Places of Interest

1. Great Yarmouth, Norfolk
2. Things to do
3. Local Villages
4. Norfolk Broads – Hickling Broad
5. Norfolk Broads – The River Thurne
6. Sailing on R Thurne, Norfolk Broads. Step back in time on a zero energy holiday – Bob Goddard
7. Emergency contacts
8. Great Yarmouth & other local towns
9. Bird watching Tours in Norfolk & beyond ¨C
10. Potter Wetland – New – opposite Moonriver


There are over 15 miles of sandy beaches within the Great Yarmouth area, from Winterton-on-Sea in the north to Hopton-on-Sea in the south. It`s all part of a great coastline offering an attractive blend of wide sandy beaches, sand dunes and cliffs all in all, the toast of the Norfolk Coast.

Outdoor Activities
Thrills and spills, sun and fun these are the ingredients for a happy holiday. There`s always something for everyone, with funfair`s to fireworks, boat trips to novelty golf and bowling to strolling.

Indoor Activities
Whatever the weather, Great Yarmouth has a wealth of indoor activities for all ages and tastes. You`ll find that there`s too much for a day or even a week, so you will just have to save some things until next time.

Once considered as one of the wealthiest towns in Britain due to its prosperous herring industry, Great Yarmouth has a rich and proud history with museums and monuments spread throughout the town.

Norfolk Broads and Countryside
As well as being famous as a seaside holiday resort, the Greater Yarmouth area is also widely renowned for the beautiful Norfolk countryside which surrounds it mile after mile of open land, with traditional old windmills, wind pumps and the tranquil sight of ships` sails gliding across the horizon. The waterways, our famous Norfolk Broads, are an important part of East Anglia¡¯s cultural heritage, and how better to see them than from a Great Yarmouth base.

Great Yarmouth puts the fun back into shopping, whether in the high street chain stores, some of the quirky local shops or the more traditional seaside shops. Market days are Wednesdays and Saturdays all year and on Fridays as well during the summer months.

Trip the night fantastic
When the sun goes down, Great Yarmouth becomes a wonderland of colour as our seafront illuminations light your way to a night out on the town to enjoy our theatres, nightclubs, cinemas and casinos.

Special Events
Great Yarmouth hosts special events ranging from fetes to festivals, carnivals to concerts and fireworks displays on the seafront to add to your holiday experience.


Great Yarmouth is the ideal base for those wishing to take advantage of the vast angling potential of the area. Within a 25 mile radius lie the Norfolk Broads, most of which are interconnected by rivers to give miles of bank fishing and thousands of acres of boat angling. All tastes are catered for with many species of freshwater fish in plenty. All anglers are statutorily required to purchase a National Rod Fishing licence.
Information fact sheet available from Tourism Services Tel. 01493 846345.

Billiards & Snooker
Merlins sports bar, Apsley Road, off Trafalgar Road, Great Yarmouth .

There are Cumberland Turf and Grass greens available in Great Yarmouth and Gorleston, bowls and shoes are for hire. Great Yarmouth Open Bowls Festival commencing Sunday 27th August to Friday 15th September 2006. There are also facilities at many other villages in the borough.

Cricket is played on the Beaconsfield recreation ground in Great Yarmouth, Gorleston Recreation ground (synthetic pitch) and Southtown Common. There are pitches in many of the villages of the borough also.

Great Yarmouth and Caister Golf Club, Yarmouth Road, Caister Tel. 01493 720421. 18 holes, 6330 yards

Gorleston Golf Club, Warren Lane, Gorleston Tel. 01493 662103. 18 holes, 6400 yards; Club-house, P.G.A. professional, dress code applies at both clubs. Visitors welcome

Caldecott Hall Golf and Leisure Club, Fritton Tel. 01493 488488. 18 hole main and 9 hole par 3 courses. Restaurant and bar, floodlit driving range, Professional. Visitors welcome.

Fritton Lake Countryworld, Fritton Tel 01493 488208. 9 hole par 3 golf course. Beautiful lakeside location, with well maintained greens, raised tees and sand bunkers.

Pitch & Putt
Bure park, Caister Road, Great Yarmouth.18 hole course, picnic area and children¡¯s playground. Open in summer from 10.00am till dusk. Tel. 01493 843621

Browston Hall Country Club, Browston Lane, Browston. 9 hole par 3 pitch and putt course and driving range. Tel 01493 603511

The harbour, port, rivers (both Rivers Yare and Bure) and waterways that are in the vicinity of Great Yarmouth are under the jurisdiction of the Great Yarmouth Port Authority,20 South Quay, Great Yarmouth. For regulations, facilities, charges, etc. apply direct to that authority Tel. 01493 335500. Further inland waterways are under the jurisdiction of the Broads Authority Tel. 01603 610734.

At Burgh Castle Marina launching facilities are available which gives quick access to the Rivers Yare and Waveney. Tel. 01493 780331 minimum charge and weekly rate. Service not provided on a daily basis.

Great Yarmouth and Gorleston Sailing Club is a dinghy sailing club Tel. 01603 629992 or 612035. It has a boat park on Gorleston Pier and launching near the Pier Hotel. Racing takes place every Sunday from May to October. Members of other yacht clubs are invited to use the facilities of the club on a day membership basis.

Skateboarding, BMX and Inline Skating
The Park Warehouse in Great Yarmouth is East Anglia¡¯s newest indoor SK8 and BMX Park. Situated in a totally refurbished 14,000 square feet warehouse with ultra smooth concrete floor, toilets, reception, Skate shop, cafe and first aid room. First floor viewing area with 3 pool tables. Many ramps and a granite ledge.

Marina Leisure Centre, Marine Parade, Great Yarmouth. Two courts available, to book Tel. 01493 852607
Swimming Pools
Marina Leisure Centre, Marine Parade, Great Yarmouth Tel. 01493 851521. Indoor heated pool with wave machine, water chute and indoor beach, also, uni-sex sauna and children¡¯s play area. Open daily from 10.00am.

Phoenix pool. off Mallard Way, Bradwell. Tel 01493 664575. Indoor heated open all year. Call for open sessions.

Burgh Hall, Lords Lane, Bradwell Tel. 01493 780333. Heated outdoor pool, summer opening only.

There are hard courts on the Wellesley Recreation Grounds and North Drive in Great Yarmouth and on the Cliffs at Gorleston.

Ten Pin Bowling
Regent Bowl, Regent Road, Great Yarmouth. 22 lanes, air conditioned. Computerised scoring, bumpers and ramps available. Fully licensed bar and snack bar. Open all year, every day 10.00am till midnight. Bookings taken Tel. 01493 856830.

Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival

The annual Maritime Festival, a celebration of the Borough`s seafaring heritage and fishing industry with a mixture of maritime crafts, maritime music and visiting vessels as well as costumed folk giving heritage tours to nearby historical sites, fresh fish stalls and shanty men singing traditional folk songs.


The countryside surrounding Great Yarmouth is dotted with charming villages, each with its own identity, special attraction and history. You will find medieval churches, windpumps and windmills all punctuating the skyline. Many traditional pursuits such as eel-catching and reed-cutting are still continued today.

Belton has a village green with cottages and shop as well as its own holiday parks, pubs and a restaurant.

Burgh Castle
At Burgh Castle there are now no fewer than five holiday parks, a riverside holiday village and a yacht marina, all adding to the summer population. Half a mile from the village centre stands the ruins of the Roman Fortress of Gariannonum, a Roman fort which is one of Britain`s best preserved relics of the Roman era. From the three-sided boundary the view over the river and countryside depicts a perfect Norfolk setting.

Clippesby and Mautby
Nestling amongst tranquil surrounds are numerous secluded spots with a range of holiday accommodation including holiday cottages, a mill, a former coach house and touring sites. Surrounded by beautiful countryside but not too far from the nearest friendly tea room or village pub.

Fleggburgh, Thrigby and Filby
Visit Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens where a superb collection of mammals, birds and reptiles can be seen in pleasantly landscaped grounds and gardens. Nearby, at the Norfolk Rare Breed Centre and Farm, there`s a collection of rare breeds set amidst a working farm.
Filby is a treasure trove of floral delights, winning the Best Small Village in Britain in the Britain in Bloom competition and the Best Small Village award in the Anglia in Bloom competition for the 5th year running.

Fritton and St Olaves
Fritton and St Olaves, four or five miles to the south-west of Great Yarmouth, form the outmost villages of `Greater Yarmouth`, perhaps best known for Fritton Lake Countryworld and Caldecott Hall. Between them they offer golf, riverside walks, falconry displays, boating, putting, shire horses, an equestrian centre and a bar, a restaurant and a tea room. This is now also the home for Redwings Horse Sanctuary which provides a caring home for rescued horses, ponies and donkeys. St Olaves, crossing point of the River Waveney, is a boating haven with its own riverside pub and popular restaurant.

On approaching Martham from any direction, the church of St Mary stands proud on a small rise surrounded by trees. The many walks around Martham and the surrounding villages give the visitors a perfect excuse to leave the car behind and sample country life at its best.

Ormesby St Margaret
Ormesby St Margaret is a mile or so inland from the coast with an unusually large two-acre village green which acts as a focal point for the village. Travellers in search of the `real` Norfolk need never go hungry or thirsty in these northern parishes of `Greater Yarmouth` for the friendly tea room or village pub can always be found in some idyllic setting.

Rollesby and Thurne
Rollesby has a proud history with first evidence of settlers in this area being around 2000BC and the nearby Rollesby Broad is an ideal spot for fishing and sailing.. Linked to Rollesby Broad is Filby Broad, a peaceful haven for a variety of wildlife, whilst the passing, almost silent, rowing boats create only a gentle interruption amidst an undisturbed setting. To the north is Thurne where two windmills stand either side of the river at the mouth of the dyke.


4. Hickling Broad

The author has kindly allowed this extract to be published from copyright Wilds of Norfolk 2003

Hickling broad is part of the 568 hectare Hickling broad and marshes national nature reserve (NNR), which in turn forms a section of the Upper Thurne broads and marshes Site of Special Scientific interest (SSSI). Being the largest of the broads, and the largest area of open water in East Anglia, we`re pretty proud of it, even though it¡¯s only about 150cm deep!

This is a stunning and wild place any time of year and visiting the reserve is a great opportunity to see how positive management in favour of the wildlife and its habitats has really transformed this area into one of the most spectacular places in Norfolk. Unless you take the (highly recommended, but book first) boat trip, you`ll not really see a huge amount of the water, never the less, what you`ll get a genuine feeling for the habitats and wildlife.

Wandering around the trail, stop off and install yourself in the hides, look our over the scrape and reed beds. Scrapes are areas literally scraped out (by mechanical means), the water table is so high flooding immediately occurs. The proximity of water combined with beautiful expanses of reed bed makes ideal habitat for incredibly rare species like the Bittern.

We love the Bitterns, they`re an emblem, `a standard` for the great work being done by conservationists in the struggle to change the tide in favour of the endangered flora and fauna. Time was that you`d never hear Bittern but get down here in April now and
Sorry, it appears that I digress from the point, my most profuse apologies, I`ll attempt to chart a more direct course!

The scrape water level is managed for varying purposes, such as provision of mud to encourage breeding waders and flooding to rejuvenate the mud. Depending on the time of year you could see anything from Green Sandpiper to Bearded Tit (Reedling), the astonishing array of birds is usually written up on the board at the visitor centre, so check first, to see what treats you may have in store. Hang around long enough, and if you`re lucky you might see a Chinese water deer slip out of the margins, look for his fangs, he can make an incredibly eerie bark during the rut, so listen up. Summer is a good time for Grass snakes, natural swimmers, look for the yellow collar as it curves it`s way across the water, maybe after a frog. Amazing butterflies also abound with arguably the most striking, the Swallowtail present and reasonably visible on hot sunny days at the right time of year, people have come literally hundreds of miles on weekend trips just to catch a glimpse of this king if the hill of UK butterflies. I`ve seen a couple whilst out canoeing but never here on the trails, it`s just luck really, and a bit of planning, so come on a fine day in June (the first brood is always the best, I`m reliably informed) or August, and you`ve got as good a chance as anyone else. Once you`ve wandered the trails around the reed beds, fen and even the little wood, (interesting fungi in here), don`t forget the stride on up to Stubb Mill. A telescope is handy here, because you`ll look out over a huge expanse of grazing marsh to Horsey mill and the dunes beyond. I always get up here on a winter`s afternoon, to watch the Raptors come into roost. Basically if you don`t see a Marsh Harrier, you`ve got there too late and it`s already dark, in which case this is an awesome spot for star gazing some of those winter constellations, like Orion or Taurus see if you can make out Cancer and the Beehive, that amazing dome of sky well I just can.
Apologies again! No more deviations.

Anyway imagine the scene. It`s half past three and no fog to speak of, so scan the vista, Marsh Harriers abound here so look out for the gray and brown male, golden headed female and overall brown juvenile. You can`t believe how happy it makes me to see these birds, only a few years back you`d be lucky, very lucky, to see a Harrier at all!
Less common, and a real treat, are the ethereal grey male Hen harrier, now look for those black wing tips, the female has no grey but a white ring around it`s rump, hence ringtail (I saw her once out of my back room window, one morning as I was putting washing on the linen horse, a damn good start to the day)!!!
Count up whilst you`re here, I`ve counted 26 Marsh and 4 Hen in the air together, and I`m sure keener folk than I have seen more.

