The Norfolk Broads
The Norfolk Broads are a network of rivers and lakes in the English counties of Norfolk and Suffolk that make up Britain's largest protected wetland, home to a wealth of wildlife especially fish, birdlife and insects. Although the terms Norfolk Broads and Suffolk Broads are used to identify specific areas within the two counties, the whole area is more commonly referred to as the "Norfolk Broads" and have the same status as national parks in England and Wales.
The total area is some 117 square miles, most of which is located in Norfolk, with over 120 miles of navigable channels and waterways. There are seven rivers and 63 broads, mostly shallow water less than 13 feet deep. Many of the broads are open to navigation although there are some navigational restrictions imposed in autumn and winter.
The Norfolk Broads have been a popular holiday destination since the late 19th century and the area attracts all kinds of visitors, including ramblers, artists, anglers, and bird-watchers as well as all sorts of boat traffic including yachting, cruising, canoeing and kayaking. There are a number of companies hiring boats for leisure use, including yachts and motor launches (the Norfolk Broads Authority are promoting sustainable boating, and the use of electric boats is being encouraged by the provision of charging points at a number of the mooring sites).
Discover the Norfolk Broads
is a guide to 12 great days out in the unique environment of the Norfolk Broads compiled by people who live there.
You can follow the full 12 day route or dip in and out on the various suggestions made. Includes tips on boat hire, things to see and do, eating, shopping....
Norfolk Broads Review
Norfolk Broads Review is a site dedicated to reviewing the amazing Norfolk broads and places to visit around them.
Information about boating holidays on Norfolk broads holidays with recommendations on where to go and what to do.
For many years The Norfolk Broads were regarded as natural features of the landscape, however they are in fact artificial features, the effect of flooding on centuries of peat excavations dating back to Roman Times. Various attempts have been made since the 17th Century to extend the navigable rivers and the construction of wind pumps and dykes together with continued flooding resulted in the Norfolk Broads landscape of today, with its channels, lakes, reed beds, grazing marshes and wet woodland.
The Norfolk Broads largely follow the lines of the rivers and natural contours of the area. There are seven navigable rivers, the River Yare and its tributaries the Rivers Bure, Thurne, Ant, Waveney, Chet and Wensum. Some of the waterways are subject to tidal influence although this decreases with distance from the sea, with highly tidal areas such as Breydon Water contrasting with effectively non-tidal reaches such as the River Ant upstream of Barton Broad.
The Norfolk Broads themselves range in size from small pools to the large expanses of Hickling Broad, Barton Broad and Breydon Water. The Norfolk Broads are unevenly distributed, with far more broads in the northern half of Broadland (the Rivers Bure, Thurne and Ant) than in the central and southern portions (the Rivers Yare, Waveney, Chet and Wensum). Some of the broads lie directly on or are part of a river, but the majority are situated to one side connected to the river by an artificial channel or dyke.
Specific parts of the Broads have been awarded a variety of conservation designations, and there are 28 Sites of Special Scientific Interest plus
Halvergate Marshes is noted as an Environmentally Sensitive Area and the following are identified as National Nature Reserves:
Ant Broads and Marshes
Ludham and Potter Heigham
Mid Yare River Valley
Redgrave and Lopham Fen
The Rivers of the Norfolk Broads
Several rivers pass through the Norfolk Broads including the River Bure, River Thurne, River Ant, River Yare, River Chet, River Waveney and the River Wensum
The River Bure rises in North Norfolk and becomes a tributary of the River Yare just downstream of Breydon Water, on its way it flows through or passes: Belaugh Broad, Bridge Broad, Wroxham Broad, Hoveton Great Broad, Salhouse Broad, Hoveton Little Broad, Cockshoot Broad, Ranworth Broad, Malthouse Broad and Upton Broads and Marshes (Site of Special Scientific Interest)
En-route the Bure passes through or near to the following towns and villages: Saxthorpe, Aylsham, Buxton Lammas, Coltishall, Belaugh, Wroxham, Hoveton, Horning, Ludham Bridge, past Acle, through Stokesby, along the northern border of the Halvergate Marshes, through Great Yarmouth where it meets Breydon Water and flows into the sea at Gorleston
There is a nine mile long walking and cycling trail called the Bure Valley Path that runs alongside the Bure Valley Railway, a heritage railway from Wroxham to Aylsham.
