Yare, Norwich &
The River Yare Navigation, situated in the Broadlands
of East Anglia, is more than just a single river. Its course from Norwich to the sea consists of the River
Wensum, the River Yare, Thorpe New Cut, Breydon Water and the Yare Estuary (including Great Yarmouth harbour
and docks). The navigation also has numerous branches in the form of dikes, cuts, other rivers (such as the
Chet) and even a canal (Haddiscoe New Cut).
Today, the area known as the Norfolk Broads is one of Britain's most
popular holiday destinations though the Broads themselves provide only a part of the attraction. Norfolk has a
whole network of rivers which connect the Broads to each other, to local towns and to the sea. These rivers are
now festooned with hire boat bases and marinas and the riverbanks are flanked by hundreds of holiday cottages.
Before the holiday onslaught arrived there was a thriving commercial trade which often provided small
communities with their only means of transport.
The heart of the Broads network is Great Yarmouth and, in particular,
Breydon Water where the River Yare, River Waveney and River Bure all meet to run into the sea.
Although all of the above rivers were important and very busy, it was
the River Yare which became the most important as it connected the city of Norwich to the sea at Great
An Act was passed to allow the Great Yarmouth Commissioners to levy tolls and
make improvements to the River Yare. In the main this was dredging work as the
River Yare was badly silted.
However, although some river
improvements were made and Great Yarmouth Harbour was redeveloped, the River
Yare continued to suffer from silting.
Further Acts were needed in
1722, 1747 and 1749 but none of these cured the problem. In the main,
the fault lay with the Great Yarmouth Commissioners who, after receiving
each Act, spent most of the money on refurbishing their own harbour while
neglecting the river and its staithes (wharfs).
Traders along the River Yare, especially at
Norwich, were very unhappy about the state of the river and when yet another Act was sought by the
Commissioners the traders made sure that legislation was made stating that money raised from tolls should be
divided accordingly between Yarmouth Harbour and the River Yare Navigation. Norwich was
granted 3/20ths of the toll receipts in order to improve navigation between the city and Hardley Cross while
the Commissioners were ordered to spend 5/20ths on the river from Hardley Cross to Great Yarmouth. At first the
completed work made great improvements to navigation though this turned out to be short lived. In the following
years the river soon silted up again.
Meanwhile, a plan was put forward to connect
the Norfolk Broads (via Norwich) to King's Lynn on the distant River Great Ouse. This was at a time when
Norwich desperately wanted good supplies of wool from the Midlands. Later, another plan was put forward to
connect Norwich to the River Great Ouse near Downham Market (south of King's Lynn) to tap into the corn and
wool supplies of Northamptonshire, Huntingdonshire and Cambridgeshire. Sadly, neither of these plans ever saw
the light of day.
Once again the state of the navigable route
between Great Yarmouth and Norwich was in a poor state. In particular the wide stretch known as Breydon Water
was very shallow. The men of Norwich, led by Alderman Crisp Brown, decided that they had had enough of the
Great Yarmouth Commissioners and asked engineer William Cubitt to survey the river with a view to improving the
navigation themselves. He reported that the easiest and cheapest remedy was simply to dredge a brand new
channel across the south of Breydon Water and then dredge the whole of the river above Breydon
Cubitt's report was made public and the Great
Yarmouth Commissioners immediately raised objections. They feared that changes to the river, and especially to
Breydon Water, would seriously effect their harbour. John Rennie was called in to make a report on their behalf
and he agreed that changes to Breydon Water would cause serious silting to Great Yarmouth Harbour.