On any winters trip to Stubb, always stay to the bitter end.
You`ll know what I mean when your fingers, and other vital extremities have gone numb. As well as the Barn owls this is the best chance to see the fabled Cranes, I`ve seen nine come in, others say thirteen, what an amazing call too, once heard never forgotten! Your eyes will probably pop out of your head just looking, in that semi darkness, but chances are they¡¯ll make your day by drifting in, neck and feet out, before it¡¯s totally dark. For me this is one of the best wildlife experiences anywhere in Norfolk.

Getting there: Grid ref TG 428222.Leave the A149 & travel towards Hickling then following the signs, turn off past the Greyhound Inn and then left up Stubb Road

Amenities: Parking, Visitor Centre, Wheelchair Access & toilets, boat trip, Hides

Need more information: Call 01692 598276
The author has kindly allowed the above extract to be published from copyright Wilds of Norfolk 2003

5. The River Thurne, Norfolk Broads

The author has kindly allowed this extract to be published from

West Somerton to Candle Dyke including Horsey Mere and Hickling Broad, Norfolk Broads

The River Thurne rises near Martham Broad and flows for 5 miles to Thurne Mouth where it joins the Bure. The Thurne is totally different to the Ant being wider more open and wind swept. Hickling Broad the largest on the Norfolk Broads lies to the north through Candle Dyke.

West Somerton

There are good moorings in the dyke (fee). The Post Office Stores and Somerton Lion Public House are a 5 minutes walk from the village staithe. The beach at Winterton-on-Sea is a pleasant two mile walk.

On leaving the dyke the river flows through Martham Broad, keep to the marked channel. The river from here to Martham Ferry has been designated by the Broads Authority as a `fishing area`, boat users are requested to avoid this stretch before 9 am on Sundays during the fishing season.

Martham Broad

The broad is very shallow and boats are limited to a narrow marked channel. The broad is a nature reserve of over 140 acres and is managed by the Norfolk Naturalist Trust. The broad is less polluted than others and so is very rich in aquatic life. Birds of all types can also be spotted and during the months of June and July the Swallowtail butterfly may be seen near its favourite food, Milk Parsley.

The river takes a sharp turn to the left with the Hundred Stream flowing into it on the right. Vast reed beds line both banks, to the left, a distant wind farm can be seen. Martham Ferry approaches, there are some chalets here and a boatyard, the chain ferry is for farm use and is usually in the open position. Moorings are available near the boatyard.


The attractive village of Martham with its fine Georgian houses around the green is well worth a visit. There are a good range of shops and two pubs.

Candle Dyke is a downstream of Martham Ferry and leaves the Thurne to the right. Keep to the marked channel through Heigham Sound. On the right at the north end of Heigham Sound is the entrance to Meadow Dyke, which leads onto Horsey Mere. The channel is narrow and in some ways reminiscent of the Ant. Mooring is possible, but care must be taken not to restrict the passage of other craft. Horsey Mere can look drab on a dull day, but as its a wildfowl sanctuary with cruising discouraged during the winters months, perhaps you will be lucky enough to see it on a warm summers day. The deepest water can be found to the left of the island, the whole broad being very shallow.

Horsey Mere

Horsey is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), it covers an area of over a 100 acres and was acquired by the National Trust in 1948. It is a popular place for migrating birds who over-winter here. At the eastern end is the staithe (fee), Horsey Mill and the Staithe Stores, where tickets can be purchased to visit the mill. The main brick structure of the present Windpump was built in 1912 with bricks made locally at Martham. It has suffered damage over the years from lighting and in 1987 by gales, but is now fully open to the public, including the gallery which offers outstanding views across the Broads. The village and dunes can be included in a circular walk from the staithe. The Nelson¡¯s Head is a 15 minute walk from the staithe and is listed in the Good Pub Guide.

After Heigham Sound, Deep-Go Dyke is reached with moorings on the left bank At White Slea Broad is the thatched Royal Shooting Lodge. More moorings can be found on entering Deep Dyke. Hickling Broad is now entered, despite being the largest broad it is very shallow outside the marked channel, keep between the posts as you cross to the staithe. On the left is the entrance to Catfield Dyke, turn off the main channel when the two white triangle marker posts at the mouth of the dyke are aligned.

Catfield Common

There are moorings at Catfield Common Staithe, but these waters are only really suitable for small craft. The village of Catfield is 1 miles to the west.

The marked channel now bends northwards towards the Pleasure Boat Inn Staithe, look out for small yachts and windsurfers (very fast). The Houseboats of Whispering Reeds boatyard overlook the broad and are just to the right of the staithe. Keep clear of the sandy bay to the left on entering the dyke. Mooring is available on both sides of the dyke, with a berth kept clear for the water trail.

Hickling Broad

Covering over 370 acres of open water, it is the largest broad and forms part of a 1400 acre National Nature Reserve owned since 1945 by the Norfolk Naturalists Trust. Like Horsey the water is brackish, even though the North Sea is 3 miles away seepage still occurs.

The flora and fauna are encouraged by sensitive management of the marshland pools and reed beds. The astute visitor may see red shank, snipe, bittern and migrants like ospreys, green shank and the rare spoonbill. Hickling is also the place to see the swallowtail butterfly, the largest butterfly in Britain. The angler is also well catered for with some of the best pike fishing in the area. Visitors are asked not to disturb the wildlife or plant life.

A 4 mile water trail leaves from the staithe twice daily during the summer taking in both marsh and woodland hides. There are also nature trails which start from the Wardens House. A small information hut is situated to the rear of the Pleasure Boat Inn. Cycle hire is also available at the Hickling Pleasure Boat Stores. Public Telephone.
The shops and Greyhound Pub are in Hickling Green a 15 minute walk from the staithe.

Candle Dyke to Thurne Mouth

Candle Dyke leaves the main river to the right, the Martham Boat Building and Development boatyard is on the left. A number of holiday chalets and lodges of various age and condition announce the arrival of Potter Heigham, 1 miles downstream of Candle Dyke

There are two bridges at Potter Heigham, the first is the new road bridge, it has 8 ft headroom at average high water. The second is the famous old road bridge, with only 6 ft 9 in headroom at average high water, and the sides fall away sharply to the water in a half circle.


All hire craft except small day boats are required to use the services of the Bridge Pilot, provided free by the Broads Hire Boat Federation. The best time to arrive at the bridge is about two hours before low water.
Suitable moorings for craft wishing to lower their windscreen and canopy can be found on the left bank just before the bypass bridge. On the right bank the Broads Authority have provided a dingy park and a mooring point for yachts to raise or lower their masts.
On passing through the bypass bridge, immediately on the left is the pick up point for the Bridge Pilot while on the right there are moorings for craft not passing through the old road bridge.

