Own 655 acres of Britain’s 'magical waterland' for just over R42m

22 September 2016

The Hickling Broad Estate - part of a world-renowned nature and conservation reserve at the northern end of the Norfolk Broads’ network in England - has come to the market at a guided price of £2.3 million.

The Broads are the UK’s largest nationally protected wetlands, and were added to the National Park Family in 1989. The Hickling Broad Estate spans about 654.73 acres of this area, and comprises extensive wetland, as well as a let amenity and commercial portfolio.

George Bramley, Partner at Knight Frank and handling the sale, says The Broads, originally created by man digging for peat, are a haven for over a quarter of Britain’s rarest species of wildlife, and are also an extremely important tourist destination. It is estimated that the area receives 8 million visitors per year with an annual tourism economic impact of approximately £568 million.

Hickling Broad is a key facet of the wider network, and now presents a very rare and exciting investment opportunity, says Bramley.

It is designated as a National Nature Reserve (NNR), a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), a Special Protection Area (SPA), as well as being a Ramsar site.

The reserve and its surroundings host some of Britain’s rarest wildlife, including a substantial proportion of the United Kingdom’s common crane population, as well as hundreds of other bird species, deer, otters, hares and foxes.

The property is for sale as a whole, or in five lots. The main Broad area (Lot 1) and the immediately surrounding land is currently let to The Norfolk Wildlife Trust, who have sensitively managed and maintained the area, undertaking significant capital work during their occupation of the site.

Bramley says the owners have pursued a conservative and traditional policy of management, and as a result have retained the charm and timelessness which makes Hickling Broad and its surrounding area such a unique place.

“I expect the estate to appeal to both international and UK buyers, and to generate interest from a wide range of purchasers, including private individuals, the leisure and tourism industry and conservation bodies,” he says.

Anne Barker, Partner at Brown & Co, says the estate sale presents the opportunity to acquire a unique area of the Norfolk landscape, which has been in the same family ownership since the early 19th century.

“The scope to build on the leisure and tourism potential, whilst enjoying the exceptional wildlife and conservation, attributes make it a truly exciting prospect,” she says.

The estate includes the focal point Broad area, spanning 588.69 acres, including water, extensive reed bed, wetland and marsh, grassland, fen and woodland, and the let commercial portfolio.

The commercial element of the Broad produces an income in excess of £50 000 per year, and comprises the central boatyard, the site of Hickling’s popular sailing club, a thatched two bedroom cottage, 16 boathouses and numerous moorings. The estate also includes the Hickling Windsurfing Beach and four holiday lodges.