This led the tradesmen of Norwich to ask Cubitt to make a new survey,
this time with the intention of bypassing Great Yarmouth altogether. Cubitt suggested the construction of a
brand new cut from Reedham on the River Yare to Haddiscoe (near St. Olaves) on the River Waveney. A few miles
upstream of St. Olaves the River Waveney connected to Oulton Broad (via Oulton Dyke), he suggested these could
be made navigable, along with Lake Lothing, allowing vessels to enter the river network from the sea at
The cost of this plan was estimated to be twice that of Cubitt's first
plan but it was decided that this would be the better route because it would take away Great Yarmouth's
monopoly and control over both river and coastal cargoes. Better still - it would allow coastal vessels to
travel all the way to Norwich, turning the city into a "sea port". Thomas Telford expressed his view on the
plan, telling Norwich and Great Yarmouth that he thought the original plan would not harm the harbour at all.
But by this time Norwich were determined to bypass Great Yarmouth and control their own trade.
Away from the main trading route eastwards to
the sea, other men were planning an extension which would take the navigation some 15 miles west of Norwich to
East Dereham via the conversion of the small River Tud. A subscription list was opened but, presumably due to
lack of interest, no more was heard of the idea.
After a number of years of planning, an Act
was sought to allow the setting up of the Norwich & Lowestoft Navigation Company.
Proposals were made to deepen the River Yare between Norwich and Reedham, build a 2½ mile canal from Reedham to
Haddiscoe, enlarge Oulton Dyke, create a short link between Oulton Broad and Lake Lothing and another from Lake
Lothing to the sea. Before the Act was granted, a fairly large inquiry was held which included evidence from
numerous top civil engineers of the day. These were William Cubitt, Alexander Nimmo, William Chapman, James
Walker, Benjamin Bevan and Thomas Telford. In the end the Bill was rejected due to the successful objections of
Great Yarmouth and the owners of local marshlands who had been easily convinced that the new navigation would
have devastating effects on their livelihood. Within a few months a new Bill was submitted to Parliament but
again it was defeated by Great Yarmouth who spent £8,000 in securing the Bill's rejection.
A third attempt was made to put the Bill
through Parliament. This time, rather than just promoting their own route, the projectors also brought evidence
attacking Great Yarmouth. It was claimed that hundreds of pounds worth of goods were lost every year through
theft or damage while being transhipped at Great Yarmouth Harbour. It was also argued that goods such as coal
would have their price considerably reduced if the monopolising transhipment at Great Yarmouth could be
avoided. This time the Act was granted and great celebrations were held in Norwich when the announcement was
made that the tradesman had at last overcome the opposition from Great Yarmouth. Later, during Autumn, Alderman
Brown cut the first sod of the new navigation.
The first part of the route to be completed
was a ¼ of a mile section linking Lake Lothing to the North Sea at Lowestoft.
The double-gated sea lock and sluice
connecting Lake Lothing to Oulton Broad at Mutford bridge was completed.
A new harbour was opened at Lowestoft and this completed work on the eastern section of the new navigation. The
work completed so far had cost far more than expected and it was obvious that Cubitt's estimate of £100,000 for
the whole route would be well below the actual final cost. The company applied to the Exchequer Bill Loan
Commissioners and received a grant of £50,000.
Thanks to the extra money, the canal cut between Reedham and Haddiscoe was completed. Over the following year
the River Yare was dredged and deepened.
On September 30th, the 32 mile
Norwich & Lowestoft Navigation was opened. However, the opening ceremonies did not
pass without a hitch....
The tug Jarrow had been due to meet a small fleet of boats at the
entrance of Haddiscoe New Cut to tow them in a precession to Norwich. Jarrow had been moored at Great Yarmouth
Harbour but when it attempted to move upstream the Great Yarmouth Commissioners refused to open Yarmouth
The captain set about cutting down the tug's funnel and this
eventually allowed it to pass under the bridge. However, by this time the tide had dropped and left Breydon
Water too shallow to allow Jarrow to pass! Meanwhile another tug, Susanna, was bringing a small fleet of boats
from Lowestoft to Reedham where it was due to meet Jarrow. However, Susanna got no further than Haddiscoe
because it had inefficient engines and had run out of coal!
