Discover Norfolk’s wildlife-rich waterways and wild beaches with our favourite hikes in the national park
A brief History of the Broads
A unique patchwork of rivers and lakes, the Broads is not – as was once thought – a natural landscape, but a result of intensive peat digging in the Middle Ages to provide fuel. The empty pits flooded, forming lakes known locally as broads.
When combined with the area’s natural rivers, they make up a network of more than 125 miles of navigable waterways, nowadays mainly used for recreation. Renowned for its biodiversity, the Norfolk Broads are home to more than a quarter of Britain’s rare species, from birds and butterflies to mammals and fish.
Best hikes in the Broads
Horsey Windpump ©Getty
Enjoy a moderate circular walk around the village of Horsey in the Norfolk Broads National Park, discovering marshland, wild coast and grey seals.
Halvergate and Berney Marshes, Norfolk
The marshes are home to wigeon, shelducks and Bewick’s swans in winter ©Getty
Explore the Norfolk Broads National Park, a watery world of marsh and river that sparkles beneath wide-open skies.
Acle Bridge, Norfolk
An eager eye may spot otters in the Bure ©Getty
This easy 2.8-mile walk winds through classic Broads countryside, returning along the Bude River to Acle Bridge. Route and map via Herbert Woods Broads holiday adventures.
Hickling Broad, Norfolk
Mist sits over Hickling Broad ©Getty
Explore the reedbeds and watery banks of Hickling Broad with a five-mile loop walk around Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s Hickling Nature Reserve. Route and map via Herbert Woods Broads holiday adventures.