Toad Hole Cottage (Award for Best family attraction)
Nature Reserve & Gardens
Not far from Ludham Bridge on the bank of the River Ant is the How Hill estate, a lovely garden and nature walk open to the public. The House however, is privately owned and used as a training centre and not generally open to the public. You can become a friend of How Hill and that will give you certain extra benefits of access. It is well worth visiting for the beautiful gardens and nature walk.
How Hill house was built 100 years ago as a holiday home for the family of Edward Boardman, an architect from Norwich. It is built on the hill and has an excellent view over Turf Fen and the River Ant. The gardens that surrounds the house belong to the Broads Authority and are open all the year round to the public at no charge. There are excellent walks in the area and the lawns below the house are ideal for picnics.
The moorings at How Hill staithe on the river Ant have recently been upgraded. How Hill staithe is a public staithe with plenty of free mooring. To the north, the riverside path takes you to two preserved windmills of the skeleton type. After this, the path is a dead end when it reaches the marsh and the former dyke leading into Crome's Broad. The riverside path to the south connects to various walks and to special habitats created for bitterns and other water birds.
Next to the staithe and not far from the house is Toad Hole cottage. The cottage is preserved as a museum and shows the life of a marshman living and working in this area. Well worth a visit. This is where the nature trail starts from just by the museum. There is a small charge for this. It is a good trail and in early summer you may well see the rare swallowtail butterfly, the largest in Britain. The museum and nature trail are closed in winter, but the estate is open all year round.
There is a car park close to the house, so access to the site is easy by both car and boat.
Photos courtesy of Pete Marr