The opening celebrations had to be held over until the next day when
several boat loads of VIP's sailed downstream to meet the other vessels at Reedham. The plan was for the whole
fleet to travel upstream into Norwich but when the Captain of Susanna learned that his boat would not be
leading the procession he refused to take part at all and cast off - leaving the scene.
This left a number of vessels with no tow so the son of the master of
the boat City Of Norwich took a rowing boat onto the river in order to tie his boat to the tug Squire. Sadly,
as he reached Squire he lost his balance, banged his head on the tug, knocked himself out, fell into the river
and drowned. Despite all this, the celebrations were said to be "memorable" and reminiscent of the many canal
openings of the 1790's.
The Norwich, Lowestoft & London Shipping
Company were the first carriers on the new navigation and for the first few years the new route
appeared to be doing well. However, it soon became clear that revenue from tolls was far less than the outgoing
cost of operation and maintenance. Because of this the company were unable to pay back the money owed to the
Exchequer Bill Loan Commissioners.
The arrival of railways in the Norwich area
ended any hope of overcoming the company's cash crisis. With no sign of any repayments being made, the
Exchequer Bill Loan Commissioners took control of the navigation with the sole intention of reselling it to get
their money back.
Sir Morton Peto bought the Norwich
& Lowestoft Navigation from the Commissioners. However, putting boats on the waterway was not
among his top ideas. He was intending to build a railway and the elimination of all waterborne competition was
foremost in his thoughts. He also had a number of plans to develop industry around Lowestoft
The people of Norwich - who must have been
very dismayed after losing the waterway they had fought so hard to acquire - attempted to acquire it again by
putting a new Bill through Parliament. Once again it had its objectors and for no apparent reason (other than
old time sake) these included the Great Yarmouth Commissioners. Objections were so strong that the Bill was
Morton Peto, who also owned Lowestoft Railway & Harbour Company,
leased the navigation to the Norfolk Railway Company who later became Great Eastern Railways. By this time, due
to no maintenance whatsoever, the navigation was beginning to decay, Lake Lothing had silted up and the sluice
at Mutford bridge was proving inadequate. Most traders on the River Yare began to use the original route to
Breydon Water and Great Yarmouth Harbour, avoiding Haddiscoe New Cut and Lowestoft altogether. This brought
about the end of commercial traffic (in any large quantity) on the Norwich & Lowestoft
Navigation just 15 years after it first opened.
A Mr. Botterell gave a lecture in Norwich,
promoting the idea of a ship canal from the city to Great Yarmouth. He was keen to turn Norwich into a large
port and also promoted the idea of creating a massive naval base, 11 miles downstream of the city, on Rockland
Broad. His plan was to extend the broad from 60 acres to 400 acres and then move the base at Woolwich in London
to the River Yare. The scheme was never put into practice.
In the early years of the 20th century a new type of boating began to
take over in the Broadlands. More and more pleasure craft were using the waterways and the Broads soon became a
very popular holiday destination. Soon there were hire boat bases and boat yards on just about every inlet and
at almost every staithe.
Loddon, on the River Chet Branch of the River
Yare Navigation, saw its last waterborne trade. Since this time the River Chet has been used
only by pleasure craft.
Bad floods near Reedham caused great damage
to the banks of Haddiscoe New Cut. The British Transport Commission (run by the Government) now controlled the
cut but rather than repair the damage they proposed to close it down.. However, they clearly did not expect the
onslaught which resulted from the proposal as thousands of people (especially those from the many yachting
associations) protested and the Government were forced to keep the cut open.
Haddiscoe New Cut was transferred to the East
Suffolk & Norfolk River Board (later the Anglian Water Authority) though there has been very little
commercial trade on it since this time (or for many years before). The cut does however provide a very popular
short cut from the River Yare to the River Waveney for thousands of pleasure craft every year.
