Discover the Norfolk Broads
A guide to 12 great days out in the unique environment of the Norfolk Broads compiled by people who live there

Discover the Norfolk Broads - A guide to 12 great days out in the unique environment of the Norfolk Broads compiled by people who live there

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Where are the
Norfolk Broads?

Day Eleven: Walk / Boat trip - Barton & Alderfen Broads

Exploring the Broads National Park on foot can be just as rewarding as spending time on the water, but our suggestions for this day out will combine both in providing differing perspectives of Barton Broad together with discovering a hidden gem of a Broad rarely visited. The route takes you on a circular walk of approximately 4 miles to discover Alderfen Broad owned and managed by the Norfolk Wildlife Trust; along a boardwalk to the very edge of Barton Broad; lunch at a traditional Norfolk pub; followed by an afternoon otter-spotting trip on a solar powered boat.

Start: Broads Authority car park, Long Road, Neatishead, nr Barton Broad
Ordnance Survey Explorer map OL40; grid reference TG351207

Cost Guide: £ - ££

Our recommended itinerary is as follows:

•   Drive to the Broads Authority car park for Barton Broad in Neatishead, signposted off the A1062 from Horning, or the A1151 between Hoveton and Stalham (1).

•   Follow the signposts from the car park along the footpath towards the boardwalk, emerging onto a quiet country lane.

•   After half a mile, you will come to the entrance to the boardwalk extending through the swampy woodland to the edge of Barton Broad (2) where you emerge from the trees to views over the Broad and its many species of birdlife.

•   The Broad itself has been the subject of a major water quality improvement programme in recent years, and it has become a flagship example of best practice across Europe.

•   To continue your walk, return to the road and turn left and walk on until you come to a crossroads. Turn right here and take the first left turn down another quiet country lane (3).

•   Follow this lane for just under a mile, past the first turning on your right and around a right hand bend to a junction with a ‘no through road’ sign to the right.

•   Take the footpath signposted almost directly opposite you (4) and find your way along the path, alongside marsh and dyke until you reach the information board for Alderfen Broad (5).

•   This is one of the hidden places of the Broads National Park, not signposted from the public road, and visited by very few people. A Nature Reserve acquired by Norfolk Wildlife Trust in the 1930s, there is a sense of peace and tranquillity here that is difficult to match elsewhere.
•   We recommend you take a few minutes to wander to the bird viewing hide and absorb the atmosphere before continuing with the remainder of the walk.

•   When you are ready to carry on, proceed up the long straight track directly opposite the Broad for a short distance, before turning right onto a footpath along a field edge (6).


•   Follow this path, turning left at the end and then right in front of the first property you come to. Continue until you meet a rough track, turn left and you will come back to the public road (7).

•   Turn right along the road, around the right hand bend and then take the first left turn and after a short distance you will see the car park on your right (1).

•   If you have brought a picnic, follow
the directions from the car park to Gay’s
Staithe, the mooring point for the Broad’s Authority’s solar powered boat, Ra, where there are a few seats and a
grassy area with views into Limekiln

•   Otherwise, drive the short distance into the village of Neatishead for lunch at the White Horse public house, a traditional Norfolk pub, serving several real ales and tasty home made food.

•   After lunch, round off your day by exploring Barton Broad from the water by taking a trip on Ra, Britain’s first solar powered passenger boat, affording the opportunity to learn about the history and wildlife of the Broad from an experienced Broads Authority guide, and with the chance to spot one of the otters that have re-colonised the Broad in recent years.

Young Family Option

The walk can feel quite long for younger children, so to shorten the trip, try just walking to the boardwalk and spending some time wildlife and bird spotting along the nature trail before returning to the car park and then to Neatishead for lunch.

Useful Norfolk Broads Contacts

Below you will find suggestions for accommodation, activities, attractions, food & drink and shopping.  All useful contacts while visiting the Norfolk Broads.




Food and Drink


Norfolk Broads Houseboats

The Norfolk Broads Houseboats are located in the picturesque village of Horning the heart of the Norfolk Broads. They offer an ideal base from which to explore the Broads and surrounding area, or to just sit quietly and fish or watch the world go by.

Wherrymans Way

You can walk the whole route or explore parts by cycle, train and river bus. Alternatively you can walk one of the ten circular walks enroute. Look out for the unique waymarkers, which include figures, sculpture, information panels and audio points.

Norfolk Windmills Trust

The Trust is responsible for twenty mills within Norfolk, and is financially and technically supported by Norfolk County Council.

White Horse Inn

Traditional Norfolk pub, serving several real ales and tasty home made food

Sutton Pottery

Small studio workshop in rural East Norfolk, established by Malcolm Flatman in 1977 in the Broadland village of Sutton, near Stalham. He uses the Potters Wheel and the fire of a gas kiln to create a large range of reduction stoneware entirely by hand.

Day One Day boat trip Wroxham to Coltishall – £££££
Day Two Walk / Wildlife watching Ranworth & Fairhaven Gardens – ££££
Day Three Walk / Seal watching Horsey Mere and Beach – £/££ - YF
Day Four Guided boat trip / Wildlife watching Hickling Broad & Sutton - ££££
Day Five Canoe trip Wayford Bridge to Neatishead, via Barton Broad – £££ - YF
Day Six Cycle ride and Picnic Clippesby to How Hill – £/£££ - YF
Day Seven Day boat trip Ludham Bridge to Neatishead via How Hill – £££££
Day Eight Walk / Wildlife watching Salhouse & Cockshoot Broads – ££
Day Nine Canoe trip Martham to Horsey – £££
Day Ten Learn to Sail from Hunter’s Yard at Ludham - £££££
Day Eleven Walk / Boat trip Barton & Alderfen Broads – £/££ - YF
Day Twelve Cycle ride Discover the Norfolk Broads in a Day - £/££
YF - Young Family option available

A cost guide is included for each day out, ranging from lower cost (£: free or up to £15) to higher cost (£££££: £80 up to £100). These costs are based on a family of 4
undertaking all the activities suggested and are accurate as at the date of publication.

"Left unmanaged, the Broads would revert to oak woodland over a period of around 25 years"

Wildlife Fact File
Lutra lutra

Few people are ever lucky enough to spot an otter in its natural habitat, but after many years of decline, they have been re-establishing themselves in the Broads in recent times, and several pairs have been spotted on Barton Broad over the past few years.

1. Wear walking boots or shoes, as parts of the walk can be muddy. As a result, the walk is not suitable for pushchairs
2. A good map is useful, ideally the Ordnance Survey Explorer OL40
3. The boardwalks at Barton Broad and Alderfen Nature Reserve are open all year round and are free of charge. For more information on Barton Broad visit www.broads-

and for Alderfen Broad see
4. Boat trips on Ra operate from April to October and there is a charge. In high season it is advisable to telephone in advance on 01603 782281 and prebook if you wish to take the boat trip.
5. The boardwalk at Barton Broad and the Ra solar powered boat are suitable for visitors with disabilities
6. There are toilet facilities at the car park and customer toilets at the White Horse pub

Click here to read The Three Broadsketeers blog

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Accommodation Activities Attractions Food and Drink Shopping What's On
and Events
Where are the
Norfolk Broads?

Discover the Norfolk Broads - A guide to 12 great days out in the unique environment of the Norfolk Broads compiled by people who live there