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Norfolk & Suffolk Broads

The Broads system consists principally of tidal rivers over which there is a presumption of public right of navigation. 

Things to do nearby

Facts & Stats

110.7 miles

(177km)

The total navigable length of the main rivers and cuts in the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads.

1 lock

Navigable

There is only one navigable lock found  in the River Waveney, Mutford Lock in Lowestoft.

 

 

The Main rivers and cuts of the broads

Man-made dykes, channels and basins have been added to the main rivers and broads, and the legal status of some of these is unclear.

The main rivers and cuts comprising the Norfolk & Suffolk Broads are:

  • River Ant – 8.3 miles (12.2 km)
  • River Bure – 31.3 miles (50.3 km) with a further 9 miles (14.5 km) and 5 locks derelict
  • River Chet – 3.5 miles (5.6 km)
  • Haddiscoe New Cut – 2.5 miles (4 km)
  • Oulton Broad and Dyke – 4.5 miles (7.2 km)
  • Stalham Dyke – 1.6 miles (2.4 km)
  • River Thurne – 5.8 miles (9.2 km)
  • River Waveney – 21.6 miles (34.7 km), and 1 lock, with a further 4.2 miles and 3 locks derelict
  • River Yare – 31.6 miles (50.8 km)

The river Ant connects to the North Walsham & Dilham Canal, which is currently closed but under restoration. 

 

History

By the 12th century much of the woodland in this area had been cleared for fuel and building and over the next few centuries, peat was extracted in large quantities. The pits gradually began to fill with water, forming a wetland landscape rich in wildlife. The waterways were vital for communications and commerce. By the 16th century, Norwich was the second largest city in England after London. Goods from the city were exported world-wide through Great Yarmouth. The arrival of the railways brought competition for waterways transport but also brought visitors to the Broads.

Waterway notes

Maximum Boat Sizes

The maximum size of vessels that can use the Broads is not limited by locks (other than Mutford Lock), and craft with a height of 6′ 6″ (2 metres) and draught of 5′ (1.5 metres) can access most parts of the Broads.

Branch

Ipswich

Waterway news

Waterways in Progress Grant: Chesterfield Canal

£50,000 was awarded to Rewatering Renishaw Phase 1a project as part of IWA’s Waterways in Progress Grants.

Waterways in Progress Grant: Swansea Canal

IWA awarded £18,000 to the Swansea Canal Society’s Coed Gwilym Park Slipway Project as part of IWA’s Waterways in Progress Grants in 2019.

Waterways in Progress Grant: Wilts & Berks Canal

£13,960 was awarded the Shrivenham Canal Park Project as part of IWA’s Waterways in Progress Grants.

Waterways in Progress Grant: Ashby Canal

£10,000 was awarded the Ashby Canal Trail Project as part of IWA’s Waterways in Progress Grants in 2019.

Sustainable boating

We want boating on canals and rivers to be more sustainable and – even though the current overall contribution to UK carbon emissions is very small – we want to help reduce emissions on the waterways.

Local activities