Today The River Yare, between Norwich and Great Yarmouth, has continued to be used commercially since Petos'
take-over in 1848 to the present day. Coal trade ended in the 1960's but a small number sea-going coasters
still carry goods on the river. However, even though commercial trade is now very small, the River Yare is
actually busier today than it has ever been due to the ever growing popularity of pleasure boating on the
Back to Top
Yare Navigation Route
The River Yare is probably the least attractive of all the Broadland
rivers, it also has less features and less villages than the other rivers. The main reasons for this are its
size (it is a much larger waterway than the other broads rivers) and its continued commercial trade. The Yare
Navigation is the only surviving commercial waterway in the Broadlands, large ocean-going vessels can still be
seen (albeit just once a week now) carrying oil to Cantley.
It is not possible to walk the whole route and access points are
scarce, roads are few. The best way to see the Yare (without a boat) is to visit the villages and towns along
the route. A number of pubs are also dotted along the riverbank, some of which are quite isolated.
In its favour the Yare Navigation has the attractions of Great
Yarmouth, the harbour and docks and central Norwich. It also has numerous branches and links to a number of the
The River Yare flows into the North Sea at Gorleston-On-Sea (grid ref
TG534037), some 2½ miles south of Great Yarmouth town centre. Heading upstream it runs north west (almost
parallel to the coast) into Great Yarmouth. In Great Yarmouth the docks are busy with sea-going vessels, a ship
spotter could spend many enjoyable hours watching the comings and goings. A main road (South Quay) runs right
alongside the river just to the west of Yarmouth town centre.
Following the route of the river upstream it is crossed by Haven
(lift) Bridge (TG521075) in the centre of Great Yarmouth. About 500 yards further north the River Bure flows in
from the north (TG518079). The Bure is the most popular of the Norfolk rivers and is also the link to the River
Ant and River Thurne.
Beyond the confluence with the Bure, the Yare curves left, under
Breydon Lifting Bridge, into the wide expanses of Breydon Water (TG516080). Although Breydon Water is wide, the
navigable channel is fairly narrow and is marked by coloured posts which create a straight line close to the
southern bank. The channel runs south westerly for about 3 miles until Breydon Water narrows and reverts to a
normal river. As it does so, the River Waveney flows in from the south (TG471052) near Burgh Castle. The castle
is actually a Roman fort which is described in the River Waveney page.
The River Yare Navigation continues south westerly from the junction
with the River Waveney and immediately passes the remote Berney Arms on the northern bank (TG465049). This can
only be reached by boat or on foot and is home to the tallest wind pump in Britain.
The next 3½ miles continue in a generally south westerly direction
though the river meanders a fair amount across the flat and featureless landscape. There are no villages or
settlements on this stretch though the Seven Mile House pub is situated about ½ way along on the north bank
(TG445028). Again there appears to be no road access. Beyond the pub is a stretch used by water skiers which is
followed by Reedham Junction where Haddiscoe New Cut arrives from the south east (TG426014). This cut is a
canal built as part of the Norwich & Lowestoft Navigation.
Beyond the junction the Yare now heads generally west and runs through
Reedham (TG419016). In the village the Lowestoft railway crosses the river on a huge swing bridge. The Ship Inn
is just beyond the bridge, as are a long line of houses, a gift shop, a boat yard and the Lord Nelson pub - all
of which face the river on its northern bank. A road (called Riverside) runs along the bank and there are
mooring points and car parks situated on this road. There is nothing (apart from fields of reeds) on the south
bank and there is no access to that side of the river. Reedham is a very pleasant village.
To the west of Reedham is one of the Broads' most famous attractions -
Reedham Chain Ferry (TG407014) which carries the B1140 over the river. This is the last surviving car ferry on
the Broads and it is still well used as it is the only road crossing on the River Yare throughout the 25 miles
from Breydon Bridge in Great Yarmouth to Postwick Viaduct Bridge in Norwich. It is pulled back and forth across
the river by chains and can carry 2 cars per journey. There is a pub, a wind pump and a campsite close to the
ferry. The river is higher than the surrounding land in this area, almost like an embankment on a man made
canal. The ferry is a strange looking thing but well worth the £2.00 it costs to take your car across (20p per
pedestrian or passenger - driver goes free!).
