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Pictures of The Norfolk Broads

a National Park in the county of Norfolk


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About The Norfolk Broads

A trip to the Norfolk Broads is to experience a little bit of paradise where the most beautiful sound, is the sound of silence. It is a tranquil area of numerous reed fringed lakes, linked by winding rivers and sparkling little streams, to form a vast expanse of inland waterways and wetlands. Voyaged by narrow boat and other pleasure craft, the Norfolk Broads is essentially a mecca for naturallists and the fine scenery of the broads is best appraised from the comfort of your floating home.

The area known as The Norfolk Broads National Park is bounded by Kings Lyn, Cromer, Felixstowe and Cambridge and access to the Broads from the sea, is gained through the harbours of great Yarnmouth and Lowestoft. During the heady summer months, river traffic on the Broads can sometimes be quite frantic but if you visit in late spring or during the late, hazy days of summer, you get to see this very special place, clothed in all its dazzling beauty.

Blakeney Point is a long arm of shingle and sand, jutting into the sea from the coast like a curling whip. On its landward side there are salt-marshes and sandbanks where seals can be spotted basking in the warmth of the sun. It is an area dominated by migrating birds that thrive in the wilderness of the marshes and thickly grassed dunes. Along the shore-line and in the land beyond the sea there is a rich variety of wild flowers and sea plants, sea lavender and sea asters grow in great profussion and there are sightings of scarlet pimpernel, sea bindweed and ragwort. Blakeney Point is cared for by the National Trust as a nature reserve and unlike most of the Broads, parts of this lonely place can be reached on foot. Although the nature reserve continues to be the major attraction, Blakeney village is quite enchanting. It is an old village, mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086. These days, village and harbour are the haunt of boating enthusiasts.

Favoured places for bird-watching include; Titchwell Marsh, Snettisham and Holme Bird Observatory. Cley-next-the-Sea is also home to a variety of wildfowl with most of the marshland of the area belonging to the Norfolk Wildlife Trust who also own and manage Hickling Broad, the largest and perhaps the most scenic of all the Broads. Hickling Broad offers fine opportunities for sailing and fishing. Among the wader pools you can spot black terns and redshanks, in the reeds there can sometimes be a sighting of bearded reedlings-these birds have colourful long tails, very like a pheasant. That glorious butterfly, the swallowtail, which has a 3" wingspan, lives and thrives amongst the habitat of Hickling Broad.

For a fine seaside resort on the Broads, you could do no better than lively, Great Yarmouth, with its seemingly endless sandy beach, piers and family entertainment. The town was mentioned in the Domesday Book and has attractive buildings from its illustrious past. The Maritime Museum tells much of the seafaring history of Great Yarmouth and surrounding coastal villages. Sea fishing trips are on offer and there is boating and fishing on the River Yare, from which the town takes its name. On the landward side of the Yare, there is the old Berney Arms Windmill and an RSBP site. For lovers of Horse sports there is a Horse Race trach in Great Yarmouth.

The coastal village of Bacton has the ruins of a 12th-century priory. A short trip inland leads to delightful Bacton Woods, owned by the Forestry Commission. There is an interesting waymarked walk which takes you through lovely dells and hushed, thickly wooded areas of fine species such as birch and chestnut whose glowing greens are in stark contrast with dark green, lofty pines. Autumn brings a blaze of glory as cedars change from green to red. The larch woods echo with the sweet sound of bird song, fluttering amongst the trees you will often spot Goldcrest, Warblers and Blue tits. Bacton Woods offer recreation activities for all the family; there are organised treasure trails for children, demonstrations on birds of prey and tutorials on outdoor survival skills and in December there is even the opportunity of meeting Father Christmas in the woods! There are delightful picnic areas and if you are lucky, on a quiet stroll you might catch sight of Badger, Fallow Deer, Squirrels or a fast moving Hare.

Mostly, for the many, the Norfolk Broads are all about sailing its fine rivers and uniquely beautiful freshwater lakes. It is a diverse region of magnificent land, sea and waterscapes whose far horizons and glorious sun sets have moved artists to record the scenic beauty of this fabled land for posterity. In the land wedged between the waters are fine towns and lovely villages just waiting to be explored. In the midst of it all, standing as proudly as any sentinel is ancient Norwich Cathedral. The building was started in 1094 and it is one of England's most beautiful cathedral churches. Norwich is a lively, cultural city, rich in historical content. It has buildings from almost every period and a museum reveals much of the city's history and shows interesting relics from the past.

The beautiful Norfolk Broads is an area graced with much beauty and charm, the only challenge for the visitor is to decide what to do, or where to go next. Wherever you are, be it on land, sea or broad, round every corner the eye encounters fresh wonders that heighten the senses and refresh the soul, and as you sadly leave, your spirits rise for there is a magic in the crystal clear waterways and sun kissed ocean, that will call you back, time and time, again.

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