfolk Broads compiled by people who live there

Discover the Norfolk Broads - A guide to 12 great days out in the unique environment of the Norfolk Broads compiled by people who live there

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Day Four: Guided boat trip / Wildlife watching - Hickling Broad & Sutton

Traditional industries played a large part in the history and development of the Norfolk Broads, and this day is designed to help you discover something of the impact these activities have had on the landscape, people and wildlife over the centuries. Our suggestions will take you to Hickling Broad, the largest peat working in the Norfolk Broads, owned and managed by the Norfolk Wildlife Trust, for a not-to-be-missed guided tour of the Broad, its history and wildlife; lunch at a traditional pub; followed by an afternoon stroll (around 4 miles) along the Weavers Way, now a long distance footpath, but in ages past a route for weavers and their products stretching from Cromer to the markets and port at Great Yarmouth, to a modern expression of this craft tradition at a local pottery.

Start: Norfolk Wildlife Trust visitor centre in Hickling
Ordnance Survey Explorer map OL40; grid reference TG428222
SatNav postcode NR12 0BW

Cost Guide: ££££

Our recommended itinerary is as follows:

•   Drive to the Norfolk Wildlife Trust visitor centre in Hickling, located on Stubb Lane and signposted from Hickling village

 
•   Take plenty of time to explore the reserve using the marked trails and boardwalks extending along the edge of Hickling Broad, the largest expanse of water in the Broads National Park

•   A wide variety of insect and bird life inhabit the reserve, including marsh harriers, the rare swallowtail butterfly and even rarer bittern. If you visit in late spring, listen out for its booming cry carrying over the reeds

•   Not to be missed however, and by far the best way to explore the reserve, is the guided boat trip run by the Trust. Leaving several times during the day, and lasting for around 2 hours, this trip is in our opinion the best guided boat trip available in the Norfolk Broads. However, you will need to book in advance by telephoning the Trust on 01692 598276

•   The trip is undertaken on a traditional electrically powered reed lighter, and provides a varied and comprehensive exploration of the Broad, its history, wildlife, hidden areas and conservation – just wonderful!

•   After your trip, stop for lunch at the Greyhound Inn located in the village centre (turn right at the end of Stubb Lane). The pub offers a wide selection of good food and real ales, and if the weather permits don’t miss their award-winning pub garden

•   After lunch, leaving your car in the village, why not walk off those pounds with a gentle stroll along the Weavers Way, using the quiet lanes around the village. Turn right outside the pub, and take the first left, and you will pass Sutton Mill, the tallest windmill in England, although it is now closed to visitors. Once past the Mill, turn left at the crossroads and this lane will bring you to Sutton Pottery, a small but busy studio, run by Malcolm Flatman

 

•   Malcolm specialises in beautiful, functional home ware, together with some decorative pieces and is happy to welcome visitors Monday to Friday. Should you wish to place an order, he can even send your pots by post!

•   On leaving the pottery, turn left, following this lane back to Hickling village and your car

Useful Norfolk Broads Contacts

Below you will find suggestions for accommodation, activities, attractions, food & drink and shopping.  All useful contacts while visiting the Norfolk Broads.

Accommodation

Activities

Attractions

Food and Drink

Shopping


Norfolk Cottage Holidays

Quality Holiday Cottages. Family business offering owner-managed cottages for holidays all year. Dogs and Children welcome.


Herbert Woods

Located in the village of Potter Heigham, the gateway to the Upper River Thurne, Herbert Woods is the ideal place to begin your Norfolk Broads adventure. We specialise in Boating & Cottage Holidays and Dayboat & Canoe Hire.


BeWILDerwood

A huge forest of wild family fun and adventure. Treehouses, zip wires, jungle bridges, Crocklebogs, boat trips, marsh walks and really yummy food.


Norfolk Mead Hotel, The

Built in 1740, the Norfolk Mead, formally a merchants house, is set in 8 tranquil riverside acres on the river Bure. Just 7 miles from the city of Norwich and 10 miles from the coast. An ideal location for a weekend or longer break.


Sutton Pottery

Small studio workshop in rural East Norfolk, established by Malcolm Flatman in 1977 in the Broadland village of Sutton, near Stalham. He uses the Potters Wheel and the fire of a gas kiln to create a large range of reduction stoneware entirely by hand.

 
Day One Day boat trip Wroxham to Coltishall – £££££
Day Two Walk / Wildlife watching Ranworth & Fairhaven Gardens – ££££
Day Three Walk / Seal watching Horsey Mere and Beach – £/££ - YF
Day Four Guided boat trip / Wildlife watching Hickling Broad & Sutton - ££££
Day Five Canoe trip Wayford Bridge to Neatishead, via Barton Broad – £££ - YF
Day Six Cycle ride and Picnic Clippesby to How Hill – £/£££ - YF
Day Seven Day boat trip Ludham Bridge to Neatishead via How Hill – £££££
Day Eight Walk / Wildlife watching Salhouse & Cockshoot Broads – ££
Day Nine Canoe trip Martham to Horsey – £££
Day Ten Learn to Sail from Hunter’s Yard at Ludham - £££££
Day Eleven Walk / Boat trip Barton & Alderfen Broads – £/££ - YF
Day Twelve Cycle ride Discover the Norfolk Broads in a Day - £/££
YF - Young Family option available

A cost guide is included for each day out, ranging from lower cost (£: free or up to £15) to higher cost (£££££: £80 up to £100). These costs are based on a family of 4
undertaking all the activities suggested and are accurate as at the date of publication.

"Norfolk Wildlife Trust was formed in 1926, the first naturalist's trust in Britain"

Wildlife Fact File
THE BITTERN
Botaurus stellaris

Now one of the rarest birds in Britain, it requires seclusion and a habitat of reedbeds in order to breed. Hickling is one of the few locations managed in a way as to encourage these elusive birds.

TOP TIPS
1. Choose a warm, dry day if possible with not too much wind
2. Remember to take a hat, sunscreen and warm clothing as the boat trip can be breezy, even on a sunny day
3. The boardwalk trails at the Wildlife Trust are suitable for disabled access
4. The boat trip from the Wildlife Trust runs from mid-May to mid-September, Sunday to Thursday, and it is essential to book in advance by telephoning the visitor centre on 01692 598276. There is a charge for entry to the reserve and for the boat trip and the reserve is open from 10am to 5pm. For more information, visit their website www.norfolkwild
lifetrust.org.uk
5. It is also advisable to ring Sutton Pottery on 01692 580595 in advance to check opening times or visit www.suttonpottery.com
6. There are toilets located at the Wildlife Trust visitor centre, and for customers at the Greyhound Inn
7. There is free customer parking at the Wildlife Trust, the Greyhound Inn and at Sutton Pottery

Click here to read The Three Broadsketeers blog

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Accommodation Activities Attractions Food and Drink Shopping What's On
and Events
Where are the
Norfolk Broads?
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Discover the Norfolk Broads - A guide to 12 great days out in the unique environment of the Norfolk Broads compiled by people who live there