Project Description


Traditional industries played a large part in the history and development of the Norfolk Broads, and this day is designed to help you discover something of the impact these activities have had on the landscape, people and wildlife over the centuries.

Our suggestions will take you to Hickling Broad, the largest peat working in the Norfolk Broads, owned and managed by the Norfolk Wildlife Trust, for a not-to-be-missed guided tour of the Broad, its history and wildlife; lunch at a traditional pub; followed by an afternoon stroll (around 4 miles) along the Weavers Way, now a long distance footpath, but in ages past a route for weavers and their products stretching from Cromer to the markets and port at Great Yarmouth, to a modern expression of this craft tradition at a local pottery.

Start: Norfolk Wildlife Trust visitor centre in Hickling
Ordnance Survey Explorer map OL40; grid reference TG428222
SatNav postcode NR12 0BW
  • Choose a warm, dry day if possible with not too much wind.
  • Remember to take a hat, sunscreen and warm clothing as the boat trip can be breezy, even on a sunny day.
The boardwalk trails at the Wildlife Trust are suitable for disabled access.
The boat trip from the Wildlife Trust runs from mid-May to mid-September, Sunday to Thursday, and it is essential to book in advance by telephoning the visitor centre on 01692 598276. There is a charge for entry to the reserve and for the boat trip and the reserve is open from 10am to 5pm. For more information, visit their website

It is advisable to ring Sutton Pottery on 01692 580595 in advance to check opening times or visit

  • There are toilets located at the Wildlife Trust visitor centre, and for customers at the Greyhound Inn
  • There is free customer parking at the Wildlife Trust, the Greyhound Inn and at Sutton Pottery

Our recommended itinerary is as follows:

• Drive to the Norfolk Wildlife Trust visitor centre in Hickling, located on Stubb Lane and signposted from Hickling village

• Take plenty of time to explore the reserve using the marked trails and boardwalks extending along the edge of Hickling Broad, the largest expanse of water in the Broads National Park

• A wide variety of insect and bird life inhabit the reserve, including marsh harriers, the rare swallowtail butterfly and even rarer bittern. If you visit in late spring, listen out for its booming cry carrying over the reeds

• Not to be missed however, and by far the best way to explore the reserve, is the guided boat trip run by the Trust. Leaving several times during the day, and lasting for around 2 hours, this trip is in our opinion the best guided boat trip available in the Norfolk Broads. However, you will need to book in advance by telephoning the Trust on 01692 598276

• The trip is undertaken on a traditional electrically powered reed lighter, and provides a varied and comprehensive exploration of the Broad, its history, wildlife, hidden areas and conservation – just wonderful!

• After your trip, stop for lunch at the Greyhound Inn located in the village centre (turn right at the end of Stubb Lane). The pub offers a wide selection of good food and real ales, and if the weather permits don’t miss their award-winning pub garden

• After lunch, leaving your car in the village, why not walk off those pounds with a gentle stroll along the Weavers Way, using the quiet lanes around the village.

• Turn right outside the pub, and take the first left, and you will pass Sutton Mill, the tallest windmill in England, although it is now closed to visitors.

• Once past the Mill, turn left at the crossroads and this lane will bring you to Sutton Pottery, a small but busy studio, run by Malcolm Flatman. Malcolm specialises in beautiful, functional home ware, together with some decorative pieces and is happy to welcome visitors Monday to Friday. Should you wish to place an order, he can even send your pots by post!

• On leaving the pottery, turn left, following this lane back to Hickling village and your car


If you visit in late spring, listen out for its booming cry carrying over the reeds


Now one of the rarest birds in Britain, it requires seclusion and a habitat of reedbeds in order to breed. Hickling is one of the few locations managed in a way as to encourage these elusive birds.