The Norfolk Broads, consisting of 200 square miles of navigable waterways, is an area of outstanding natural beauty and is a popular destination for travellers seeking a touch of relaxation to while away the hours. But the Broads are also home to a wide variety of wildlife which flourishes in the unique ecosystems of the ponds and rivers which make up the area. A stay on the Broads is more than just a leisure trip but a valuable educational experience and therefore an ideal destination for families with children or anyone with a keen interest in wildlife.
For birdwatchers the Norfolk Broads are home to a rich variety of bird species both common and rare; everyday species including mute swans, Canadian geese, shelduck, mallards and shovelers can all be seen on the waters. In terms of rarer species marsh harriers, bittern and hen harriers live in abundance in the Broads and this has helped to reverse the previous trend of these species declining in numbers.
The Broads provide sanctuary for a wide range of small mammals which visitors to the region may witness during their stay. From water voles to harvest mice, Chinese deer to hares, the waterways and the surrounding fens are teeming with life. Otters have steadily grown in numbers in recent years while for a view of seals visitors should head for the beaches and sand dunes of Horsey and Winterton. Colonies of Pipistrelle bats have established themselves throughout the Broads and can be observed as soon as twenty minutes after sunset, giving visitors an unblemished view of Britain’s commonest bats away from the glare and noise of urban living.
The Broads are home to many types of aquatic animals. Perch and pike are the most common fish to be found in the waters as well as smooth newts and common frogs. Eels, which once flourished in the Broads, are sadly now less common but autumn evenings host eel sett events at which you can learn more about these slippery creatures.
Of course the wildlife in the Norfolk Broads is not limited to animals for over 250 plant species thrive in the fens including the rare fen orchid. White water lilies, marsh marigolds, Guelder roses and southern marsh orchids add a splash of colour to the landscape.
Renowned for its abundant wildlife, the Norfolk Broads offer you a window into an often unseen world of living organisms unmatched in the UK and beyond. An educational relaxing experience for the whole family awaits and you will be delighted by your discoveries as you explore the natural environment of the region.
Colin McDonald writes on behlaf of Waveney River Centre – The perfect base for Norfolk Holidays