Ranworth 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.
After 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.
From 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
Then 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