The Norfolk Broads - 5 different ways to explore
Published: Sunday 20th Mar 2016
Written by: Betheny Ellis
To many, the Norfolk Broads is still a vast and mysterious landscape with large areas only accessible by boat with much of its mystery veiled in the fragility of its ecosystem.
Home to rare wildlife such as the huge Swallowtail butterfly, the booming and endangered Bittern and otters, it’s a landscape of huge international importance and one which doesn’t want to attract too much unwanted attention. But attention it gets and with the tireless endeavours of the Broads Authority working to protect this unique landscape, we’re able to enjoy its natural beauty in a number of interesting and environmentally friendly ways, ensuring that we leave very little impact in our wake.
With fresh air, wide horizons and clear, starry night skies, a holiday near, on or around the Broads is an unforgettable experience. Here are a few of our favourite ways to get out there and explore.
Paddle Boarding - Hickling
Infamously known as the biggest and wildest of the Norfolk Broads, Hickling is a haven for sailors, windsurfers, butterflies and now paddle boarders alike! You may normally associate paddle boarding with the tropical waters of Hawaii or California, but you don’t need hula hula skirts to enjoy this sport and the Norfolk Paddle Boarding Co. are proving just that. Based at The Pleasure Boat Inn, the team of expert paddlers offer lessons, tours and paddling for groups or individuals; it's a unique and peaceful way to explore the Broads and its waterways. Great for the core muscles too!
Paddle Steamer & Day Boat Hire - Wroxham
For something a little less out of the ordinary, the most popular and leisurely way to see the Broads has to be by boat. Wroxham, which is often coined the capital of the Broads, is THE place to get your day boat and nowhere does it better than Wroxham Boat Hire. Smart and smoothly run, their navy blue day boats offer the perfect way for friends and families to get out there and pootle along the waterways. Marvel at the wildlife and fine riverside homes as you quietly contemplate life as the reedbeds, herons and dragonflies drift past. For something altogether unique however, why not take a trip down the river on a paddle boat? The Southern Comfort departs Horning for a point up river. The 1 ½ - 2 hour trips give its guests an elevated view of the river and its wildlife and you can do it with a cocktail in hand.
Canoeing (Dilham Canal) - Wayford Bridge
Ahh, for the peace and quiet of a gentle paddle down a silent stream… You can find just this when you hire a canoe or Kayak from Wayford Bridge. Paddle out of the staithe and out on the river before finding yourself gently floating down the old Dilham Canal. Now left over to dragonflies, butterflies and birdlife (as well as the friendly cows grazing along the banks) this stretch of river is no longer navigable for other watercraft, making it a tranquil haven for paddling bliss. Perfect for any and every canoeist. A real hidden gem.
Fully Accessible Boardwalk - Barton Broad
Barton Boardwalk is an all access 1.5 mile wooden walkway through a lost world which has remained wild and isolated for half a century. Journey through mysterious trails winding around swampy carr woodland with plenty of resting places and tapping edges along the way. The real jewel of this walk is it’s destination… you are greeted by a surprise panoramic view over Barton Broad.
Wildlife Trips (seasonal) - Horsey Mere
Horsey is the closest broadland village to the coast and with just a hop skip and jump over the dunes, you can find yourself on the sand staring out over the salinated waters of the North Sea. Owned and managed by the National Trust, the mere and windpump are kept in fine order and there is no better way to see what Horsey Mere has to offer than by taking a wildlife trip aboard the vintage MV Lady Ann. Ross’ Wildlife Trips will take you on a voyage of discovery into the lives of the local flora and fauna. The skippers local and expert knowledge is enviable, leaving you feeling fully informed and a little closer to nature.
Unmask the mystery of this unique landscape and get out on the water to explore what all the fuss is about - you won’t be disappointed.