Friday, 29 July 2011

The River and The Broads


We went to Wroxham, which is not far from where we are based.  We drove at a crawl through heavy traffic, turned into a busy car park and walked over the bridge.  Then we looked at the crowds, looked at one another, turned and walked back to the car.  We may have been influenced by the weather as it started to rain but I think we were really having a fit of the hermits!

It is a shame as, although it was always busy, the last time we were here it was no where near as commercialised.  That’s what 20+ years does to a place.


All was not lost as we went on down the river to Horning, where Arthur Ransome’s  ‘Coot Club’ begins.


Here the river takes a broad sweep and, while there were plenty of boats, it was not any where near as commercialised and the atmosphere was more in keeping with ‘messing about in boats’…


The only frenetic activity was the ducks and geese squabbling over bread.



A large part of the river and the dykes which connect it to the Broads is only accessible by boat and this pseudo sternwheeler runs a tour service which turned out to be well worth the money.  The skipper gives a very knowledgeable commentary about the history of the area and the wildlife.


From reed bed


To thatch.


All along the river in the towns and villages are boathouses and moorings.


On the opposite side of the river, the moorings have no land access and have to row across the river to get to a shop or road.  Even the local churches have moorings for people rowing over to attend services.  This is where some people live on their boats.  So long as they move for a day and a night every so often they don’t pay council tax!


Once you leave the villages, the reed beds stretch as far as the eye can see. Ranworth Church, on the horizon, came nearer and then receded as the river wandered lazily round bends and twists.


Eventually we came close to Ranworth before turning for home.


Back in Horning, we had a coffee in the garden at The Swan. Smart restaurants often have parking attendants but here we find a mooring attendant.  The man in the blue shirt moors the boats for the visitors – just as well as we saw some very scary steering by day hirers.



We also watched this wherry set out from the local yacht club, hoisting its sails as it crept slowly and serenely down the river.  Once, these were the workhorses of the area but now they are pleasure boats.

It is an amazing area, very low lying.  We were 25 miles from the sea by the twisty river and only 1 foot (30 cm) above sea level.  One wonders what rising sea levels will mean to this lovely place.


  1. Very appropriate, those ducks & geese. After all, the Coot Club didn't only protect coots. :)

    Interesting seeing photos of places known only from Ransome.


Related Posts with Thumbnails