What better way to enjoy the peace and tranquillity of the Broads than by canoe. Here are ten places to begin your adventure…
Considered by all as one of the prettiest and most accessible Broads. Fantastic for canoeing either as a sheltered area off the main river for first timers or a start point for a trek further down river to Horning or Ranworth. Rough camping is available adjacent to the Broad, making Salhouse the perfect base for your canoeing adventure. Tel: 01603 722775 or 07795145475.
When taking a canoe trip from Barnes Brinkcraft at Wroxham you can choose between going upstream to Coltishall passing through beautiful quiet countryside and maybe taking in a pub lunch, or downstream to Salhouse Broad, where you can moor and stroll to the famous Woodforde’s Brewery and the Fur and Feather Inn. Tel: 01603 782625.
Bank Boats is at Wayford Bridge, between Wroxham and Stalham, at the top of the Northern Rivers, close to the Broads’ only canal: North Walsham and Dilham Canal. No motorised craft are allowed on the canal, creating a peaceful, enchanting place with an abundance of flora and wildlife, including water lilies, otters, herons, kingfishers, marsh harriers and swallowtail butterflies. Tel: 01692 582457.
Burgh St Peter
Hire a canoe from Waveney River Centre and explore Oulton Broad and the edge of Carlton Marshes Nature Reserve. Look out for otters, kingfishers, marsh harriers and the Norfolk hawker dragonfly. Five star camping and camping pods are available to hire as well as canoe launch facilities. Book a canoe or pitch online. 01502 677343.
From Herbert Woods you are perfectly located to explore the tranquil northern reaches of the River Thurne. Paddle silently along dykes and Broads that cannot be accessed by motor cruisers and visit Hickling Broad Nature Reserve to view the Broads’ unique plants and wildlife, in particular bittern and the swallowtail butterfly. Of course, the infamous bridge is much easier to traverse in a canoe. 08001444472.
This gentle stretch of the Waveney is suitable for (almost) all ages with a canoe from Rowan Craft. The paddling is quiet and easy going with a choice of spots to picnic or riverside refreshments at two pubs or the nearby town of Beccles. There’s a wealth of wildlife: kingfishers, deer & owls are regularly sighted and even the occasional otter. Good water quality shows the fish below you, with lilies and dragonflies in season. Tel: 01508 518208.
A beautiful, untouched part of the Northern Broads with many corners to explore. The edges of the Broad and surrounding area are only accessible by canoe, so it is the perfect opportunity to get away from the world and see something special. Tel: 01692 598314.
Situated on the Suffolk-Norfolk border near Bungay, this has been the perfect canoeing venue for the last 30 years. The River Waveney is a tranquil place to paddle and drift, enjoy the beautiful water meadows and its wonderful wildlife with lovely clear water. With no motorised boat traffic, it is an excellent place for beginners. Camping is available. Tel: 01986 892338.
From Martham Boats both Horsey Mere and Hickling Broad are ideal places to see Norfolk’s many rare species including the beautiful swallowtail butterfly, marsh harrier, Norfolk hawker dragonfly, leopard reed moth and the elusive bittern. For refreshments try the Pleasure Boat public house next to Hickling Broad or Horsey Mill which has a small shop. Tel: 01493 740249.
Sutton Staithe Boatyard is situated on the upper reaches of the river Ant at the end of navigation, making the water still and calm yet full of wildlife. Within 100 metres of the boatyard is Sutton Broad which is an important RSPB reserve with an abundance of birds. Tel: 01692 581653.
All areas listed above are members of the Broads Canoe Hire Association www.canoethebroads.co.uk. If you have your own canoe/ kayak and wish to launch at one of these areas, contact one of the centres for more details on launching and accessibility. For canoe hire, contact the centre at your chosen location for more information, or to make a booking.