River Bure – Coltishall Lock to Wroxham

The Bure rises near Melton Constable and is navigable from Coltishall Lock to Gt Yarmouth a distance of 31½ miles.

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Coltishall Lock

Boats Moored at Coltishall Lock on the River Bure
Boats Moored at Coltishall Lock on the River Bure

There are informal moorings near Coltishall Lock, with the Recruiting Sergeant Pub & Restaurant just a short walk away. Further downstream is the Norfolk Mead Hotel with moorings for patrons (fee). This is a quiet section of the Bure. It is usually frequented by people unable to find a mooring at Coltishall Common but it is becoming more popular.

Coltishall Common

Coltishall Common Moorings
Coltishall Common Moorings

Coltishall offers good moorings at the common and is an attractive overnight stop. The nearby road into the village is busy, but set well back from the river. Along this short section of road are a number of houses with differing architectural styles. They vary from ultra modern to more traditional including some lovely Flemish style houses.

At Coltishall Common there are two pubs, the Rising Sun and the Kings Head. Next door to the Kings Head is a small but well stocked convenience store and Post Office. In the village you will find the recently refurbished Red Lion pub, a petrol station, fish & chip shop, supermarket, pharmacy and other businesses.

Downstream of the common you arrive at the old Anchor Hotel, now a private house. Anchor Moorings is on a horseshoe bend in the river, where water and moorings are available for a fee.

The narrow river meanders gently through this wooded, reed fringed section. Slow down to 3mph on reaching Belaugh.


Belaugh and St Peter's Church Moorings on the River Bure
Belaugh and St Peter’s Church Moorings on the River Bure

Belaugh with it’s attractive riverside properties is 2¼ miles below Coltishall. Here you will find a small staithe and a boatyard. The river is overlooked by St Peter’s Church and makes a place pleasant to moor. There are no pubs or shops but there is a post box nearby. At the small church staithe there is mooring room for one boat.

Downstream of Belaugh there is a much photographed view of the church. The Bure widens here but is very shallow on the village side.

The river now makes a long horseshoe bend, almost doubling back on itself as it passes through woodland. Hidden amongst the trees on the left bank is Belaugh Broad.

Castle Staithe at Caen Meadow

Castle Staithe at Caen Meadow
Castle Staithe at Caen Meadow

At Caen Meadow is a small staithe with free mooring. On the hill above is Wroxham Parish Church, the Castle Inn has long since closed and is now a private house.

Care is needed when leaving the staithe as the water on this bank is quite shallow. It is also popular with swimmers, another reason to keep well clear!

On the right just before Wroxham is Bridge Broad, a small broad with an exit back onto the main river nearer Wroxham. The river now meanders left then right, where on the left bank are the Hoveton Viaduct moorings ( Photo bywww.TourNorfolk.co.uk). This is a good place to moor to go into Wroxham or to lower your canopy and windscreen for the bridges ahead. If you do wish to go into Wroxham follow the path alongside the river and under the railway bridge and along the boardwalk and into Wroxham.

The river flows under the Railway Bridge, with a boatyard on the right, and the Hoveton stern-on moorings on the left, moorings are also available for patrons of the nearby Kings Head.

Wroxham & Hoveton St John

Wroxham on the River Bure
The River Bure at Wroxham

Wroxham is considered to be the capital of the Broads, and is where boating holidays started in the late 1800’s. It has become quite commercialised over the years with hotels, tea-rooms and gift shops springing up near the river. The village on the left bank of the river is actually Hoveton St John, Wroxham being on the right, but they have both come to be known as Wroxham.

There is a good range of shops here, but the most famous is Roys of Wroxham, probably the largest village store in the country, it is open seven days a week, and even has a McDonalds in store.

Hoveton Staithe beside Wroxham Bridge
Hoveton St John Staithe

Just behind Hoveton St John staithe is the Broads Information Centre where information is available for attractions both on and off the river. Next to the staithe is the riverside park, the area includes a bridge across a dyke and a boardwalk linking with the moorings at Hoveton Viaduct, facilities for small boats to be launched are also provided. The owners of the land Roys of Wroxham have donated the land and provided funds for the parks development.

The Bure Valley Railway is situated just beside the main station, listen out for the sound of the steam engines. The home of the railway is Aylsham, where you will find a souvenir shop and restaurant. The nine mile journey takes about 45 minutes. A little further afield is Wroxham Barns a craft centre, just north of Wroxham, it has displays of rural crafts, with workshops where you can see some of the crafts being made. There is also an award winning restaurant, picnic area and fun fair.

Wroxham Bridge and Granary Staithe
Wroxham Bridge and Granary Staithe

Downstream of Wroxham bridge is the Granary Staithe, used as the bridge pilot pickup point and Hotel Wroxham. Opposite the Granary Staithe is the Wherrymans Cafe Bar and Broads Tours day boat hire base.

Wroxham Bridge is now in sight, keep to the right here heading down stream and slow down as the semicircular road bridge has only 7 ft 3 in headroom at average high water. Check the height gauge at the side of the bridge or if advised by your boatyard use the services of the bridge pilot. Water levels on the Broads are rising, at certain times of the year the clearance under the bridge can be severely restricted. Check for boats coming the other way and when it’s clear proceed through the centre of the arch. Move well over to the right after passing through, to avoid boats maneuvering to line up with the bridge.

Passing through the bridge the river opens up, with the Hotel Wroxham on the left. Developments of holiday homes, apartments  and the few remaining boatyards line both banks but the scene is still very attractive with mature trees and lawns to offset the new buildings.

A little further on riverside cottages and lodges line the banks, long gardens sweep down to the waters edge, large houses can just be glimpsed through the trees. Swans, Geese, Mallards and even Gulls often gather here, tempted by tasty titbits thrown from passing boats. You may be lucky enough to see the wherry Ardea at it’s mooring. Soon the trees close in and Wroxham is left behind.

River Bure – Wroxham to Cockshoot Dyke