Ted Ellis Nature Reserve: Wheatfen

Located on the banks of the River Yare, around eight miles southeast of Norwich, the Ted Ellis Nature Reserve is one of the most important parts of the Norfolk Broads. Encompassing the last remaining tidal marshes and carrs on the River Yare, the wild and remote area features reed beds, open fen, alder and willow woodlands. There are also two small broads and a specially designed nature trail in the reserve.

Thought by some experts to be as environmentally important as Mount Everest and the giant redwood forests of America, the Ted Ellis Nature Reserve is a fantastic place for an afternoon stroll.


The route

 Nature trails and boardwalks criss-cross the nature reserve, giving you a variety of routes to choose from. The most popular walk at the Ted Ellis Nature Reserve begins in the car park. From there, it meanders through woodlands to the banks of the River Yare before turning back towards Wheatfen Broad and Surlingham Wood.

In the summer months, extra paths are available in the reserve. These will take you even deeper into the heart of this ancient countryside and help you to get a deeper appreciation of the landscape. Dogs are not allowed in the nature reserve.



 Most of the paths within the Ted Ellis Nature reserve are flat and easy to navigate. However, some routes can become waterlogged, especially in the winter months. Visitors in wheelchairs and those with restricted mobility may be limited to boardwalks as many of the footpaths are narrow and muddy.



 There are very few facilities on offer at the Ted Ellis Nature Reserve itself. However, you will find a number of amenities in the surrounding area. The nearby village of Surlingham is home to a post office and The New Inn is just a couple of miles down the road in Rockland St Mary. A number of other pubs and shops can be found in the villages dotted around the reserve.


Points of interest

 There are lots of things to see as you explore the beautiful Ted Ellis Nature Reserve. One of the first buildings you’ll see when you park up at the reserve is Wheatfen Cottage. Built as a pair of marshmen’s cottages, it’s been the home of the Ellis family since 1946.

The next point of interest you’ll come to is Old Mill Marsh. A traditionally cut litter fen, the fodder it produced was sent to London for cab horses until 1918. The marsh is incredibly rich in wildlife and is a great place to spot local plants and animals. If the summer path is open when you visit, you’ll be able to walk along the Eleven Bridges path. This tidal dyke brings water on and off Old Mill Marsh via a series of foot drains. Before returning to the car park you’ll also be able to enjoy views over Wheatfen Broad and Deep Waters.


If you want to learn about the natural history of the region, and enjoy some fresh Norfolk air, a stroll around the Ted Ellis Nature Reserve is the perfect choice. For more ideas on walks in Norfolk and the surrounding area, explore our site or get in touch with a member of our team.