Monday, 25 October 2021

Norfolk Broads

 The Broads in East Anglia covers an area of 117sq mls (303 sq kms).  It is a network of navigable rivers and lakes in one of the flattest parts of the UK. The lakes, known as broads were formed by the flooding of peat workings. There are seven rivers and 63 broads that make up the Broads National park as it is referred to be the tourist board. It wasn't until the 1960s that research into the area discovered that the broads are not a natural feature but had been formed in the Middle Ages. Local monasteries had excavated peat to sell as fuel and when sea levels started to rise it flooded the area. Dykes and windpumps were constructed to control the flooding but they couldn't control the the rising waters. The reedbeds, grazing marshes and wet woodland are the result of all that peat excavation centuries ago.

Nowadays the Broads are used mainly for leisure purposes and attract lots of birdwatchers, anglers and people wanting to enjoy a leisurely trip on the water. It is very easy to hire a boat or kayak to take yourself off to explore the waterways.

I decided to take a trip around Oulton Broad on this boat - The Waveney Princess. The Waveney is the name of the local river. 

Out of the main holiday season the boat wasn't too busy and so I spent a few hours gazing out at the water and enjoying a very different kind of scenery.

The previous day I had gone for a walk along the riverbank but could not see the river because of the height of the reedbeds. The reeds are well over eight feet in height and are very dense in most places so the walk was not a success. 

A sharp bend in the river.

A dredger keeping the waterways clear and free from silting up.

There were many places where moorings were allowed for all the leisure boats.

Paddle boarding is becoming more and more popular.

It was interesting to see the gardens of some large, expensive houses on the way. It all looks very beautiful but I think I would be very concerned about the frequency of flooding these days.

Once the boat landed and we disembarked it didn't take long for the local wildlife to gather round.

Thursday, 21 October 2021



Waking up to a misty autumn morning always brings Keat's poem 'To Autumn'  to mind.

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness..

Friday, 15 October 2021


Southwold is a small sea side town in Suffolk, East Anglia. It was a town that I had wanted to visit for some time so for a few very sunny days last month I got my wish.  

There is a small harbour at the mouth of the River Blyth just 10/15 minute walk from the town. Small fishing boats and pleasure boats were moored along the river. It also had a smokehouse and a place to buy fish as well as a restaurant.

I walked to the end of the harbour and then turned inland to walk across the marshes to the town. The marshes have been managed for centuries as grazing marshes, using an elaborate system of dykes which drain out to the river at low tide.

One of the main features of the town is the mid 15th century church of St Edmund. It was built in 1430 and took 60 years to complete.

This is a 20th century statue of St Edmund in the niche above the door.

The church has a number of original features as well as numerous additions and renovations. The thick wooden doors welcoming you into the church are original. 

This baptismal font is one of the tallest in the country. Parts of it were hacked off by Cromwell's reformers. It was renovated in 1935. Behind the font on the wall you can see Southwold Jack.

This 15th century figure depicts a soldier of the House of York and dates from the Wars of the Roses (the period in which the church was built). He was designed to strike a bell on the hours and quarters.

The wooden roof is remarkable and full of colour as it would have been in medieval times. It was restored in 1867. 

There is a carved angel on the hammerbeams.

This rood screen dates back to 1480 and stretches across the width of the building. Angels, prophets and apostles were painted on the screen but many of the faces were scratched off by Cromwell supporters in the mid 17th century.

In the choir stalls are these wonderful carved figures dating from the late 15th century.

Richly decorated pulpit but I couldn't ascertain its age.

This is a more modern sculpture around the organ console. The organ dates from 1887 but the console from 1966.

This walnut chest with its decoration of a knight hunting a wild boar is at least 50 years older than the church.

There were numerous memorials in and around the church.

I left the church and wandered back through the town.

Another important building in the town  is Adnams brewery. There has been a brewery here for over a hundred years.

On the wall was an effigy of Southwold Jack

Unusual to see a lighthouse in the middle of the town but it is built on the top of the hill I suppose.