Saturday, 7 June 2014

Norfolk Broads - Wroxham

Wroxham is known as the Capital of the Broads (over 125 miles of navigable lock-free waterways set in beautiful countryside) , thanks to it’s great location and treasured history. It is however, two villages in one, Wroxham, which is mostly a residential village and Hoveton, which is the centre of business and tourism, the face of Wroxham if you will. These two villages are joined by Wroxham Bridge(pictured below) and footbridge, which allows vehicles and pedestrians access to each, without having to get wet in the River Bure that flows underneath. Wroxham was bustling with activity with many heading for Roys – 'the largest village store in the world'.Those who weren't headed for the water as Wroxham is the perfect place for boat hire, whether just for an hour or the whole day. Rather than hire a boat we opted for the leisurely 2 hour river cruise downstream.It was amazing to see so many picture postcard thatched residencies lining the riverbank, most of which appeared to be holiday homes. A Wherry is a traditional type of boat used to transport cargo or passengers on rivers and canals in the UK. They were particularly popular on the Thames and rivers of Norfolk and Suffolk. All types of wherry eventually became uneconomic to run, but a small number have been saved either by private individuals or charities. Most of the survivors can be seen sailing up and down the rivers and broads today, although some are awaiting full restoration. One of the largest wherries sailing on the Broads is the pleasure Wherry 'Solace'. She is usually found moored in Wroxham Broad in the summer, but is still in sailing order and immaculate condition. We took the 2 hour tour on The Cordon Rouge (Full open top deck), its a 1 hour cruise out and 1 hour back down to Salhouse Broad at a speedy snails pace due to strict speed limits and rightly so, good info and facts given out by the Captain who pointed out George Formbys Riverside Holiday home 'Heronby' at Wroxham. Lots of good wildlife spotting the highlight being the 'Marsh Harrier' that I saw. It was surprising just how vast The Broads are , apparently it would take 3 weeks to get round them if you are so inclined. Down at Salhouse Broad we saw the pride of the fleet 'The Queen of the Broads'. Salhouse Broad is a unique broad located on the River Bure between Wroxham and Horning. It is 40 acres in size and is part of the Broads executive area, a member of the national park family. Unlike most of the other Broads, which were created by people digging for peat in the Middle Ages, Salhouse Broad was created by sand and gravel extraction. As sea levels rose the diggings gradually flooded, forming the Broads.

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