Bank Holiday Sunday saw us heading for Ranworth Broad. Storm clouds loomed and the weather forecast promised severe weather events. Despite the evidence of our eyes and the pessimism of the experts we packed a picnic and waterproofs. Mr CW and the juniors have never seen the Broads from a boat, as I grew up paddling and floating around them it seemed high time that this should change. Ranworth Broad is owned by the Norfolk Naturalist Trust and the only way to see it by boat is to board the electric Damsel Fly for a forty five minute voyage. We were lucky and caught the calm before the storm resulting in mirror calm water with amazing reflections.
Ranworth, like most of the Broads, is the result of peat digging in the Middle Ages. Shallow pits of between one and a half and four metres were flooded during the fourteenth century as the sea level rose. Ranworth Broad has been in private ownership since the nineteenth century and was given to the Norfolk Naturalist Trust in 1949 on the condition that access to boats would be restricted. Here you share the water with birds and not Broads cruisers or canoes, maybe that is why Ranworth Broad is the home to one of the largest inland roosts of Cormorants. Great Crested Grebes float by in every direction. It is rumoured that Kingfishers live here, but in fifty years of looking I’ve never seen one. Herons are easier to spot, as they conveniently stand very still!
We boarded the Damselfly at Ranworth Staithe as we didn’t fancy getting caught in rain but you can walk from the staithe to a magnificent floating information centre over looking Ranworth Broad and embark there. You walk along a board walk through the reed beds and alder carr. As luck would have it, the rain decided not to fall until the second we returned home.
Circumnavigation of Ranworth Broad; Adult £6, child £3
Ferry staithe to Ranworth Broad visitor centre; Adult £1.50, child £1 (one way)