A day out at Ranworth Broad is spectacular
What makes a day out at Ranworth Broad along the Wildlife Trust Trail so spectacular is that the broad is off limits to the public, so you can see nature in all its undisturbed glory. Time seems to stand still in this not so little area of paradise in Norfolk. It is full of surprises, with something that’s sure to appeal to every member of the family whatever their ages. Grey herons back-lit by a dramatic sky, red kites whirling overhead while delicate swallowtail butterflies and a myriad of dragonflies float by, ducks and geese going about their business, a massive oak tree, maybe a splash of a kingfisher as it dives or an otter if you are luck enough…these are just some of the things on offer during a day out at Ranworth Broad.
Ranworth Broad makes for a great day out
It is a fine example of a Broad: a low-lying region in the East of England with wide, shallow lakes interconnected by rivers and small streams. It’s a place that insists you wind down for a slow ramble, or a bike ride, as there’s lots to explore spread across 3 hectares of peaceful and tranquil surroundings, or for a spot of fishing, if you fancy it. Arriving for a day out at Ranworth Broad by boat makes it even more special, especially as the day moorings are free for up to 15 stern-on boats at the boat marina and include water and shore power. Set at the side of a lovely village green, it makes the ideal destination for a boat holiday on the Norfolk Broads. You’d pay an awful lot more to take the kids out to see similar things elsewhere in England.
Arriving by car for a day out, Ranworth Broad visitors can park for free near Malthouse Broad.
From here, you encounter a boardwalk set high on 15 foot foundations, it wends its way across swampland, marsh grass and the Alder Carr to the Nature Reserve and Visitor Centre which seems to float over the broad, exciting for the little ones and not at all challenging, making it accessible to people with motability issues, or mums with buggies. You’ll find helpful staff to advise – particularly useful if you have children with you – they will help with showing them information relating to the wildlife, impressive biodiversity and the history of the broad; there are plenty of books available.
Visitors can look out across the water in the Visitor Centre, with its rooftop views, using the binoculars provided, or from the tower of St. Helen’s church (check opening times) and then take the ferry back to the village or walk back along the road at the side of the broad. The impressive church, known as The Cathedral of the Broads, houses one of the best surviving Rood screens from medieval times and a superb illustrated book of Psalms donated to the church in the 15th Century.
Visitors on a day out at Ranworth Broad can also opt to take a very reasonably priced 45-minute boat trip from the Wildlife Trust Centre around the Malthouse broad.
There’s small cafe serving delicious lunches which you can eat inside or at outside tables, if the weather is fine. Or drop into “The Maltsters” dog-friendly pub with a great kid-friendly menu serving pizzas; a shop selling basic provisions is located near the marina, ideal to pick up some essentials or maybe a few small gifts.
All in all, everything combines to make a day out at Ranworth Broad utterly memorable. A “must do” if you are in the area. Holiday makers love it so much they often visit more than once during their stay in Norfolk. No loo in the Visitor Centre, but there’s one at the church in the tea room, housed in a stable block conversion. Good disabled facilities and, to appeal to boat owners, there’s even a shower.