broadland from the air
T h e N o r f o l k & S u f f o l k B r o a d s
pictures by www.aerialcloseup.co.uk
THE NORTHERN RIVERS & BROADS
The Northern Broads busiest route is the River Bure that passes through Wroxham (the self-appointed centre of the Broads), Horning and Acle, and flows into the sea at Yarmouth. The River Ant flows south from Honing and Dilham, down past the Stalham junction above Barton Broad, passes Irstead, How Hill, Ludham Bridge, and flows into the River Ant. The River Thurne joins the Bure at Thurne Mouth and boats that can pass under Potter Heigham bridge can reach Martham, Hickling Broad, West Somerton and Horsey Mere.
Click area number i.e. 12 for a detailed river map, Click place names i.e. POTTER HEIGHAM for local information
Click here to download this map in PDF format > north-schematic.pdf
On each map page there is a link to the previous and/or following map page and any waterways that link to the selected map. Each map can be downloaded in PDF format by clicking on the .pdf or copied from the map page as a .GIF image (highlight CTRL C) and pasted (CTRL V) into a photo editor/viewer.
THE SOUTHERN RIVERS & BROADS
The Southern Broads main rivers are the River Waveney (this froms part of the County boundary) that winds it's way up from Suffolk, and the River Yare, that meets the River Wensum as it leaves the city of Norwich, then snakes its way across the flat reeded marshes to Breydon Water. The River Chet flows into the River Yare west of Reedham. The Haddiscoe New Cut links the River Waveney to the River Yare and makes a short cut avoiding the trip around the tidal flow on the River Waveney and River Yare at Breydon Water. Boats may pass across Breydon Water and into the River Bure to Yarmouth and the Northern Broads at low water only.
Click here to download this map in PDF format > south-schematic.pdf
The area known as "the Broads" was, in the days of medieval man, a vast flat area of bog land. The bog land was formed by the flooding of the rivers and vast marshes were comprised of peat. The peat was used by the Romans, the Saxons and the Normans, from the 9th Century onwards, they dug the peat and used it for cooking and heating. The peat harvesting became more organised during the middle ages and vast amounts were removed leaving large holes and craters spattered across the marshes. Peat-cutting rights were aquired by the monks of St. Benet's and as a result of making the peasants work for them, the monks became wealthy. Huge amounts of peat were cut and in the course of two centuries over nine million cubic feet of peat had been cut from the area. In the 14th century the sea level rose and the whole area flooded, and as the flood water eventually receded the peat diggings became the broads and their levels were maintained by the flowing rivers. Today there are over forty shallow lakes, linked by the rivers Bure, Yare and Waveney and their tributaries the Ant, Thurne and Chet. This makes a total distance of 200 kilometres of level waterways for lock-free navigation. From Norwich in the west to Lowestoft and Yarmouth on the East coast, north to Stalham and south-west to Geldeston, meandering rivers now have flood defences built along their banks. Beyond these defences are a plethora of wildlife. Herons are regularly seen, nature reserves abound, and many footpaths carve their way across the marshes and flatlands. Tourism via hire boats abounds, and on a summers day the rivers sometimes resemble a boat traffic jam as the luxury broadland boats chug up and down the rivers, their diesel fumes wafting across the marshes and their wake rustling the marshes main crop, the reeds used for thatch. The tourism industry has brought much needed work to the area and river centres, boatyards, marinas and eating places are a long way removed from the times when barges wound their way up to Norwich. The British Sugar refinery at Cantley once used the rivers to transport sugar beet and there is now talk of this once more happening with sugar being imported from the far east to make the industry a year long business. Sadly, with the increase in water levels, further discussion is occuring to flood some of the broadland villages to create a "safety valve" for the threatened flooding. With the steadily rising water levels, boats that once negotiated Potter Heigham bridge can no longer reach the picturesque and nature lovers haunt of Hickling Broad. You don't need a windlass (lock key) for the Broads - there are no navigable locks for hire craft. If you are in a yacht then the swing bridges open at regular intervals to allow you (and your mast) through. The rivers can get very busy in the summer holiday months with many hire craft hurrying from mooring to mooring. Remember, it's safer not to rush. There are speed limits on all the rivers and broads varying from 3 to 6mph and there are well posted speed signs for all to see - and yes, there are speed cameras, and beware, if you are caught you will be thrown off the river! Locals will thank you for going slowly through their moorings and villages. This prevents your wash damaging their banks, boats, moorings and property. The Broads are much healthier than they were in the previous century, the broads authority are winning the fight with pollution, protecting the teaming wildlife around the marshes and banks and keeping the water healthy for the fish. Careful management of your boat to prevent deisel, petrol and oil spillage and the safe disposal of waste product all helps in this process. The Broads are part of our heritage and may they remain so to be enjoyed by generations to come.