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.
But you don’t need a boat to discover Norfolk’s wildlife-rich waterways and wild beaches. Our guide explores some of the best walks in the Norfolk Broads, each with its own walking map and directions.
Best walks in the Broads
Horsey’s pale sands and huge skies are evocative at any time of year.
This 5.4-mile loop walk around the village of Horsey in the north-east of the Norfolk Broads National Park, runs alongside the North Sea and then inland through wildlife-rich marshland, before returning to the village pub.
- 8.7km/5.4 miles
- 3 hours
Halvergate and Berney Marshes, Norfolk
This route takes you through rustling reed-bordered marsh tracks and along the flood banks of Breydon Water where wigeon, shelducks and Bewick’s swans winter.
Explore this a watery world of marsh and river that sparkles beneath wide-open skies with a 7.5-mile circular walk through Halvergate and Berney Marshes.
- 12km/7.5 miles
- 4 hours
Acle Bridge, Norfolk
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
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.