River Yare – Brundall to Langley Dyke

The river through Brundall is one of the most developed areas of the Broads with boat building businesses and holiday homes. After Brundall the river becomes more open with views over the fen to carr woodland. Further downstream are extensive grazing marshes with big skies and views down to the sugar beet factory at Cantley.

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On the left are a number of boatyards including Broom Boats.  The old riverside shop here was demolished a few years ago to make way for new moorings. As the river straightens out there are a long line of holiday chalets.

At the end of Brundall Reach is Coldham Hall, moorings are available here for patrons. Next to Coldham Hall is the sailing club of the same name. On the left almost opposite Coldham Hall is Hobroughs Dyke, a distinctive new property, Flag House marks the entrance. The dyke leads to the many boatyards situated on the Riverside Estate including the hire base of Silverline Marine.  Moorings are freely available for visiting hire craft, space permitting.

Just after Hobroughs Dyke is Brundall Marina, this dyke is strictly private, no hire boats are allowed.

Brundall

Brooms Boatyard on the River Yare at Brundall
Brooms Boatyard on the River Yare at Brundall

The Riverside Estate at Brundall is a hive of activity, it grew up in the late 19th century although it has been suggested that the Romans could have been building boats here well before the end of the 4th Century.

Brooms of Brundall are probably the most well known boat yard on the Yare. It was after acquiring the Brundall based Norfolk Broads Yachting Company in 1898 that Charles John Broom started the Broom business. They started hiring sailing boats in 1912 and offered ‘skippers’ to sail the boats and do the chores.  After a long absence Brooms are again hiring boats through the Hoseasons agency for the 2013 season.

The chalets and holiday homes along the riverside estate were developed much later, from the 1930’s onwards. Many can be hired for a week or short break through one of the local booking agencies.

The main village of Brundall is on the hill a 15 minute walk away from the river. Business include a Budgens supermarket open from 8am to 9pm and the Lavender House Restaurant, run by local chef Richard Hughes and situated in a beautiful 16th century thatched building.

Brundall Station and The Yare pub are at the foot of the hill below the village. Regular trains to and from Norwich serve both Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft.

On the opposite bank is Coldham Hall, it first opened its doors to customers in 1820 and has close associations with the sailing club of the same name situated next to it. The hall has gone through many changes over the years and has been recently refurbished by its current owners, winning a number of accolades since it reopened. The hall’s lovely gardens overlooking the river include a sculpture of a seated wherryman. Opening hours are Monday – Saturday: 12pm – 3pm & 6pm – 11pm Sunday 12pm – 6pm.  Mooring is available for patrons.

At one time a foot ferry operated here, Harry Last who had a boat building business at Coldham Hall ran it for many years. Prospective passengers wishing to cross from Brundall would ring the bell on the jetty to beckon over the ferryman.

At the end of Brundall reach on the left is Hobroughs Dyke, the dyke is home to many of the hire bases situated on the riverside estate in Brundall.  The adjacent dyke is private for Brundall Marina only.

The river scenery changes on leaving Brundall, becoming more open with a mixture of fen and carr woodland. On the left is Strumpshaw Fen, the reserve is open all year and is a pleasant 30 minute walk from Brundall station.

There is a water ski zone from here to Buckenham Ferry.

On the right set back from the river is Wheatfen the home of the Ted Ellis Trust.

On the left up ahead is Strumpshaw Steam Pump House, one of the best of its type still surviving on the broads. On the right before the pump house is Fleet Dyke, which leads to Rockland Broad.

Fleet Dyke is narrow with a 3 MPH speed limit but it soon opens out onto Rockland Broad. On the right is a channel leading to Wheatfen Broad, this is very shallow and not navigable for hire craft.

Rockland Broad is very shallow keep to the marked channel across the broad. On the right is Boat Dyke leading to Rockland Staithe and around the dolphin to the left is Short Dyke, which leads back onto the Yare. Boat Dyke is very narrow, you should proceed dead slow past the moored boats until the head of the dyke is reached at Rockland Staithe. There are stern-on moorings at Rockland Staithe for 7 boats, with plenty of room for turning.

Rockland Broad

Sunset over Rockland Broad
Sunset over Rockland Broad

Rockland Broad is home to another wherry graveyard aptly named The Slaughters. As you crossed the broad you may have noticed little islands on the western side with trees growing out of them. They are in fact wherries sunk there after the Second World War, their timbers can still be seen at low tide.

There is a footpath around the southern end of the broad, it leads from Rockland Staithe to Short Dyke and is part of the Wherryman’s Way. There are extensive views from the footpath over Rockland Marshes towards the Yare. Over in Long Wood is an owl box, one of two erected by Rockland Wildfowlers Association. You may be lucky enough to see one of the Barn Owls hunting for prey over the marshes. Nearer to Short dyke is the RSPB bird hide over looking the broad. Birds spotted last year (2012) include Marsh Harriers, Hobbies, Red Kite and Osprey.

The broad catches the late evening sun, the footpath and Short Dyke make an ideal place for photographers to capture the sunset over Rockland Broad. A bench at the end of Short Dyke is an ideal place to sit and watch the sun go down.

Rockland St Mary

Rockland St Mary Staithe
Rockland St Mary Staithe

Rockland Staithe is at the head of Boat Dyke and has stern on moorings for about 7 boats. Water is not available but there is an electrical hook-up point. The staithe is pleasantly situated, trees border the staithe on one side, and on the other are views over a little dyke towards Rockland Marshes. A grassy area with benches overlooks the moorings while behind the staithe is an information point and the bones of an old wherry. Across the road is the New Inn, which at the time of writing (May 2013) has re-opened once again under new management.

A 7 mile circular walk from the staithe, part of the Wherryman’s Way, leads past The Ted Ellis Trust’s Wheatfen Nature Reserve to Coldham Hall returning via the ruins of St Saviour’s church at Surlingham. The reserve at Wheatfen is open throughout the year, there is no charge for entry however donations are welcome.

The Post Office Stores in Rockland St Mary is a 20 minute walk from the staithe. Turn right past the New Inn and up the hill.

Informal moorings are available along Short Dyke, turn left for Brundall and right for Cantley.

The river meanders towards Buckenham Ferry with extensive views over the marshes towards Buckenham Church and beyond to the sugar beet factory at Cantley.

On the right at Carleton St Peter is the Beauchamp Arms site of the Buckenham Ferry. Adjacent to the pub is a boatyard and the Buckenham Sailing Club. Moorings are available at the pub for patrons.

Buckenham Ferry

The Beauchamp Arms on the River Yare at Buckenham Ferry
The Beauchamp Arms on the River Yare at Buckenham Ferry

The Beauchamp Arms is under new management (March 2013) and as far as I can ascertain is still open, for further information they can be contacted on 01508 480247.

A horse ferry operated here until the 1940’s, on the Buckenham side stood the ferry house, the staithe and house has long since been demolished. A little further downstream is the Buckenham Ferry Drainage Mill. It was originally a four storey red brick built mill dating from 1823. A steam driven pump replaced it but no signs of it remain.

Shortly on the left past Buckenham Drainage Mill is Fleet Dyke (un-navigable) leading to Buckenham Broad.

The river meanders gently through Buckenham and Cantley Marshes, shortly on the right is Langley Dyke, 2 miles below Buckenham.

River Yare – Langley Dyke to Reedham Ferry

River Yare – Postwick Viaduct to Surlingham Broad