Within ½ a mile of the ferry, the River Yare Navigation turns and
begins its north westerly journey towards Norwich. As it does so, the River Chet flows in from the south west
at Hardley Cross (TG401011). The River Chet is navigable for about 3 miles into Loddon (TM362990), on route it
passes Hardley Flood Nature Reserve, Pyes Mill picnic area and numerous hire boat bases. In Loddon there is a
basin and just beyond the head of navigation (at the road bridge) is a water mill which straddles the river.
The best access to the River Chet is in the centre of Lodden. There is a car park beside the marina on Bridge
Back on the main line, the River Yare Navigation meanders around
Hardley Marshes, passing (on the south bank) the entrance to Hardley Dyke (TG390016) which is about ¼ of a mile
long and now used exclusively for private moorings. Another water-skiing stretch is just beyond the dyke and
about 1½ miles further upstream is the village of Cantley (TG382034) which is situated on the north bank. You
cannot fail to see the huge Cantley sugar beet factory as you travel around this area, it is visible for many
miles across the flat marshlands. It stands right on the water's edge and was served for many years by river
wherry but carrying via the river ended in the 1960's. There are moorings immediately beyond the factory in
front of the Red House pub. Although this is a pleasant location the view from the pub is somewhat restricted.
A small flood embankment sits right in front of the building with the river out of sight on the other side.
Tables and seats have been placed on and around the embankment, affording a good view whilst your thirst is
quenched. Cantley is reached via the minor roads to the west of the B1140 (Acle to Reedham road).
Another 2 mile stretch of water-skiing starts straight after leaving
Cantley and within this 2 miles is the entrance (on the south bank) to Langley Dyke (TG368029). Like Hardley
Dyke, this is ¼ of a mile long and heads south westerly. Unlike Hardley Dyke, this one is open to the public
and has mooring points at its head. There is a road junction (Langley Green and Staithe Road) near the head of
the dyke (TG363026). The Wherry pub is close to the road junction and just to the north west is the ruined
About 2 miles further upstream is the Beauchamp Arms (TG350044) which
stands on the south bank. This large pub is reached on Ferry Road. Buckenham passenger ferry connected Claxton
(on the south side) to Buckenham (on the north). There are good views of the river from the pub garden and
there are moorings for boaters.
Another mile north west brings the River Yare to Rockland St.Mary (on
the south side). Here a short dyke named... Short Dyke... leaves the river in a south westerly direction
(TG339052). It runs for nearly ½ a mile into Rockland Broad (TG332050) which is very shallow and marked with
buoys to show the navigable channel. In the south west corner of this small Broad is the entrance to Boat Dyke
which is ¼ of a mile long and curves south to Rockland Staithe which was once a busy wharf (TG328045). Today
there are boat moorings at the staithe which is situated on Low Road. This road heads east out of Rockland St.
Mary and passes the staithe near the New Inn pub. The pub is strict about non-patrons using its parking spaces
but there is a public car park (almost hidden) just west of the pub on the north side of the road.
On the north edge of Rockland Broad is Wheatfen Broad which is not
navigable but is home to the Ted Ellis Nature Reserve. Heading north east out of Rockland Broad is Fleet Dyke
which runs for ¾ of a mile back into the River Yare about ½ a mile upstream from the entrance to Short
Less than ½ a mile further upstream, Strumpshaw Fen Nature Reserve is
situated on the north bank with Strumpshaw Steam Museum close by. Both of these are reached via the minor roads
running south east out of Brundall.
