and distinctive swallowtail butterfly.
is one of Britain’s finest butterflies. Its large and distinctive
wing shape and beautiful markings make it eyecatching.
were once found in wetlands across the UK but their numbers declined
sharply in the 1920s. Nowadays careful management of the habitats
in which they thrive is enabling a slow reversal of their fortunes.
TO SEE SWALLOWTAILS
Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s nature reserve at Hickling Broad
is the UK’s foremost haven for swallowtails.
is 4 miles south east of Stalham, off the A149 Norwich to
Great Yarmouth road.
can enjoy a boardwalk trail through reedbeds to open water.
Hickling Broad is open all year round.
costs £2 for adults and is free for children.
are currently found on the Norfolk Broads, at one privately-owned
site in Suffolk and at Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire.
distribution is wholly dictated by the availability of milk parsley,
its caterpillar food source.
When the Norfolk
Broads were actively managed by reedcutters who harvested both
reed and sedge for thatching, areas were left clear enabling milk
parsley, and consequently swallowtail butterflies, to flourish.
War One demand for thatch declined sharply as other roofing materials
became more popular. By the 1980s many of the Broadland reed and
sedgebeds had become overgrown and neglected.
had been all but choked out, depriving swallowtail caterpillars
of their lunch. Conservationists now recognise the necessity of
regular reed and sedge cutting to nurture swallowtails and other
places on the Norfolk Broads, principally Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s
nature reserve at Hickling Broad, regular cutting is providing
more open areas where swallowtails can flourish.