The Bure Valley Path passes through and close to the towns and villages of Aylsham, Brampton, Buxton, Lamas, Little Hautbois, Coltishall, Hoveton and Wroxham
The River Thurne rises near Martham Broad National Nature Reserve and flows for about six miles passing Potter Heigham National Nature Reserve and onto Thurne Mouth where it joins the River Bure.
The Upper Thurne Broads and Marshes are a Site of Special Scientific Interest and the River Thurne has access to Horsey Mere and Hickling Broad through Heigham Sound.
The River Ant rises at Dilham and joins the River Bure south of Horning at St. Benet's Abbey. It is winding and narrow, and on its way it flows through or passes: Dilham Broad, Barton Broad, Sutton Broad, Catfield Broad, Crome's Broad, Alderfen Broad and Ant Marshes National Nature Reserve
En-route the River Ant passes through or near to the following towns and villages: Dilham, Wayford, Stalham, Sutton, Barton Turf, Neatishead, Irstead, How Hill and Ludham Bridge
The River Yare rises south of Dereham and flows through the southern fringes of the city of Norwich, joining Breydon Water near Burgh Castle and flowing into the sea between Great Yarmouth and Gorleston on Sea.
On its way it flows through or passes: Surlingham Broad, Buckenham Marshes RSPB reserve, Wheatfen Broad, Strumpshaw Fen and RSPB Reserve, Breydon Water and RSPB Reserve and Berney Marshes RSPB Reserve
En-route the River Yare passes through or near to the following towns and villages: Marlingford, Bawburgh, Bowthorpe, Colney, Cringleford, Brundall, Cantley and Reedham
The River Chet is a short tributary of the River Yare that passes between Loddon and Chedgrave
The River Waveney rises between the villages of Redgrave - Suffolk and South Lopham - Norfolk and forms part of the boundary between Norfolk and Suffolk ultimately becoming a tributary of the River Yare, joining the river just upstream of Breydon Water near Burgh Castle.
It flows through, or passes by Royden Fen and Oulton Broad
En-route the River Waveney passes through or near to the following towns and villages: Diss, Scole, Mendham, Homersfield, Earsham, Bungay, Ditchingham, Gillingham, Beccles, Lowestoft, Burgh St. Peter, Somerleyton, St. Olaves, Fritton and Fritton Decoy
The River Wensum is a tributary of the River Yare rising in the Breckland area of south-west Norfolk the river flows through the city centre of Norwich before joining the River Yare just to the east of Norwich. The navigable section of the river runs from the centre of Norwich, past Norwich Cathedral to the confluence with the River Yare.
Rising near Raynham the river flows through Fakenham, Pensthorpe Nature Reserve, Great Ryburgh, Attlebridge, Taverham, Costessey, Norwich City Centre and joins the River Yare not far from Norwich City Football Club.
The Trinity Broads are situated to the north west of Caister-on-Sea and comprise five broads in total Rollesby Broad, Ormesby Broad, Filby Broad, Lily Broad and Ormesby Little Broad. Although the Trinity Broads are on a tributary of the River Bure there is no navigable link to the main river system, motorised boats are banned and they are very popular with anglers.
The Suffolk Broads
Benacre Broad National Nature Reserve is an isolated broad between Lowestoft and Southwold in Suffolk.
The broad is separated from the sea by a narrow shingle beach and bordered by mature mixed woodland and farmland.
Inland of the beach there are some flooded gravel pits which are partly fringed with reeds and bushes.
Cove Hithe Broad and Easton Broad National Nature Reserves are fascinating eroding shoreline areas in Suffolk south of Benacre Broad
with cliffs, sand dunes and beaches littered with the debris of dead trees from Easton Wood which is being absorbed by the sea
Hotels and Inns in and around the Norfolk Broads