Within another mile, the river reaches the small town of Brundall. Two
dykes leave the river, running parallel to each other in a north easterly direction. The first is Brundall Bay
Marina - used for private moorings. The second is Hobros' Dyke which has numerous small inlets going off it
which are home to dozens of hire boat companies and boat yards. This dyke runs for about ½ a mile and then
takes a sharp left turn, coming to a head within another 300 yards (TG329079). There is a car park near the
head alongside Brundall Yacht Club, a pub and Brundall Railway Station, these are reached via Station Road
which heads south from the centre of Brundall. Hobros' Dyke and its many inlets, numerous boat yards and
holiday homes can be seen by walking south from the car park. Strictly speaking this is a private lane with the
boat yards on one side and holiday homes on the other. Eventually the lane comes to a dead end at the final
boat yard where Hobros' Dyke makes a junction with the River Yare (TG325071).
Across the River Yare, directly opposite the entrance to Hobros' Dyke
on the south bank, is the Coldham Hall Inn (TG324071). The pub is/was home to a Penyano, a very rare form of
entertainment resembling an early form of jukebox. It is actually a clockwork barrel-organ which plays 6
different tunes on the insertion of an old penny. The inn is reached on a lane called Coldham Hall Carnser to
the north east of Surlingham. It is situated on a bend in the River Yare which is the start of a 2¾ mile loop
around The Outmeadows. This loop (and Brundall) can be bypassed by using a 1½ mile short cut which begins
shortly after the Coldham Hall Inn. The short cut heads west for ½ a mile on Surlingham Dyke (TG325073) and
enters the south east corner of Bargate Water. On the west side of this lake is Birds Dyke which heads north
for ¼ of a mile back into the River Yare on the west side of Brundall. Close by (south of the river) is
Surlingham Broad (TG310076) which used to be closed to boats and used only as a nature reserve though it was
reopened to navigation a number of years ago.
The navigation now begins to curve south westwards and after one mile
it passes the Ferry House pub, Surlingham passenger ferry and Surlingham Church Marsh Nature Reserve
(TG308075). These are all situated on the south bank and reached via Ferry Road, heading north west out of
Surlingham. Meanwhile, Postwick Wharf (TG307075) is directly opposite on the north bank and can be reached via
Ferry Lane, heading south east out of Postwick.
After another 1½ miles the river curves right, around Postwick Marsh.
The settlement of Bramerton is on the southern crest of the bend. Here there is road running for several
hundred yards along the waterfront (TG292061). As well as houses and other buildings, the large Woods End
Tavern faces the river (and serves very nice meals)!
Heading north west once again, the River Yare Navigation is now on its
final stretch into Norwich. After about a mile the river is crossed by the first bridge since Breydon Bridge at
Great Yarmouth. This is Postwick Viaduct Bridge which carries the fairly new A47 dual-carriageway - there is no
access to the river.
Past the bridge the river swings west with hire boat centres on the
north bank and a picnic area with car parks at Whitlingham Country Park on the south bank (TG268078). This is
reached on Whitlingham Lane which is north off the A47 about a mile south of Postwick Viaduct
The Yare now turns sharp right and then meanders alongside the country
park for about 800 yards until it comes close to the railway line into Norwich (TG264082). Here there is a
junction where the Yare splits into two. To the left (heading west) is the "new" River Yare (known as Thorpe
New Cut), this is now the main line. Straight ahead (north west) is the original waterway (known as Thorpe Old
River). This passes under a fairly low railway bridge and immediately turns west to run parallel with the new
river. Between the two waterways is an island on which is a hire base and the railway. The new cut was not
built to shorten the navigation but was created by the Norwich & Lowestoft Railway Company in 1844 when,
apparently, they needed to build bridges over what is now the Thorpe Old River at a very low level. They were
faced with the choice of either installing swing bridges or creating the new cut. They opted for the new
The new cut continues to run alongside Whitlingham County Park while
the old river passes the Kings Head pub and the attractive village green of Thorpe St. Andrew (TG259083). There
are grassy banks right along the old river at Thorpe and there are plenty of parking places on the A1242 which
runs along the northern bank.
