Special qualities in the Broads

Skip to section navigation

10 reasons why the Broads is a special place...

A watery wonderland, the Broads is Britain's largest lowland wetland and third largest inland navigation area...

  • It is a member of the national park family of specially-protected areas around the world - as are all in our family of 15 UK National Parks.
  • The Broads is Britain's largest, lowland wetland.
  • The broads (shallow lakes) were dug out in medieval times - the peat which was dug out was used for fuel. In the 14th century the peat diggings flooded, forming the broads. It was later assumed that the broads had been formed by natural processes - their true origins were not rediscovered until 1952.  
  • Now 25 percent of the Broads has an international designation for its biodiversity. There are nine national nature reserves and 28 sites of special scientific interest.
  • A quarter of Britain’s rarest species are found in the Broads.
  • In Britain, the swallowtail, Britain’s largest butterfly, and the Norfolk hawker dragonfly are found only in the Broads.
  • The Broads is Britain's third largest inland navigation area.
  • In addition to its first two purposes (which are the same as those of other national park authorities), the Broads Authority has a third purpose: protecting the interests of navigation.
  • Pleasure boating has been part of the way of life in the Broads since the early 19th century.
  • The Broads is one of Europe’s most popular inland waterways, with 7 million visitors a year on land and water.

Keeping it special - the role of the Broads Authority