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|Location||The Broads, Norfolk|
|Basin countries||United Kingdom|
|Surface area||5.9 km2 (2.3 sq mi)|
It is a national nature reserve established by English Nature and in the care of the Norfolk Wildlife Trust, who run boat trips around the reserve for visitors. It is also part of the Upper Thurne Broads and Marshes Site of Special Scientific Interest. In the 1990s, over £650,000 was spent on restoring the reserve, and invasive plants are kept under control by grazing hardy breeds of cattle, sheep and ponies from Eastern Europe. Water levels are managed, and the reed and sedge beds are regularly mown to encourage wildlife.
It is the broad with the largest surface area, and the water is slightly brackish, due to its proximity to the sea. The navigation channel is only 1.5 m deep, with much of the broad being shallower; it is 1.4 km², making it one of the largest expanses of open water in East Anglia.
It has the largest reed-bed in England and supports rare waterweeds such as the holly-leaved naiad and three rare species of stonewort. Amongst the rare insects is the swallowtail butterfly which feeds on milk-parsley (Peucedanum palustre), the Norfolk hawker Aeshna isosceles and Emperor dragonfly. Birds that visit the reserve during the winter include cranes, goldeneyes, shovelers and teals, while bitterns, marsh harriers, pochards, water rails and Cetti's warblers stay for most of the year. There is a waymarked walk around the broad.
Pioneering photographer Emma Turner, lived at Hickling and photographed birds there in the early 20th century.