The second largest of the Norfolk Broads and subject to substantial improvement around the millenium
An Introduction to Barton Broad
Barton Broad is the second largest of the Norfolk Broads and was subject to substantial improvement around the millenium. A multi-million pound project was undertaken by the Broads Authority aimed at restoring the silting broad to clear water. The project on the whole has been a success and Barton Broad is once again a real boating paradise and does not suffer from shallow water like other broads. Barton Broad is home to numerous wildlife, including many species of birds, fish and even otters, who have returned to the broad following the clearwater project. An annual sailing regatta is held every August at the Norfolk Punt Club, who have their clubhouse in the middle of the broad! Please note that the Broads Authority no longer offer boat trips on Barton Broad.
We start our tour of Barton Broad at the top, where the channel branches left to Barton Turf and right to Wayford bridge, Stalham & Sutton (the River Ant). Between the 2 channels is an island called the 'Heater'. The edges of Barton Broad contain many small bays and they make a great place to drop the mud-weight and put the kettle on or get the out the rods for a spot of fishing.
The top of Barton Broad - left Barton Turf, right Stalham and Sutton
Moored on Barton Broad
Barton Broad Sign - Clear Water Project
Fishing on Barton Broad
At one time, Barton Broad would have been a popular route for trading wherries, but now it is a boating paradise and an ideal playground for all kinds of craft, including cruisers, dinghies, canoes's, kayak's or rowing boats. Many youngsters can claim to have learn't to sail on Barton Broad and they would be in good company, as it is claimed that a young Nelson also spent time sailing here, while visiting his elder sister who lived at nearby Barton Hall.
A Norfolk Wherry sailing on Barton Broad
Steam launch from the Museum of the Broads
Sailing on Barton Broad
Topper Sailing on Barton Broad
Kayaking and Canoeing on Barton Broad
Barton Broad is home to the Norfolk Punt Club, who have a pontoon anchored in the middle of the broad and they organize racing for a wide variety of craft and has some 550 members. It tries to maintain its original ethos of informal, economical and gentlemanly sailing combined with a love of the beauty of the local environment. In addition to weekly racing there are a number of Open Events held throughout the season and each August, the Club holds its Open Regatta, attended by sailors from all over the Broads racing a wide variety of boats.
Sailing Races on Barton Broad
A Norfolk Punt
Norfolk Punt Club Pontoon
Sailing Cruisers Racing on Barton Broad
The Nancy Oldfield Trust, based in Neatishead, also have a pontoon on Barton Broad and they offer sailing (and other pursuits) to those with disabilities. Whilst teaching in a school in East London, Richard Kenyon, a qualified sailor, had an idea of teaching life skills to handicapped children through sailing. He decided to act upon his idea and in 1984, the Nancy Oldfield Trust was born. The Trust provides sailing and other water-based activities for the disabled, both mentally and physically handicapped adults and children. See their website for more details.
Nancy Oldfield Trust Sailing
Nancy Oldfield Trust Pontoon
Barton Broad is also a popular place to see the local wildlife, in particular birds. Look out for Swan, Pochard, Geese, Coot, Great Crested Grebe, Mallard, Heron, Tufted Duck, Cormorant, Moorhen and Common Tern (among others).
A family of Geese
At the West end of the Broad is Gays Staithe and the entrance to Lime Kiln Dyke. Lime Kiln Dyke takes us towards Neatishead and is a narrow wooded channel with gardens backing onto the water (limited turning along the dyke). Please note that boat trips and the nearby Barton Angler pub have long gone :(
Gays Staithe, near Neatishead
Entrance to Lime Kiln Dyke from Barton Broad
Canoeing down Lime Kiln Dyke
The only way to see Barton Broad on foot is via the Barton Boardwalk near Neatishead. It has a car-park about half a mile from the entrance, but there is a small car-park at the entrance for the disabled. The boardwalk itself takes you on a journey through ancient woodland to a fabulous viewing platform at the end.
Barton Boardwalk Viewpoint
Barton Boardwalk Sign
Barton Boardwalk Viewing Platform Sign
After flowing through Barton Broad, the River Ant continues its journey to the small village of Irstead village. It then flows to How Hill, through Ludham Bridge, before finally joining the River Bure at Ant Mouth.
The River Ant at Irstead, near Barton Broad
Barton Broad Summary of what to SEE and DO
Enjoy the beautiful views of the Broad and surrounding area
Spot the wildlife, including numerous species of birds
Have a go at sailing, boating or canoeing
Moor a boat and get out your fishing rods
Investigate the Barton Boardwalk
Join the Sailing Club or attend one of their visitor days
Simply the best of the Norfolk Broads. Why? because it is one of the largest and has so much to see and do. We recommend you do all you can to see Barton Broad as it is intended to be seen, from the water.