The Broads is the largest lowland wetland in the UK, covering 304 square kilometers.
This magical waterland is a unique mix of habitats including intertidal estuary, reed-fringed shallow lakes, fen, wet woodland and grazing marshes. These support a spectacular array of wildlife such as kingfishers, bitterns, cranes, breeding lapwings, redshanks and snipe. During the winter Breydon Water is home to between 80,000 and 120,000 waterbirds.
The fen habitat is of special importance as it is home to the UK’s largest butterfly – the swallowtail. Norfolk hawker dragonflies, otters, water voles and a vast array of other wildlife also call The Broads their home.
Traditional land management practices such as reed and sedge harvesting, which are still carried out today, have helped create the landscape loved by residents and visitors alike.
We are working with local landowners, farmers, local people, tourism providers and organisations to benefit the Broads for wildlife, business and recreation.
Reserves and other protected areas are a key part of Futurescapes. They provide core areas for nature to thrive and eventually repopulate the surrounding landscapes. The key RSPB reserves within this Futurescape are:
The tens of thousands of wintering ducks, geese and swans which visit the estuary and surrounding grazing marshes certainly create a spectacle. In spring, the marshes are filled with the atmospheric calls of lapwings and redshanks, all breeding on one of the UK's largest expanses of wet grassland.
Buckenham Marshes is a traditionally managed grazing marsh with large numbers of breeding wading birds, ducks and geese in winter. The reserve also often boasts the only regular winter flock of bean geese in England (from November to February), together with white-fronted geese and up to 10,000 wigeons.
This small reserve provides views over Rockland Broad, the River Yare, reedbeds and open grazing marshes. A hide overlooks the Broad, where in spring and summer, kingfishers and great crested grebes can be seen. Along the path, you can spot wetland warblers and if you're lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of barn owls on the hunt.
Walk around the reedbeds, woodlands and orchid-rich meadows and you could chance upon marsh harriers, bitterns and kingfishers. Visit in spring and summer when the meadows bloom with flowers, and you can see an array of dragonflies and butterflies, including the spectacular swallowtail.
This small reserve provides a delightful circular walk around reedbeds, fens and pools. In spring and summer, marsh harriers, kingfishers, water rails and reed and sedge warblers can be seen. Wetland wild flowers bring the reserve out in a riot of colour.
Sutton Fen forms a continuous and extensive area of nationally rare and internationally important fen habitat. Breeding bitterns, marsh harriers, Cetti's warblers and bearded tits can be found on the site. The area is exceptionally important for its rare plant life and diversity of invertebrates.
Futurescapes is all about collaboration. There are many organisations and people involved in managing land in The Broads. Our challenge is working together to find ways of making more space for nature. To achieve this we’re working with:
Saving special places
Victory for Harapan Rainforest
Beautiful Hutan Harapan forest is a precious remnant of the rainforest that once covered much of Sumatra (Photo: RSPB-images/Steve Roland) Hutan Harapan is one of the last remaining areas of dry lowland Sumatran forest and is among the most th...(r...Posted 12/04/2019 by Heather Mitchell
Rila Mountains: The Final Piece in Bulgaria's Protected Area Network for Birds
Daniel Pullan, our International Casework Manager writes: I was thrilled last week when my Bulgarian colleague Irina Mateeva told me that the Bulgarian Government had designated the last part of the Rila Mountains as a Special Protection Area. This a...Posted 04/04/2019 by Heather Mitchell
A net gain for nature
How can built development leave the natural environment in a better shape than it was before? This is the question at the heart of Defra’s recent consultation on ‘biodiversity net gain’. We know from the State of Nature 2016 report ...(read more)Posted 01/03/2019 by Simon Marsh
What will the new NPPF mean for places, people and nature?
On Tuesday the Government published a new National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) for England. You can see our previous commentary on the draft version here , here and here . The NPPF sets out the Government’s planning policies for England...(read ...Posted 27/07/2018 by Steph