After just 900 yards the old cut rejoins the new (TG254081), emerging
from under the second Thorpe Railway Bridge. Less than ½ a mile further upstream is the confluence with the
River Wensum at Trowse Mill Junction (TG250078). Although the River Yare takes the navigable route from Great
Yarmouth to Norwich, above the confluence with the River Wensum the Yare is shallow and not navigable. The
River Wensum is the bigger of the two rivers here and it is it which takes the navigation into the city,
through Trowse Swing Bridge (TG245076) which carries the main line railway to London and Carrow Road Lift
Bridge (TG238077) which carries the A147 over the navigation. On the north bank of the Wensum at Carrow Road
bridge is Norwich City football ground.
The A147 (Riverside) clings to the east bank of the River Wensum as
both curve northwards for about 900 yards to Norwich railway station and the Complete Angler pub where Prince
Of Wales Road bridge crosses the river (TG238084). This is the main road into Norwich city centre which is just
a few yards to the west.
There are a few parking places on Riverside (along the east bank of
the Wensum) and there are lots of other car parks within easy reach. The road looks directly down onto the east
bank of the river with good views all the way along this stretch which lasts about 600 yards from Prince Of
Wales Road bridge to Bishop Bridge (TG239089). Between the bridges the navigation passes Norwich Yacht Station,
Pull's Ferry and Norwich Boat Hire. The ancient Pull's Ferry (TG238087) is an extremely attractive spot, once
used as the waterborne entrance to Norwich Cathedral. It can be seen from Riverside (road) but can only be
reached on the west bank. Bishop Bridge is the oldest of Norwich's 10 river crossings, it carries Bishopgate
(road) directly to Norwich Cathedral.
Beyond the bridge the River Wensum is closed to hire boats but can be
navigated by private craft for one more mile, curving left to New Mills (TG226090) in the north west corner of
the city centre.
Back to Top
Norwich & Lowestoft Navigation Route
Lowestoft does not have a river estuary running into the sea - it has
a lake! Lake Lothing was connected to the sea in 1828 and then connected to Oulton Broad one year later. At the
seaward (eastern) end of the lake (grid ref TM552926) their are two harbours with Lowestoft Bridge (on the A12)
crossing the lake between the two. The lake is about 1¾ miles long heading directly west (upstream) from the
Carlton Railway Swing Bridge and the A1117 (Mutford Lift Bridge) cross
the navigation at the point where Mutford Lock links Lake Lothing to Oulton Broad (TM520927). The double-gated
sea lock is the start (or head) of navigation for hire boats. Oulton Broad is a popular place, its banks are
home to a museum, a number of pubs and restaurants, shops, holiday homes, a swimming pool and numerous picnic
areas. The broad itself is home to yachting, skiing, powerboat racing and a number of trip boats. With all this
going on it can't be easy to navigate a hire boat across it!
One mile west, across Oulton Broad, is the entrance to Oulton Dyke
(TM501929). This heads north west for about 1¼ miles and then runs into the River Waveney (TM500943). To the
south west (upstream) the Waveney is navigable through Beccles to Geldeston while the route of the Norwich
& Lowestoft Navigation heads north (downstream) on the Waveney. The river meanders downstream in a north
westerly direction for 4 miles towards St. Olaves, passing Somerleyton Staithe (TM475970) on route. At the
staithe is a short inlet used as a hire boat base.
At St. Olaves the River Waveney heads north easterly (after a bit of a
meander) towards Great Yarmouth but the Norwich & Lowestoft Navigation leaves the river just south of St.
Olaves and heads dead straight for 2½ miles along Haddiscoe New Cut - which is actually a rather broad canal.
