Ranworth Broad

Ranworth Broad & Nature Reserve

The staithe at Ranworth BroadRanworth Broad is a great place to get a little taste of different aspects of the Norfolk Broads and on Sunday we went on a fact finding mission.  Actually, it was a good excuse to get out for a lovely walk and pretend that it was work!  Lots of guests ask us where to go to see the Broads and we often suggest Ranworth.  However, it's been a long time since we went and we were no longer sure about facilities etc.  It was a lovely sunny day so it was a good excuse to go and gather information.  I took my camera along to take a few photos too.

Ranworth is good from a visitor point of view as, most importantly, you can actually get there by car!  So much of the Broads is only accessible by boat.  The boardwalk means that it's accessible and easy walking so no special clothing or footwear is needed.  It has facilities such as parking, refreshments and toilets whilst still offering a very natural and unspoilt Broads setting once you get into the Nature Reserve.

Ranworth BroadAfter parking at the NWT (Norfolk Wildlife Trust) car park, you walk back to the Staithe where you will find leisure cruisers moored up.  The staithe Visitor Centre has leaflets about Ranworth, the Norfolk Wildlife Trust and other parts of the Broads.  Our first port of call was the Granary Stores & Tea Room where we succumbed to an ice cream.  It's fairly bustling here in season and across the road is the Maltsters pub.  This always seems to be busy too, with the outside seating area being popular in nice weather.  We haven't eaten there but we popped across the road and saw that they serve lunch and dinner.

The Visitor Centre at Ranworth BroadFrom the Staithe, we took the first part of the boardwalk leading to the Nature Reserve.  The boardwalk ends after a short while and then we walked on the very quiet little road for a few hundred meters until we reached the entrance to the Nature Reserve.  From the woodland entrance the walk is boarded all the way to the other Information Centre on the Broad.  There are information boards along the way which explain the terrains and what wildlife and flora are seen there.  You do have to stick to the boardwalk as it is very marshy and wet land.  It's very lush with growth and on our visit the wild yellow irises were in  flower and we enjoyed listening to the birdsong.

The path led us out of the woodland and into reedbeds before finally ending up at the Broad Visitor Centre.  This was closed when we arrived but we enjoyed the view from the small seating area outside and climbed up to the viewing platform for a different perspective.  It's beautifully peaceful and quiet there and the view is lovely.

You can take a ferry between the Visitor Centres or take a longer boat trail to explore the wildlife on the broad. For more information call 01603-270479

Ranworth BroadThen we took the walk back, taking a different branch of the boardwalk which took us back to the same road but just a little further on.

On the way home, we stopped at the Church of St Helens which is a short distance from the Broad.  The tower has a spiral staircase with 89 steps and 2 ladders to get to the top.  Apparently the view is amazing and you can see the River Bure and 5 broads from there.  However, not being good with heights, that's not for me!  You can tell me all about it!

 

How to Get There

Postcode for directions: NR13 6HT
Distance from Wedgewood House: Approx 12 miles
Entrance: to Nature Reserve: Free
NWT Parking located just after the staithe a few meters down the no through road
Suggested parking donation: £1

 

Halloween in Chapelfield Gardens

Spooky City for Halloween

“Spooky City” was a free event organised by Norwich council for Halloween and as far as I know, this was the first year they have done it.  I thought it was great fun.  Crowds turned out for it and lots of people and children got dressed up for it too which added to the atmosphere.

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home made yogurt

Home Made Yogurt

As part of the guest breakfast, we offer home made yogurts and I’m often asked for information about how to make them, what equipment I use and so on, so I thought I’d write this blog post as a reference point for those of you that are interested in having a go yourselves. I make mine with 2% fat milk (semi-skimmed) and this makes creamy yogurts which are mild, pleasant to eat and don’t need any sweetening.   If you do prefer your yogurt sweeter or fruity, just add a teaspoon of jam or honey. Continue reading

City Hall Norwich

City Hall Norwich

Nigel and I visited City Hall this week on a guided tour organised as part of the Heritage Open Days scheme. This scheme is a national one and it offers opportunities to see inside buildings or parts of buildings that are not normally open to the public. Obviously, as a public building, a lot of City Hall is in fact normally open to the public but today we got to see inside the Council Chamber, a committee room and the Lord Mayor’s Parlour, which I don’t think normally are.  We also had a guide telling us some interesting facts and some history about the building.

During our tour we happened to meet the current Lord Mayor who is Councillor Brenda Arthur and Nigel was allowed to hold and wear the mayor’s chains for a few minutes.  Nigel also got to sit in the hot seat of the Council Chamber!

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Ted Ellis Nature Reserve & Wheatfen

I love this place – it is probably one of my favourite spots in the Broads.  It’s hard to beat for peace & tranquillity and if you like nature, you’ll like it here as that’s pretty much all there is apart from a few benches here and there to rest and admire the view.  It’s a Site of Special Scientific Interest as it’s one of the few remaining areas of its type.  Have a look at the website to learn more about the reserve and why it’s so special, website at www.wheatfen.org.  

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Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens

We’re goin’ to the zoo, zoo, zoo.
How about you, you, you?
You can come too, too, too.
We’re goin’ to the zoo, zoo, zoo*

Sorry, couldn’t resist that! For my latest day out with my camera, I found myself with a friend and other photographers at Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens near Great Yarmouth. It was the first time I’d been to a zoo in many years and to be honest, I wasn’t sure whether I was going to enjoy it or not. Well, in a nutshell, I did!  Below is a gallery of photos of my day.  Click on any of the images to open up a lightbox where you can see a bigger picture and click on the arrows to navigate from one to the other (or swipe on a touch screen device).  The story continues below the photos.

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The Plantation Garden Norwich

A couple of weeks ago, I spent a lovely afternoon at the Plantation Garden Norwich.  It’s a little bit like a secret garden as its a bit tucked away but actually situated in the centre of the city.  Although it’s fairly small, it’s got bags of character and is laid out on many levels.  You can find out more about its history and the work that has been done to restore it on their website here: http://plantationgarden.co.uk/

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Fresh Apricot Jam

apricot jam
Having just made a new batch of apricot jam, I want to record the recipe for future reference and share it with you too, if you’re interested in that sort of thing!  The photo above shows it being used as a natural and fruity flavouring for a yogurt.  It’s obviously also good on toast or as a glaze for cakes or meats.

1300 g fresh apricot flesh (de-stoned weight)
125 ml water
juice of 2 fresh lemons (about 70 ml)
1 kg sugar

This made about 4 1/2 jars.

Chop the apricot flesh roughly and add to the preserving pan with the water and lemon juice. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15/20 minutes or until the fruit is soft. Use a potato masher to crush the fruit if necessary.

Add the sugar and stir continuously until the sugar is fully dissolved. Turn up the heat and boil vigorously for about 15 minutes until the jam has reached a suitable thickness or gelling point. Pour into sterilized jam jars and seal.

Tip – microwaving each lemon for a few seconds will allow you to extract the maximum amount of juice from the fruit.