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Wil Pretty's trip to the Norfolk Broads

I visited the broads last in Chica in 1995 and so thought it was about time to revisit in 2011.

Like Holland, you do not need to take your mast down, however if you do not you are restricted to the southern part of the Broads. i.e.  the River Yare and its tributaries, R Chet and R Waveney. You can tour the mast up area in 3 days of motoring/ sailing but it is much nicer to spend a week. There are several sailing clubs with sailing cruisers and race start boxes and quite a few craft are sailing, also large numbers of Hire boats.

A weeks broads licence for Chica cost £48. There are free broads mooring areas in about 10 locations and there are another 10  associated with riverside pubs, free if you use the pub. There are marinas for those that would prefer that.

You enter the broads via two lifting bridges at Great Yarmouth. They open together about 10.00 and 16.00 each day. You need to phone them the day before to book. The swing railway bridge at Reedham opens every 20 minutes. All are on VHF 12. There are no locks. The tidal range is about 1 Metre and the water is 2-3 metres deep. As the river is mainly fresh water you need a holding tank or a porta-loo. Diesel and petrol can be obtained from marinas, there is a fresh water tap at Reedham.

On the way there I stopped at The Walton Backwaters and Southwold, on the way back at Great Yarmouth, Deben, Brightlingsea, Pyfleet. The river ebbs very strongly at Great Yarmouth and so the overnight stay there was not very comfortable.

Wil Pretty

Chica moored in the Norfolk Broads
Chica moored in the Norfolk Broads

Sailing on the Broads

Scrawny Heron
Scrawney Heron

Egyptian Goose
Egyptian Goose


Date Published 6th Aug 2011