Hickling is a wetland wonderland in winter. It's a
brilliant environment for birds, and also boasts rare wild horses. The largest
of the Norfolk Broads, it forms part of a bigger complex of 116 square miles of
broad daylight - get a bird's eye view over the broad|
thousand two hundred years ago, much of the area around Hickling was woodland.
man made wetland was created by Danes when they settled in this part of Norfolk
- they used the area's trees for fuel and also started digging for peat.
400 years of peat digging, the water levels rose, and flooded the pits which filled
with water resulting in the Broads.
Broad is the best place to find a remarkable bird - the Common Crane.
entire UK breeding population of this graceful bird can be seen in this wetland
The exact location is being kept secret to protect the birds but visitors
can watch the birds a short distance away, assisted by binoculars or a telescope.
The Cranes roost out on the marshes, so the best way of seeing them is
from the Norfolk Wildlife Trust elevated watchpoint at Stubb Mill.
of Cranes have grown over the last two decades as a result of conservation work.
was just one pair of the birds in 1982 when the first chicks were raised since
the 16th Century.
Today there are now about 30 Cranes, and it is hoped that
their numbers will continue to grow.
National Nature Reserve has a great circular walk with hides, and an observation
hut with wonderful views of a wide variety of wildlife from Barn Owls to Marsh
The ideal combination of reed beds and relative solitude means
that this is one of the best places in the country to see the Marsh Harriers.
birds were persecuted to near extinction - in 1971 there was only one pair was
breeding in UK.
Today they are flourishing again and the best time to
see them is hovering over the reed beds in the early morning or dusk looking for
small birds and mammals to feed on.
Another way of seeing the reserve's
wildlife is to get out on the water where you can get really close to the wildlife,
especially bird life such as Coots and Moorhens.
on the reserve in Carr Woodland look out for the famous wild ponies or Koniks.
Konik is one of the closest relatives to the primal ponies that once roamed across
These tough ponies have been introduced from Poland.
are wetland specialists with a hardy, robust and placid character.
are self-reliant, with a quiet temperament, and are characterised by a large head,
broad body and strong legs.
The ponies are proving to be a great boost
for the ecology of the area.
Koniks love to graze on weeds, reeds and grass,
so helping to stimulate wildlife diversity in their fenland habitat.
that these ponies are wild and can be curious and unpredictable, and they are
best seen from a distance with binoculars.