Potter Heigham

To many people Potter Heigham is the area around the medieval bridge the main village is, however, a mile to the north, but few visitors stray further than the shops that cluster around the River Thurne.

The largest of the shops is Lathams, where you will find everything from groceries to fishing tackle. There are a number of boatyards here, all of which offer day boat hire. A day boat would be ideal for skippers of large craft unable to pass through the bridge. There is also a Broads Authority Information Centre, open throughout the season on Bridge Road. The old Herbert Woods Tower was demolished in 1999 and was rebuilt during the early part of 2000. The views from the Penthouses on the upper floors are extensive.

The area around the old road bridge has been tidied up over the years, it now has dykes reserved for small craft to moor, and makes an ideal spot to watch the Bridge Pilots take large hire craft through the low bridge. A gauge at the bridge gives the height underneath.

Immediately under the bridge on the left bank is the Bridge Pilot Pickup Point, on the right are small dykes suitable for day boats. Keep well clear of the bridge and over to the right when travelling upstream to the Bridge Pilot`s mooring point. Mooring is available for people wishing to stop at Potter Heigham on the left bank and on the right under the footbridge at Broads Haven the Herbert Woods boatyard.

From here to just below Repps Staithe the banks are lined with holiday chalets and summer houses. On the right bank 1 miles below Potter Heigham is Womack Dyke leading to Womack Water and the village of Ludham. The moorings at Womack Water can often be full, but moorings can be found on both banks of the dyke and on a small island to the left of Hunter¡¯s Yard – home of the Norfolk Heritage Fleet Trust. The island and left bank of the dyke has no access to the village, on the right bank a footpath can be followed to Womack Water. The staithe at Womack Water has water and litter receptacles, mooring is stern-on.

The Wherry `Albion`

The Albion was built by B. Brighton in 1898 at Oulton Broad, she is 58` long and 15` wide and just under 23 tons in weight. She has the traditional black sail, but unlike other clinker-built Wherries, she was built with planks joined flush at the seams- carvel-built. Like other Wherries she was used by Colman¡¯s of Norwich as a lighter. Her working days are long gone and now she is maintained by the Norfolk Wherry Trust and when not sailing the Broads, she can be seen at her base in Womack Dyke.

Womack Water and Ludham

The attractive village of Ludham with its impressive 14th century church, is a short walk from the staithe. There are a good range of shops and one pub the King¡¯s Arms. A Public Telephone is situated near the church.

Continuing downstream you can not fail to notice the white painted Thurne Mill, it marks the entrance to Thurne Dyke and Thurne village, 1 mile below Womack Dyke. Extensive moorings are available on both sides of the dyke (fee).


The white painted Thurne Mill is a major landmark and can be seen for miles, it houses a small exhibition and is owned by The Norfolk Windmills Trust. Provisions are available at Thurne Village Stores, cycles can also be hired. The 14thC church of St Edmund looks out towards St Benet¡¯s Abbey, its tower a well known landmark. At the head of the dyke is the Lion Public House, a Public Telephone is nearby.

On the opposite bank to the dyke is St Benet¡¯s Level Windpump.
Thurne Mouth is a mile downstream, turn left for Great Yarmouth and right for Wroxham and the River Ant.


The author has kindly allowed the above extract to be published from


Martham is situated about one mile away. The village has the following shops and facilities:-

Church, three pubs The Kings Arms, (Great meal March 2015), general stores, butcher, Post Office, Fish & Chip shop, Ladies hairdresser, chemist, estate agent, horse riding stables, Chinese take away, etc


Horse and Groom Pub / Restaurant – just outside the village, Thai food

The Kings Arms, Martham – good range of meals and snacks – WiFi


Acle – Thursday; Stalham – Tuesday; these are very traditional rural markets that are worth a visit.


Walk to the Church by the river footpath and up Thunder Hill.

6. Step Back In Time On a Zero Energy Holiday

Aboard a traditional 1932 Broads sailing cruiser, Bob Goddard re-lives one of the famous author¡¯s classic stories.

Arthur Ransome has a lot to answer for. When he wasn`t spying in Bolshevik Russia, he was writing books which drove countless youngsters to take to the water in small boats.

Best known for Swallows & Amazons , Ransome`s tales of childhood adventure included Coot Club and The Big Six , which were both set on the Norfolk Broads. Although seventy years have passed since these books first set young minds adrift on a sea of imagination, one of the principal characters is still alive and well and living in Ludham.

Her name is Lullaby, but Ransome fans will know her as Teasel, the classic wooden sailing cruiser at the centre of the TV film of Coot Club . Built in 1932, Lullaby and her 17 sister ships are meticulously maintained at Hunter`s Yard so that lovers of traditional sailing craft can recapture a time gone by.

For my brother John and me, a five-day charter aboard this gaff-rigged, varnished mahogany beauty was the perfect way to re-live one of our favourite childhood stories. In Coot Club , Teasel had ample crew with Dick and Dot, Port and Starboard, Tom Dudgeon, owner Mrs Barrable and her pet pug-dog William. How well two greying brothers would cope with her hefty sails and lack of engine remained to be seen¡­

One of the Hunter`s Yard staff gave a brief demonstration of lowering the mast, raising the sails and using the quant ¨C a 20-foot pole for pushing the boat along when the wind drops ¨C then we were off down Womack Water to follow in the wake of Ransome`s storybook heroes.

The first thing that struck us as we turned downwind and gently gathered speed, was the silence. The 28 foot, 4-berth cruiser has no motor to disturb the peace, so the only sounds were an occasional creak from the rigging, the swish of the long boom brushing the tops of the reeds and the chatter of buntings and warblers hidden in the forest of stems.

Turning right to follow the wider River Thurne downstream, Lullaby`s huge cream mainsail bellied with the breeze and we sped past the picture-postcard windmill at Thurne Staithe to join the River Bure. Here we headed upstream to find the spot where Teasel was moored when the story began and Malthouse Broad (called Ranworth Broad in the book) where Dick and Dot had their first sailing lessons.

We were busy learning how to get the best from this majestic pre-war sailing vessel. Lullaby made it clear she didn`t like to be hurried when changing direction. A gentle hand on the tiller made for graceful turns and careful sail trimming kept her galloping up the wide curves of the Bure like a thoroughbred.

Soon we had passed the remains of St Benet`s Abbey and on the outside of a left hand bend in the river, was the very spot where Teasel had been moored when Coot Club¡¯s Tom Dudgeon used her to hide after casting adrift the Hullabaloos. His actions gave rise to a Broads-wide chase using sailing skills and cunning to outwit the bad-tempered hooligans in their high-powered motor cruiser.

