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Cycling in the Broads

Broads top 5 cycle rides

Peter Howe, owner of Broadland Cycle Hire, one of the leading cycle hire operators on the Norfolk Broads, gives us his favourite cycle rides...

On the Broads I believe in slooooow cycling where you don't need speedometers, calorie counters, lycra or sweat! To cycle slooooowly you don't have to get your head down and speed along - you just sit upright and pootle along at whatever speed is good for you, and in whatever you happen to be wearing that day. Just cruising around means you can have a chat with other plodders and simply enjoy the ride!

Meandering through the Broads countryside on a slooooow cycle ride is not only relaxing but is also a great way to get to see the wildlife and to connect with the natural environment.

Here are five of my favourite cycles...

Broads by Cycle

Hoveton – visiting Neatishead, Barton Turf and Horning

Wroxham Barns

A pleasant ride along quiet country lanes starting from the cycle hire centre at BeWILDerwood, or in Horning where there is car parking. The route passes through the picturesque Broads villages of Neatishead and Barton Turf.

Refreshments are available at Neatishead at the White Horse pub or the community owned village shop. Nearby there is also access to the boardwalk and viewing platform at Barton Broad, one of the Broads Authority's flagship projects for improving water quality in the Broads.

You will pass the Radar Museum, Hoveton Hall Gardens and Wroxham Barns (above). This route also provides access to the Bure Valley cycle path to Aylsham.

Take a look at the route.

Stalham – visiting Ingham, Honing and Worstead

Museum of the Broads

A longer ride, with a variety of potential starting points, along quiet country lanes apart from a short section through Stalham.

This ride takes in some of the most peaceful and least explored parts of the Broads, including an off-road section of the Weavers Way long distance path offering the opportunity to visit the only lock in the Broads at Honing, together with the traditional weaving village of Worstead. You can also visit the Museum of the Broads (above) from this route, at Stalham Staithe.

Take a look at the route.

Clippesby – visiting Potter Heigham, How Hill, and Ludham

St Benets Abbey

A medium length ride along quiet country lanes, ideal for a family picnic, starting at Clippesby Hall or Ludham Bridge. Starting from Clippesby, the route crosses the River Thurne at Potter Heigham, a traditional and busy Broads boating centre, but then takes you into the peaceful countryside around How Hill nature reserve, managed by the Broads Authority. An ideal picnic site, there are also walking trails and boat trips (April to October), and a museum in Toad Hole Cottage. An optional spur leads to the historic ruins of St. Benet's Abbey (above) on the River Bure.

Car parking is available with permission at Clippesby Hall cycle centre and coffee shop, in Ludham, and at Ludham Bridge.

Take a look at the route.

Martham – visiting Thurne, Rollesby, and West Somerton


This is a longer ride with some sections on slightly busier roads, so potentially unsuitable for younger children.

It is an ideal ride to explore some of the many interesting churches to be seen in the Broads, with the route including those at Thurne, Repps, Martham, Somerton, Rollesby, and Clippesby. There are plenty of places to stop for refreshment and so it is an ideal all-day ride, with public car parking available at Thurne (above), and cycle hire available from Clippesby Hall.

Take a look at the route.

The Bure Valley Path and Coltishall


This is an easy 8 mile ride to the river at Coltishall Common, where you can watch the boats, feed the ducks, and sip a refreshing drink in one of the two riverside pubs – The King's Head and The Rising Sun. Further along in to the village is the Café called A Piece of Cake which is well worth a visit. The route also takes in a section of the Bure Valley Cycle Path, and you can extend your ride by going further along the path, even as far as Aylsham (9 miles). You can start the route in Hoveton where there is plenty of car parking at the Bure Valley Railway station or from the cycle hire centre at BeWILDerwood.

On the route you can also stop for an ice cream or a cream tea at Wroxham Barns and visit its local craft shops. Hoveton Hall Gardens is en route where you can enjoy light refreshments and a walk to the stunning lakeside gardens. (NB The Gardens are only open in May and June). Hoveton St. Peter Church, built in 1624, and slightly further down the lane from the Gardens, is also well worth a visit.

This is a really gentle ride for the inexperienced cyclist, with lots to see along the way.

Take a look at the route.