How Hill Nature Reserve

An Introduction to How Hill

River Ant at How Hill

How Hill National Nature Reserve is a microcosm of the Broadland world, with nature trails taking the visitor through sedge beds, marsh meadow and carr woodland, both on land and water. The reserve supports a wide range of birds, insects and animal species including the swallowtail butterfly. There are also the gardens at How Hill House, Toad Hole Cottage Museum and windmills to discover all just a short walk from the staithe.

How Hill Staithe

How Hill Staithe on the River Ant

How Hill Staithe has plentiful moorings some overlooking Turf Fen Windpump. From here it is a leisurely stroll up to How Hill gardens, which provide excellent views over the windpump and beyond. Or if you fancy a longer walk then why join the Wildlife Walking Trail through How Hill National Nature. Tickets for the trail are £1.50, smart phone users can download an app, which provides additional information on their screens based on their location along the trail.

Toad Hole Cottage

Toad Hole Cottage at How Hill

A small marshman’s cottage Toad Hole situated adjacent to the staithe gives the visitor an idea of Victorian life on the Broads. This small cottage would have been home to the marshman and his family. Displays depict how they lived and the tools used while working on the marshes. Eric Edward’s was the marshman at How Hill until he sadly passed away on the 24th May 2012. He would often be working in the reed beds or giving demonstrations at the staithe and even made an appearance on The Generation Game.

Toad Hole Cottage Interior

Interior of Toad Hole Cottage at How Hill

Furnished in an authentic 1880 style the two-up, two-down cottage restored in the late 1980’s is open from the beginning of April until the end of October. In front of the black range is a traditional rag rug, on the mantel hangs a ruby red tasseled mantel lambrequin. The simple pine furniture with the marshman’s waistcoat hanging over the chair and clothes airing over the range complete the Victorian setting.

A Marshmans Tools of the Trade

Marshmans Tools at Toad Hole Cottage, How Hill

Just some of the tools used by Broads marshmen on display in Toad Hole cottage at How Hill. The tools on display here include a Norfolk Scythe, Peat Cutter, Hay Rake, Twitch Rake, Rabbiting Spade and Hodder.

The Electric Eel

The Electric Eel Trip Boat Exploring the Marshes

An environmentally friendly Edwardian style electric boat, the Electric Eel, takes up to 8 people on a 50-minute journey along clear dykes through the reeds and fens of the How Hill estate. The boat leaves from the staithe, on board the experienced guide relates to you the story of the Broads and how marshmen worked in days gone by.

Boardman’s and Clayrack Drainage Mills

Boardmans and Clayrack Drainage Mill at How Hill

A little way from the staithe at How Hill is Boardman’s Drainage Mill, an open framed timber trestle mill with miniature cap, sails fantail and turbine. A little further upstream is Clayrack Drainage Mill, a hollow post mill with a full set of sails that drive a scoop wheel, it was originally sited on Ranworth Marshes.

Turf Fen Windpump

Turf Fen Windpump on the River Ant at How Hill

Turf Fen Windpump built by William Rust a Yarmouth millwright in 1875 and used to drain Horning Marshes is 31 ft high with four double shuttered sails, a six bladed fantail and a double scoop wheel. Responsibility for the mill passed to the Norfolk Windmills Trust in 1976 who took on a major restoration project, which finished in 1986.

How Hill House

How Hill House

How Hill House, is the home of the How Hill Trust, it is grade 2 listed and is a full time study centre. The trust offers a range of courses for schools covering the environment of the Norfolk Broads. At weekends and during school holiday’s adult visitors can enrol in natural history, social history and art courses.

How Hill Gardens

Red Hot Poker in the Garden at How Hill House

There are two separate gardens at How Hill, near the house are the formal Edwardian gardens with their famous Yew Hedges and extensive views over the marshes. Hidden away in the woods are the unique water gardens, dominated in late spring by Azaleas and Rhododendrons.

The latest visitor information can be found on the How Hill Trust website.