As we turned into Ranworth Dike the wind was almost completely stopped by a high and impenetrable forest, so we drifted the last half-mile down to Malthouse Broad while we boiled the kettle on the cockpit cooker and enjoyed a well-earned brew, sipped from the period Willow-pattern tea service provided.

In a quiet corner of the broad, anchored by a hefty mud weight and with Lullaby`s sails lashed down for the evening, we stepped into the dinghy to emulate Dick and Dot¡¯s first sailing lessons and to reach the shore. Ranworth Staithe has a couple of shops and a pub – The Maltsters – where we enjoyed a bar meal and a pint of Norfolk`s finest ale before returning for a very peaceful night afloat.

Unchanged from her original specification, Lullaby has no electricity on board, using paraffin lamps for lighting, but her two cabins provide four good-sized single beds and plenty of stowage space. Between the two cabins is a loo and a ladder to a sliding side hatch. The cabin top hinges up to provide extra headroom and a canvas awning extends the living space and makes the boat cosy and rainproof.

By morning the forecast force 7 was howling in the rigging so we set off with two reefs in the mainsail, but found we needed the quant to get us back up Ranworth Dike. Handling this 20 foot pole is a bit of an art. Lose your footing on a slippery side deck, and you could end up like Dick – in the drink! The trick is to settle the wooden cap against your shoulder, lean on it and walk. Then, before you run out of deck, give a firm tug and a twist to unstick it from the glutinous mud so it doesn¡¯t get left behind with you hanging on it!

Back in the main river, we headed downstream and were soon flying along with angry clouds scudding overhead. Turning once more into the Thurne, we had a boisterous sail up the narrowing river and arrived flustered and breathless at Potter Heigham Bridge, which we hoped to pass under to follow the course of the Teasel on our Coot Club quest.

Under ideal conditions Potter Heigham Bridge is tricky to negotiate, being very low and narrow with fierce tidal currents. To add to our concerns, rain had raised the water level by more than a foot and the near-gale was sending motor cruisers careering sideways. With our sails and mast lowered, we had only the quant to push us forwards. It would be hopeless in this vicious crosswind.

Then we remembered that in the book Tom had rowed his dinghy, the Titmouse, to tow Teasel through the bridge. We had a dingy with a 2hp motor and found we could use it like a tugboat to push Lullaby fast enough to maintain control¡, and slipped under the bridge with two inches to spare!

With mast and sails up again we planned to spend the night at West Somerton, where the river ends abruptly at the B1159, but stopping the boat was a nightmare. The final quarter mile was downwind and much too narrow to turn around in. Lullaby flew between the steel-reinforced banks as if hell-bent on destruction, like a runaway train charging at the buffers. At the last second a tiny opening in the bank appeared behind the stern of a moored cruiser, and we just managed to spin around in a flurry of foam, missing the staithe`s piling and the stern of the cruiser by less than a foot. Phew! Moored safely to the bank, with sails stowed, awning up and light fading fast, it was time to check out the village pub, The Lion. We¡¯d earned a pint!

Next morning we awoke to a blue sky polished clean by the wind and bright orange sunshine. The water around us was clear as gin and full of tiny fishes darting amongst weeds that looked more like the Barrier Reef than the Broads.

The wind was lighter as we left West Somerton, so after sailing past the reedy wilderness of Martham Broad we headed for Horsey Mere where the wind filled Lullaby¡¯s sails and we left a foamy wake across the open water. Dick and Dot had done much the same here to prepare them for crewing Teasel to Great Yarmouth and Beecles.

Intrigued by a channel called Waxham New Cut we set out to investigate, but the banks closed in and by the time we passed a notice board announcing ¡®Narrow channel, turning difficult` it was already too late – the water disappeared as reeds brushed the cabin on both sides at once! This was seriously narrow and I was beginning to wonder if we`d made a major mistake, when we passed two chaps loading reeds onto a trailer. Maybe they knew?

¡°Yar`ll be oroight boy. Haff a moile on thar`s an ole mill an` thass a bit woider. Yull git ¡®er tarned around.¡±

Sure enough, a few more minutes of swishing through the reeds brought us to the ruined mill where an indent in the bank was just ¡®wide` enough for us to tack and head back along the lonely finger of water.

After a night at Hickling staithe we made an early start to catch low tide at Potter Heigham Bridge where we squeezed through with one inch to spare. Following a lively sail back to the Bure, we turned upstream and upwind to trace the Teasel`s path to Horning. We made good speed at first, but as the ebb picked up and the wind fell light, made worse by trees and buildings, our progress became ever more leisurely. With the occasional dab of quant to assist in tacking, we inched past Horning Ferry and then The Swan and continued past the last of the riverside bungalows to reach Hoveton Little Broad by 6pm.

Inside this Broad we found a haven of peace, with only one other boat sharing the tree-ringed expanse of water for the night. We made full use of the cooker in the cockpit to rustle up a sailor¡¯s supper, dining in the dusk and sipping our cocoa under the stars as the first owl began to hoot.

Our final morning saw us head for Horning to match the start of Teasel¡¯s major voyage. The Coot Club crew had sailed down to Great Yarmouth and Beecles before the final showdown with the Hullabaloos on Breydon Water. But our five days were up and our re-enactment of a childhood fantasy had to end as we left the Teasel¡¯s track and headed back for Womack Water and Hunter`s Yard.

For experienced sailors, handling a classic vessel like this isn`t difficult, once you get the hang it. For anyone wishing to sail an original 1930s Broads yacht and willing to give up a few luxuries


Please telephone the following numbers if you have a problem.

If you have a mobile number, or are phoning from a telephone box please tell us the number so that we can call you back

Mrs Jill Manners

0 79 70 77 76 33


Martham – Dr. Hems, Dr. Newstead 01493 740220


James Paget Hospital, Great Yarmouth 01493 452452


The Martham Chemist is situated in the Doctors Surgery on the East side of the village

Public Telephone Box

At the top of Cess Road opposite the grocers (Co-op) / DIY store.


Hemsby – 01493 732433


F & L Taxi Hemsby 01493 731900

Hemsby Taxi Hemsby 01493 394343

Compass Ormesby 01493 730350

Thistle Ormesby 01493 733337

Caister Cabs Caister 01493 722722

8. GREAT YARMOUTH and other local towns

This town is 20 minutes drive away and has the facilities that you would expect a seaside town to have. These include sandy beaches, cabaret theatres with top national stars performing throughout the summer season, cinemas, stock car racing, Pleasure Beach, sports & swimming facilities, golf, horse & greyhound racing, karting, roller skating, market, and large shopping centre.