After about ¼ of a mile the A143 crosses the cut, this is the only
road access along this stretch. The bridge is a huge new fly-over though the original road, and the site of an
old swing (or lift) bridge can be driven to, right to the edge of the canal. There is a pub beside the site of
the removed bridge but sadly it was boarded up when I was here in 1997. In fact, St. Olaves on the whole looks
somewhat run-down. Old pictures from the 60's & 70's show a thriving holiday town but at the moment it is
somewhat drab and deserted. About ½ a mile after the road bridge, the River Waveney curves right alongside the
eastern bank of the cut for a hundred yards or so.
The cut appears to be somewhat featureless with no pubs, mills or
villages along its straight route. The Lowestoft railway line clings to the western bank while a footpath runs
along the eastern bank. It may also be possible to drive along this path as it appeared to be a wide track (at
the St. Olaves end at least).
At the far end of Haddiscoe New Cut the navigation joins the River
Yare, just east of Reedham, to head upstream to Norwich
Back to Top
Great Yarmouth Docks (TG521075), seen from South
Quay (road) just south of Haven Bridge.
Berney Arms (TG465049), on the north bank,
reached only by boat or on foot from Berney Arms railway station.
Lowestoft, Lake Lothing (TM552926), crossed by
the A12 in Lowestoft.
Oulton Broad (TM520927), off the A1117 beside
Mutford Lock & Lift Bridge. Oulton Broad is a resort in its own right with pubs, restaurants and other
St. Olaves, Haddiscoe New Cut
(TM456988), reached via the old main road which used to cross the cut on a swing bridge. This
road is now a dead end with plenty of parking room at the waters edge. Also at St. Olaves is the River Waveney
which has a footpath along its eastern bank.
Reedham (TG419016), Riverside (road) runs along
the northern bank. There are two pubs, a gift shop and parking places on the waterfront.
Reedham Chain Ferry (TG407014), situated on the
B1140, the Broads' last surviving vehicle ferry. There is a pub with outside tables on the north
Loddon Basin (TM362990), on the River Chet in
the centre of Lodden. There is a car park beside the marina on Bridge Street.
Cantley (TG382034), on the north bank, beside
the huge Cantley sugar factory reached via the minor roads to the west of the B1140 (Acle to Reedham
Langley Dyke (TG363026), on the south bank,
there is a road junction (Langley Green and Staithe Road) near the head of the dyke and The Wherry pub is close
to the road junction.
Beauchamp Arms (TG350044), on the south bank,
reached on Ferry Road to the north east of Claxton.
Rockland Staithe (TG328045), on the south bank,
situated beside the New Inn on Low Road which heads east out of Rockland St. Mary. There is a public car park
(almost hidden) just west of the pub on the north side of the road.
Brundall, (TG329079), on the north bank, there
is a car park near the head of Hobros' Dyke alongside Brundall Yacht Club, a pub and Brundall Railway Station,
these are reached via Station Road which heads south from the centre of Brundall.
Coldham Hall Inn (TG324071), on the south bank,
reached on a lane called Coldham Hall Carnser to the north east of Surlingham.
Surlingham Ferry and Surlingham Church Marsh Nature Reserve
(TG308075), on the south bank, reached via Ferry Road, heading north west out of
Postwick Wharf (TG307075), on the north bank,
reached via Ferry Lane, heading south east out of Postwick..
Kirby Bedon (TG292061), on the south bank,
reached via a minor road north off the A146 south east of Norwich.
Whitlingham Country Park (TG268078), on the
south bank, Whitlingham Lane, north off the A47 about a mile south of Postwick Viaduct Bridge.
Thorpe St. Andrew (TG259083), on the north bank,
there are parking places on the A1242 (Yarmouth Road) which runs along the northern bank of the Old Thorpe
Carrow Road Lift Bridge (TG238077), on the A147
in Norwich. The bridge is very busy and parking nearby can be difficult due to the close proximity of Norwich
City football ground. Most parking is for permit holders only.
Norwich Riverside (TG390892), the River Wensum
runs parallel to the A147 (Riverside) close to the centre of Norwich. There are a few parking places on this
road with other car parks close by.
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