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IPA Factsheet - The Broads
Site code
CountryUnited Kingdom
Administrative regionEast of England (East Norfolk)
Central co-ordinates52o 44' N / 1o 30' E map
Altitude0 - 25

 Site Description The Broads are a man-made landscape of flooded peat diggings that date from between AD 900 to 1350. The IPA consists of a vast network of wetland areas, wet woodland, wet grassland, broads, rivers, fens and marshes that extend over East Norfolk and part of North-East Suffolk. Both fresh and brackish waters support a diverse range of plants.

 Botanical Significance Area noted for Habitats, Lichens, Stoneworts interest. This area is of particular importance as it is thought to be the last location in England for Fen orchid Liparis loeselii and Crested buckler-fern Dryopteris cristata. The Broads are also recognised as an important area for stoneworts, especially within the Thurne system. Liparis loeselii is perhaps the most significant vascular plant species of the Broads which now support the last English populations of this species. The plant is reliant on the continued maintenance of species-rich fens which have a groundwater supply buffered against run-off from agricultural land and the associated field applications. These fens support other species of note such as Pyrola rotundifolia and Dryopteris cristata and mosses such as Cinclidium stygium and Camptothecium nitens. Good water quality in some of the Broads, associated with unusual estuarine chemistry, allows species such as Najas marina and Potamogeton compressus to grow as well as a suite of rare and threatened stoneworts including C. baltica, C. connivens, C. curta, C. globularis, C. intermedia, C. rudis, Nitella mucronata, Nitellopsis obtusa, T. intricata and T. prolifera. The IPAincludes 5 Important Stonewort Areas,themost significant being the upper part of the Thurne system. Fen pools and ditches, and also parts of the very extensive grazing marsh ditch network, support species-rich stands of aquatic vegetation including Potamogeton coloratus, Utricularia minor, Potamogeton acutifolius, Luronium natans, Myriophyllum verticillatum, Sium latifolium, Potamogeton trichoides, Stratiotes aloides and more common stonewort species. The extensive saltmarshes and estuarine vegetation around the tidal area of Breydon Water is notable for the presence of Alopecurus bulbosus The IPA includes Winterton-Horsey Dunes which support specialist dune vegetation normally associated with the Baltic shores and species of note such as Corynephorus canescens, Festuca juncifolia, Pyrola rotundifolia and Ammocalamagrostis baltica.

 General Habitat Description

Land use

Land use% CoverLevel
nature conservation and researchMajor
water managementMajor
agriculture (mixed)Major

Threatened Species

Species NameIPA Assess.Species Assess.AbundanceData qualityCriteria
Liparis loeselii (L.) Rich.20072007unknownunknownA(ii)

Botanical Richness

EUNIS level 2 code & nameIPA Assess.Habitat Assess.% of indicator speciesNo. SpeciesNational BiotopeData qualityCriteria
C1 Surface standing waters2007200700unknownB
D4 Base-rich fens2007200700unknownB

Threatened Habitats

IPA Habitat code & nameIPA Assess.Habitat Assess.AreaData qualityCriteria
7210* Calcareous fens with Cladium mariscus and species of the Caricion davallianae*200720070unknownCi
7230 Alkaline fens200720070unknownCii
3140 Hard oligo-mesotrophic waters with benthic vegetation of Chara spp.200720070unknownCii
3150 Natural eutrophic lakes with Magnopotamion or Hydrocharition-type vegetation200720070unknownCii
91E0* Alluvial forests with Alnus glutinosa and Fraxinus excelsior (Alno-Padion, Alnion incanae, Salicion albae)*200720070unknownCi
7140 Transition mires and quaking bogs200720070unknownCii