There are over 15 miles of sandy beaches within the Great Yarmouth area, from Winterton-on-Sea in the north to Hopton-on-Sea in the south. It`s all part of a great coastline offering an attractive blend of wide sandy beaches, sand dunes and cliffs all in all, the toast of the Norfolk Coast.

Outdoor Activities
Thrills and spills – sun and fun these are the ingredients for a happy holiday. There¡¯s always something for everyone, with funfairs to fireworks, boat trips to novelty golf and bowling to strolling.

Indoor Activities
Whatever the weather, Great Yarmouth has a wealth of indoor activities for all ages and tastes. You`ll find that there`s too much for a day or even a week, so you will just have to save some things until next time.

Once considered as one of the wealthiest towns in Britain due to its prosperous herring industry, Great Yarmouth has a rich and proud history with museums and monuments spread throughout the town.


Sand beaches with sand dunes only 10 minutes drive away, lagoon at Horsey between sand dunes & beach.


Further away is the old fishing town of Lowestoft. `Pleasurewood Hills` theme park is situated to the North of the town, this has the usual modern `white knuckle` rides, etc.

Activities and Water sports
Burgh St. Peter ~ Waveney River Centre, sailing
Oulton Broad ~ Sailing and Windsurfing
Oulton Broad ~ Self-drive Motor Boat Hire, by the hour or day
Pakefield ~ Carlton Road, Riding School

Castles and Historic Remains
Aldeburgh ~ Martello Tower
Bungay ~ Remains of Bigod Castle
Burgh Castle ~ Remains of Roman fort
Caister-on-Sea ~ Roman remains
Dunwich ~ Remains of Abbey
Framlingham ~ Castle, 11th Century walls remaining
Great Yarmouth ~ Remains of town wall
Leiston ~ Remains of Abbey
St. Olaves ~ Remains of Priory

Factory / Working Exhibitions/tours
Bruisyard ~ Vineyard
Bungay ~ Nursery¡¯s Sheepskin Coat factory, factory shop
Lowestoft ~ New Lowestoft Porcelain factory
Lowestoft ~ Birds Eye Food factory, tour and factory shop
Ringsfield ~ Winter Flora Ltd., Dried flowers
Sizewell ~ Nuclear Power Station, visitor centre
Wisset ~ Vineyard

Family Leisure
Corton ~ Pleasurewood Hills Leisure Park
Easton ~ Park Farm
Fritton ~ Fritton Lake Countryworld
Great Yarmouth ~ Pleasure beach Funfair and Amusements
Kessingland ~ Suffolk Wildlife and Adventure Park
Knodishall ~ Craft Centre
Lowestoft ~ East Point Pavilion, Mayhem Children`s Adventure
Oulton Broad ~ Nicholas Everitt Park, Pets Corner
Reedham ~ Pettits Animal Adventure Park
Thrigby Hall ~ Wildlife Gardens

Houses, Historic Buildings and Gardens
Aldeburgh ~ Moot Hall
Blythburgh ~ Church (and occasional venue for Aldeburgh Festival events)
Hales ~ Hales Hall
Little Glemham ~ Little Glemham Hall
Raveningham ~ Gardens
Snape ~ Snape Maltings Concert Hall
Somerleyton ~ Somerleyton Hall and Gardens, with a maze
Sternfield ~ Sternfield Hall
Wingfield ~ Wingfield College

Museums and Galleries
Beccles ~ Clowes Printing Museum
Carlton Colville ~ East Angla Transport Museum, buses and trams
Flixton ~ Aviation Museum, aircraft incl. WW2
Leiston ~ Longshop Engineering Museum
Lowestoft ~ Maritime Heritage Museum
Lowestoft ~ Royal Naval Patrol Service Museum, WW2 Naval
Lowestoft ~ War Memorial Museum, Home Front WW2
Lowestoft ~ Suffolk Villa Gallery, local artists
Lowestoft ~ Yacht Basin Heritage Mooring, Mincarlo trawler
Oulton Broad ~ Lowestoft Museum, general collection and Lowestoft Porcelain
Southwold ~ RNLI Museum
Southwold ~ Reading room

Organised Trips and Tours
Lowestoft ~ Harbour and Fish Market guided tours
Lowestoft ~ Opposite East Point Pavilion, local coach tours
Oulton Broad ~ The Boulevard, River bus tours

Wildlife and Nature Reserves
Benacre ~ Suffolk Wildlife reserve
Dunwich ~ Clifftop nature reserve
Earsham ~ The Otter Trust, otter breeding centre
Minsmere ~ RSPB bird reserve
Oulton Broad ~ Suffolk Wildlife Trust`s Carlton Marshes
Strumpshaw ~ RSPB Nature Reserve on next to River Yare
Walberswick ~ Heathland nature reserve
Westleton ~ Heathland nature reserve

Windmills, Windpumps and Other Landmarks
Burney Arms ~ Windmill
Herringfleet ~ Windpump
Holton ~ Postmill (closed to public)
Saxtead Green ~ Postmill (open to public)
Stracey Arms ~ Tower Mill
Thorpeness ~ Postmill (closed to public)
Thorpeness ~ House in Clouds

World Wars I & II
Carlton Colville ~ small USAAF aircrew memorial
County-wide ~ remains of gun emplacements, pillboxes and airfields, etc
Flixton ~ Aviation Museum, incl. 446th Bomb Group USAAF and Royal Obs. Corps
Fritton ~ small USAAF aircrew memorial
Henham ~ small USAAF aircrew memorial
Lowestoft ~ Sparrows Nest, Royal Naval Patrol Service Museum (WW2 Naval)
Lowestoft ~ Belle Vue Park, RNPS memorial
Lowestoft ~ Sparrows Nest, War Memorial Museum (Lowestoft during WW2)
Lowestoft ~ Kensington Gardens, seat dedicated to the aircrew RAF Tempsford Halifax
Oulton Broad ~ Nicholas Everitt Park, Oulton Broad – Coastal Forces Memorial
Parham, Framlingham ~ Airfield Control Tower and Memorial, 390th Bomb Group
Seething ~ Airfield Control Tower Museum and Memorial, 448th Bomb Group
Theberton ~ Church, Zeppelin crew memorial (remains of Zeppelin in porch)


This lovely city is well worth a days visit as it has something for young and old alike, please visit the new `Castle Mall` shopping centre which is under cover and served by a large car park.

In medieval times, Norwich was one of the greatest cities in England, and today as East Anglia¡¯s capital city, it still is – offering a rare blend of historic interest and modern sophistication.

Norwich is dominated by its magnificent 900 year old Norman cathedral, which boasts the largest monastic cloisters in England, the second largest spire and over 1,000 beautiful medieval roof bosses.

