RSPB Sutton Fen nature reserve, Norfolk

The Broads

The Broads

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.


PDF, 1.35Mb. Date: 5 September 2014

Futurescapes - The Broads

Explore the area

Find out what’s going on near this Futurescape, including places to visit, news and local events, plus how you can work or volunteer for us.

Minsmere RSPB Reserve, view across Minsmere from Dunwich,

Nearby reserves

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:

Berney Marshes and Breydon Water

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

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.

Rockland Marshes

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. 

Strumpshaw Fen

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.

Surlingham Church Marsh

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

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.

Strumpshaw Fen RSPB reserve, wide angle scenic of reedbed
Strumpshaw Fen
RSPB Sutton Fen nature reserve, Norfolk
Sutton Fen
 Cantley Marsh RSPB Reserve
Buckenham Marshes
Berney Marshes RSPB Reserve, view of marshes in frost with Berney Arms Mill in the distance
Berney Marshes

Our Partners

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