DesignationProtected Area NameRelationship with IPAOverlap with IPA
Site of Special Scientific InterestAlderfen Broadprotected area overlaps with IPA22
Site of Special Scientific InterestAnt Broads and Marshesprotected area overlaps with IPA738
National Nature ReserveAnt Broads & Marshesprotected area contained by IPA180
Site of Special Scientific InterestBarnby Broad and Marshesprotected area overlaps with IPA190
Special Protection AreaBreydon Waterunknown0
Ramsar Wetland SiteBreydon Waterprotected area is adjacent to IPA0
ReserveBreydon Waterunknown0
Site of Special Scientific InterestBroad Fen (Dilham)protected area overlaps with IPA38
Ramsar Wetland SiteBroadlandprotected area contained by IPA5485
Special Protection AreaBroadlandunknown0
Site of Special Scientific InterestBure Broads and Marshesprotected area overlaps with IPA729
National Nature ReserveBure Marshesprotected area overlaps with IPA446
Site of Special Scientific InterestBurgh Common and Muck Fleet Marshesprotected area overlaps with IPA119
Site of Special Scientific InterestCalthorpe Broadprotected area overlaps with IPA44
National Nature ReserveCalthorpe Broadprotected area contained by IPA44
Site of Special Scientific InterestCantley Marshesprotected area overlaps with IPA266
Site of Special Scientific InterestCrostwick Marshprotected area overlaps with IPA11
Site of Special Scientific InterestDamgate Marshesprotected area overlaps with IPA63
Site of Special Scientific InterestDecoy Carr, Acleprotected area overlaps with IPA55
Site of Special Scientific InterestEast Ruston Commonprotected area overlaps with IPA39
Site of Special Scientific InterestGeldeston Meadowsprotected area overlaps with IPA13
Special Protection AreaGreat Yarmouth North Denesunknown0
Site of Special Scientific InterestHall Farm Fen, Hemsbyprotected area overlaps with IPA9
Site of Special Scientific InterestHalvergate Marshesprotected area overlaps with IPA732
Site of Special Scientific InterestHardley Floodprotected area overlaps with IPA50
National Nature ReserveHickling Broadprotected area contained by IPA487
National Nature ReserveHow Hillprotected area contained by IPA129
Site of Special Scientific InterestLimpenhoe Meadowsprotected area overlaps with IPA12
Site of Special Scientific InterestLudham - Potter Heigham Marshesprotected area overlaps with IPA102
National Nature ReserveMartham Broadunknown63
National Nature ReserveMid Yareprotected area contained by IPA784
Site of Special Scientific InterestPriory Meadows (Hickling)protected area overlaps with IPA23
Site of Special Scientific InterestShallam Dyke Marshes (Thurne)protected area overlaps with IPA70
Site of Special Scientific InterestSmallburgh Fenprotected area overlaps with IPA7
Site of Special Scientific InterestSprat's Water and Marshes, Carlton Colvilleprotected area overlaps with IPA57
Site of Special Scientific InterestStanley and Alder Carrsprotected area overlaps with IPA44
Special Area of ConservationThe Broadsprotected area overlaps with IPA5864
Site of Special Scientific InterestTrinity Broadsprotected area overlaps with IPA307
Site of Special Scientific InterestUpper Thurne Broads & Marshesprotected area overlaps with IPA1176
Site of Special Scientific InterestUpton Broad and Marshesprotected area overlaps with IPA193
Site of Special Scientific InterestYare Broads and Marshesprotected area overlaps with IPA740
UnknownNorfolk Broads:Ant System-Important Stonewort Areaunknown0
UnknownBure System - Important Stonewort Areaunknown0
UnknownThurne System - Important Stonewort Areaunknown0
UnknownMuck Fleet & Bure - Important Stonewort Areaunknown0
UnknownYare System - Important Stonewort Areaunknown0


TypeDescriptionYear startedYear finishes
Protected Area Management Plan
Species Management PlanLiparis loeselii
Species Action Plan (SAP)Liparis loeselii


agricultural intensification/expansion (general)medium
development (recreation/tourism)medium
water (extraction/drainage/canalisation/managementmedium
abandonment/reduction of land managementlow
climate change/ sea level risemedium
agricultural intensification/expansion (arable)low

 Conservation Issues Sustainability of traditional fen and grazing marsh management. Balancing the interests of different taxonomic groups and specialist guilds of species. Managing increased risk of flooding from the sea associated with global sea-level rise and mitigating for the loss of key habitats as a consequence.

Contact Information

ContactContact Type
Tim PankhurstSite report compiler