The present structure of Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery has stood since the 12th century and is one of the finest Norman secular buildings anywhere in Europe. Today Norwich Castle is the county¡¯s principal museum, packed with treasures and collections of national importance. Recently extensively refurbished, the museum has extended its galleries and opened up new areas previously unseen.

For those interested in the history of the region, the Castle houses the world¡¯s largest teapot collection and magnificent landscapes of the nineteenth century Norwich School of painters. The Cathedral library contains 7000 rare books including some of the earliest printed in England. The unique Colman¡¯s Mustard Shop and Museum traces the near 200 year history of this favorite delicacy, with 15 different mustards available to sample and buy.

Known as the City of Churches, Norwich has over 30 flint-built medieval churches; more than London, Bristol and York combined! In magnificent contrast is Norwich¡¯s newest public building, The Forum, which houses Origins a multi-million pound heritage visitor attraction, the finest regional public library in the country, the tourist information centre, and a variety of places to eat.

The wide range of pubs, tea-rooms, cafes and restaurants in Norwich, ensure that every taste and budget is catered for. English, French, Italian, Indian, Thai, Chinese, Greek, Mexican, Russian and Belgian flavors can all be found in the city.

A shopper¡¯s paradise, Norwich is open 7 days a week. In contrast to its modern precincts and malls with many of the big store names, it has the added attraction of the country¡¯s largest 6-day open-air market, as well as hundreds of specialty shops in a maze of cobble-stoned lanes and alleys. Norwich is the perfect Christmas shopping experience too, with impressive displays of Christmas lights illuminating the city from mid November.

Norwich is a city of festivals with the Norfolk and Norwich Festival, a superb multi-venue musical event, held in May, the Lord Mayor¡¯s celebrations including carnival and firework display in July, the CAMRA beer festival in October, the largest beer festival outside London, plus the Norfolk Comedy Festival running throughout October and November.

Norwich has an excellent choice of venues for a great night out. A multitude of new cafe bars, restaurants, nightclubs, and cinemas has recently burst onto the scene and with such a diversity of entertainment on offer Norwich has something for everyone, whatever their age.

For those with an interest in the arts, there is the 1300-seater Theatre Royal, which provides musicals, opera, ballet, drama and cabaret from top national and international production companies.

The Maddermarket Theatre offers local repertory in atmospheric Shakespearean surroundings whilst the Playhouse Theatre attracts contemporary theatre and music from all over the UK. Housed in a converted medieval church, Norwich Puppet Theatre is one of only two dedicated puppet theatres in England. You can see world-class art from the Tate and other international galleries at Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery and the architecturally stunning Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts.

Norwich also provides an ideal base to explore the Norfolk Broads, as well as the region¡¯s market towns and villages, coast and attractions. Blue Badge Guides are available for walking tours of Norwich. For the more adventurous, boat trips on the Norfolk Broads as well as city centre river trips make an exciting way of exploring the attractions of Norfolk.


Both of the above are well worth a visit, there are a number of National Trust properties and Gardens to visit in the area.

The Norfolk Broads – a singular noun, it denotes an area – is an artificial landscape. Left to its own devices, this area of shallow river valleys and the flooded medieval peat diggings which are the Broads themselves would be swamp – fetid in summer and non-negotiable in winter – rather than the bucolic, if seasonally crowded, holiday destination that it is today.

It looks the way it does because from the 18th century, the land was drained by a gradual proliferation of wind-powered drainage mills which lifted water into the rivers from a lattice of marsh dykes. By the early 19th century, over a hundred mills were working although supplementary steam pumps would shortly appear, to be followed in the early 20th century by internal combustion engines. It was the subsequent spread of the National Grid which led to the present day regime of electric pumps.

But while the wooden drainage mills of the more intensively cultivated Fens to the west have disappeared, many Broadland mills were brick-built and are still very much in evidence, converted to other uses or simply redundant and often derelict but a haunting reminder of times past. In the slate greys and muddy greens of a marshland winter between the lower reaches of the rivers Bure and Yare, their stumpy and now usually sail-less remains punctuate the flatness in a way which throws into the stark relief the world of the marsh men who attended them.

Some marsh men lived in their mills and a solitary existence that would have been, perhaps a mile – and often a difficult mile – from the nearest neighbour and more from the village, at a time when Broadlands roads were hardly worth the name,. True, when a mill was working and perhaps lived in, it would have had some life about it, and in summer, on land less waterlogged with a riverbank fringed with reeds and yellow flag irises, it might have made a modern day idyl. But the mills and marshmen still had to take what nature sent and they had to work hardest when nature was doing its worst.

Unfortunately, drainage mill history is a little sketchy, particularly that of the individual structures, but these were workaday machines and the concept of marsh drainage had anyway been around since the Romans tried to drain the Fens although the present day Fenland system of dykes dates mainly from the 16th and 17th centuries.

Drainage came later to Broadland partly because smaller land areas could not offer vast returns to venture capitalists. Broadlands mills began to appear probably when existing flap sluices were coping less well with increased tidal flows brought by river dredging, increased run-off from up-river land reclamation and perhaps rising sea levels. Some mills were built by individual landowners although the Enclosure Acts produced quite a few, often stipulating that a mill be erected and maintained by the local Drainage Commission.

The 1797 map produced by William Faden, geographer to King George III, shows most of Broadlands mills concentrated on the silt soils of the lower river valleys, rather than on the peat soils further up, only later would the peat be drained.

Mill design varied according to the land area served – the smaller the patch, the cheaper the design. Sometimes in the early days, even simple horse-powered scoops were used on the smallest plots although in the 19th century came the cheap wooden skeleton – or trestle – mill and the hollow post mill, both specifically for small areas of marsh.

The earliest of the more substantial mills are reckoned to have been of timber weatherboard structures of the `smock` design which also featured in the Fens. Many were duly replaced by brick mills on the same site, but even then in Broadland, cost remained a consideration. At the end of the 18th century, though better technology had developed, Broadland drainage mills mostly still had `common` sails covered in canvas and a single scoop to lift water from the marsh dyke over a low wall into a higher dyke or the river. When the wind changed, the marshman had to stop the mill and move the cap and sails by a long tail pole which stretched down from the cap. For that reason, early mills were relatively short.

But already, in 1745, Edmund Lee had invented the fantail wheel which, mounted at the back of the cap, kept the sails turned into the wind, and that was followed in 1772 by a sail developed by Scottish millwright, Andrew Meickle with parallel shutters which could be opened or closed according to wind speed.

