Boating Holidays in Norfolk - Ranworth Broad and Malthouse Broad

Picture (c) by John Ashley Photography
The nature trail is open all year. At the edge of the Broad the Broadland Conservation Centre is moored a unique floating visitor centre with exhibitions, information and super views from its gallery. 

The reserve can be visited by following signs from Malthouse staithe. from the entrance a 450 metre nature trail meanders through oak woodland, swamp carr and open fen to the edge of the Broad and offers a chance to glimpse some of the wildlife that this area is famous for.

The two broads are surrounded by fen, which years ago was regularly cut for thatching material, mainly sedge. Dykes were cut from these sedge beds to the nearest stretch of river to allow the produce to be boated away. 

Ranworth 'Dam' was one of these dykes. Today only a few sedge beds remain in commercial production with much of the area having become dominated by alder and willow. 

The Trust has restored most of the sedge beds and cleared the dykes. Regular mowing now keeps the beds open and ensures the survival of rare fenland plants and animals.

The open water is a refuge of birds such as teal, shoveler, pochard, gadwall, tufted ducks and wigeon. As many as 400 cormorants have been seen here and this forms the largest island roost of its type in the British Isles. Summer visitors include common tern, kingfisher, swallow, coot, swan and snipe. 

During the war wherries were sunk on some of the larger broads to deter enemy hydroplanes from landing. Many of those at Ranworth are now submerged but in 1964 a wherry and two coal barges were sunk in an attempt to reduce erosion by wave action. They are still visible along the eastern edge. 

A ferry boat also operates from the staithe and tickets can be obtained from the information centre. Refreshments are available. The Visitor Centre houses a photographic display.
Picture (c) by John Ashley Photography