The big advance however was the `patent sail`, introduced by William Cubitt, a Norfolk man, in 1807, which could be adjusted without stopping the mill. Thereafter, mills could be taller with longer sails and thus more powerful which explains why many towers in Broadland were heightened during the 19th century. They often have the tell-tale change from a conical to a cylindrical shape at the top though few Broadland mills built before 1825 apparently adopted the new technology in the post-Napoleonic War recession.

A further innovation, the turbine pump, came in 1851 with rapidly rotating vanes in a cylindrical metal housing which could lift half as much again as a conventional scoop wheel.


Today 72, mostly brick-built, mills survive in recognisable condition in Broadland. Some are close to a road and a majority are close to a river and thus accessible by boat even if mooring nearby isn¡¯t always be possible. And some are in dangerous condition. But many anyway are close to a footpath and can be reached by those able to walk a mile or two. And as this is holiday country, most villages have a decent pub for food and refreshment afterwards.

Three of the later and bigger mills have been restored (though none pumps water these days) and are open in summer. Horsey Mill, (OS ref TG456222) entirely rebuilt in 1912 and now owned by the National Trust, sits beside the B1159 and Horsey Mere at the north-eastern extremity of the Broads. Another at Stracey Arms (TG442090) beside the River Bure and the A47 between Acle and Great Yarmouth is owned by the Norfolk Windmills Trust.

The third, the late 19th century Berney High Mill (TG465050) on the River Yare at the south-western edge of Breydon Water, is maintained by English Heritage and, at 22 metres, is the highest working mill in the country. Not accessible by public road, it can be reached by the occasional train which stops at Berney Arms halt, one of the most remote railway stations in the country. Those who fancy a (dry weather) walk can stroll three miles along the Weavers` Way footpath across the marsh from Halvergate village or a little further from Great Yarmouth. The mill`s only neighbours are a farm house and an equally remote pub also open in summer.

Possibly the oldest survivor, dating from 1753, is Oby Mill, (TG409138) on the River Bure two miles above Acle Bridge. Clippesby Mill, half a mile downstream and now undergoing refurbishment is undated but of similar vintage. Further up river, the 18th century Benet`s Abbey mill (TG380158) stands in the ruined gateway of St Benet`s Abbey and was probably used occasionally for grinding seed when not shifting water. Several mills did other work during the summer months. This one, two miles south of the village of Ludham, can be reached by car along a signposted track.

Another old one, Brograve Level (TG 448236) dating from 1771, can be found on Waxham New Cut a mile walk north of Horsey Mill. Only two hollow post mills have survived, both restored to working order although not on their original sites. Palmer`s Mill was moved from near Acle in 1976 and now stands next to the dyke at Upton, (TG403129). Clayrack Drainage Mill was moved in 1981 from Ranworth Marshes to its present site beside the Ant at How Hill (TG369194), close to Boardman¡¯s Mill, built in 1897 and now one of only two surviving trestle mills.

The only surviving smock mill in good condition is Herringfleet on the River Waveney (TM465977) built in the 1820s, St Olaves Mill (TM458998) downriver below St Olaves Bridge is something of a smock/trestle hybrid. The fortunate thing overall is that the 72 survivors between them include examples of most types and that is mainly down to the fact that even at the end of the 19th century when steam had taken over in the Fens, Broadlands mills were still being extensively refitted and even built anew. Many were still operating at the start of the Second world War and that at Ashtree Farm (TG507095) on the river Bure, three miles above Yarmouth, was only abandoned when its sails blew off in 1953. It is one of a handful due for refurbishment.

The reason they worked for so long was that wind power was cheaper and it might have lasted longer in the Fens, too, were it not for the fact that the Fenland peaty soils shrank under arable use to the point where the land surface was too far below river level to be drained by wind power. Broadlands silt soils shrank less and remained mostly under pasture for which a higher water-table, more easily maintained by wind drainage, could be tolerated.

Add in the prevalence of brick construction and, even when out of work, their contribution to the Broadland landscape lasted those critical years necessary for public sentiment to rise sufficiently in their favour. Now with the Broads Authority, the Norfolk Windmills Trust, and many individuals on the case, their future looks reasonably secure.

9. Bird watching Tours in Norfolk & beyond

The Bird ID company ¨C

Tel – 01603 440967

E ¨C

Phone Stuart and book a bird watching tour, you will see birds, etc that you would not otherwise see.


10. Potter Wetland – New – situated opposite Moonriver

Aerial image on Exterior page

A new wetland has been created to optimise the habitat for rare breeding birds including Bittern and Marsh Harrier which require reedbeds for breeding and feeding.

Norfolk Wildlife Trust, has added 100 acres of wetland, including 50 acres of reedbed between the River Thurne and Candle Dyke near Potter Heigham, which is all opposite Moonriver.

This project at Potter Heigham was initiated by the Environment Agency to compensate for the anticipated loss of European-designated reed beds on the East Anglian coast due to future sea level rise and coastal erosion. To compensate, a perimeter bank and ditches with water control structures were initially constructed in 2013 and 2014 near the River Thurne by Fen Group.

As additional internal works were required to the area, William Morfoot Lt was appointed in August 2014 to further enhance the wetland habitat, which has since seen Marsh Harriers now using it for hunting, as well as sightings of Barn Owls and a Long-Eared Owl.

Tim Sisson, Managing Director of William Morfoot Ltd said: “We have successfully conducted works in wetland areas for numerous years. We were delighted when we were appointed by Norfolk Wildlife Trust and The Environment Agency to complete works at this important site in Potter Heigham.”

He added: “There are huge sensitivities around a project of this kind. Careful planning and working incredibly closely with Norfolk Wildlife Trust and The Environment Agency has enabled us to enhance the natural habitat for these rare bird species.”

As part of the five-week project, William Morfoot Ltd created seven open areas of deep water at the Potter reed bed creation site which link up to the internal perimeter ditch. The deep water pools are essential as they provide a safe area for fish, which become prey for the Bittern species.

Over 25,000m³ of soil was excavated in order to create the pools which are up to 1.5m deep.

The resulting spoil was spread over the neighbouring land in thin layers or in some cases as low ridges. The pools are now deep enough to prevent establishment by reeds so should stay open for many years.

Broadwood Conservation Management have planted more than 40,000 reeds around each of the seven pools to create the ideal feeding habitat for the Bittern species. The network of reed-filled ditches across the site will also aid in the spread of reeds to compliment the planting of the reed plugs, grown from Hickling reed seeds by British Wild Flower Plants, as the site wets up.

Nick Carter, Wetlands Project Officer at Norfolk Wildlife Trust said: “The additional works carried out will really make the site attractive to feeding Bitterns and creates large areas of open water. The creation of this new wetland will attract many additional bird species, not only the two target species of Bittern and Marsh Harrier, but also Bearded Tit, Water Rail, Reed, Sedge and Cetti’s Warblers and Little Egrets.”