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Burgh Castle

A small village on the North/Suffolk border containing the remains of a Roman Fort and one of the best views in East Anglia

An Introduction to Burgh Castle

Burgh Castle View
Breyodon View
Burgh Church
Berney Arms Mill
Cley Church

Burgh Castle is located only a few miles from Great Yarmouth, on the south side of Breydon Water. It overlooks the rivers Yare and Waveney and it is on this strategic position that the Romans built a fort to protect their colony from attackers. The ruins of this massive fort remain today and are one of Britain's best preserved examples of Roman occupation of these islands. About 300 hundred years later, an Irish missionary named Fursey, established a monastery within the ruins of the Roman fort. He eventualy left East Anglia to setup another Monastery in France and a few years later attempted to return to Burgh Castle to see what had become of his monastery here, only to die on route. The monastery he founded at Burgh Castle survived until the middle of the 7th century when many of the monks were killed when attacked. Nothing remains of the monastery, but one of the windows in the lovely parish church of St Peter & St Paul is dedicated to St Fursey. The church also has a round Saxo-Norman tower dating back to the 11th century. It would be wrong though to simply think of Burgh Castle as a history lesson, because it's best feature can be seen today - the view over the River Yare and Waveney, with the Berney Arms windmill in the centre of the view. Paths lead from the village to the Roman Fort and down along the riverbank, making it a great place to enjoy some fresh air, see some wildlife and at the end of your visit perhaps enjoy a pub lunch!

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Burgh Castle Map

Burgh Castle Map Great Yarmouth

Burgh Castle Guided Picture Tour

We start our tour of Burgh Castle by walking over the fields towards the Roman Fort. There is limited free parking near the church and a good path takes you over the fields, with dogs allowed on leads.
Burgh Castle Paths
The path leading from the small parking area
Burgh Castle Path Gate
Gates lead you across the fields
Approaching Roman Fort
Approaching the Roman Fort
Burgh Fort View
You get a glimpse of the magnificent view

In 1974, Burgh Castle was moved from Suffolk to Norfolk! In the middle ages, when the East Anglians split themselves into the North Folk and the South Folk, it was the river Waveney that was the boundary and hence Burgh Castle was in Suffolk. However, the local authorities did not like the wavy boundary formed by the river, and decided to straighten the boundary, moving Burgh Castle and several other local villages from Suffolk into Norfolk.

The massive flint walled remains of the Roman Fort dominate this part of the countryside and is one of the largest standing Roman ruins in Britain. Built around AD280, it was one of a chain of forts, built to protect East Anglia from attack. Roman soldiers would watch, from several towers around the fort for signs of invaders; who would then launch the cavalry to ride out and challenge the attackers. At this time, Great Yarmouth was a massive inlet from the sea and this Roman Fort on the south side of the inlet, would combine forces with the Roman Fort at Caister, on the North side of the inlet. The Romans called this fort Gariannonum. The Fort today is merely a ruin, but you get to appreciate how large it was and you can stand overlooking the flatlands below and imagine what it was like to be a Roman soldier 1700 years ago!
Roman Fort Walls
The remains of the walls of the Roman Fort
Fort Entrance
Sitting at the entrance to the Roman Fort
Roman Walls
Keep of the the walls!

The magnificent view the Roman soldiers would have had is simply breathtaking and one of the best views in East Anglia. Starting in the west (right), Breydon Water separates into the rivers Yare (furthermost) and Waveney (nearest). Just after the rivers divide you will see the Berney Arms pub on the Yare. Next is the Berney Arms windmill, built in 1865 for the Berney family for cement grinding. It was later converted to become the tallest drainage mill on the Broads and its sails are the longest on any windmill in the UK. Moving further east (left), the view continues towards Reedham marshes, with the remains of several drainage windmills. The river Yare is a popular with sailors of traditional Broads sailing cruisers and their white sails only add to the beauty of the view.
Roman Fort Walls
The magnificent view from the Roman Fort
Berney Arms View
Enjoying the view of Berney Arms Mill
Breydon Water View
Sailing towards Breydon Water

From the Fort, a path leads down some steps to the marshes below. This is a reed fen, managed by the RSPB, and is a great place to view diverse birdlife plus fish and the occasional seal in the water!
Path leading down to the marshes below
Berney Mill
Berney Mill from the marshes
Bridge to River Path
Bridge leads to the River Waveney Path
Burgh Fort View
View of the Roman Fort above, from the marshes

The path leads along the River Waveney about half a mile towards a boatyard in one direction (left) and about 2-3 miles right along the edge of Breydon Water in the other direction (right). Along the path you will find the Fisherman's Bar which makes a great spot for a refreshment or a pub lunch.
Path leading alomg the banks of the River Waveney
Fishermans Bar
Fishermans Bar with great riverside views
River Waveney Cruising
Cruising on the River Waveney past Burgh Castle

Returning back to village, make sure you don't miss the lovely village Church of St Peter and St Paul. The church has a round Saxo-Norman tower, dating back to the 11th century, which was raised during the 17th century to house the bells. The rest of the church dates mainly from the 13th and 14th centuries, but the North aisle was added as late as the 19th century. Among its many treasures are an interesting octagonal font from the late 14th century and some colourful stained glass windows from the 19th and 20th centuries.
Church View
The view of the church over the fields
Burgh Castle Church
Burgh Castle Parish Church of St Pater and St Paul
Church Entrance
The entrance to the church
Church Nave
Inside the Nave of the Church
Stained Glass Windows
Stained Glass Windows from the 19th and 20th Century
East Window
The East Window, a memorial to Rev Charles Green, rector 1829 - 1857

Finally, if you are looking for a pub lunch after your tour of Burgh Castle, the Queen's Head, along the High Road, has a good choice of meals and drinks, with a large garden at the rear (the pub allows well behaved dogs inside!)
Queens Head Pub
The Queens Head Pub
Queens Head Sign
Queens Head Sign

Burgh Castle summary of what to SEE & DO

Enjoy a walk through beautiful countryside to the Roman Fort
Explore the ruins of the Roman Fort
Take in the fabulous view over the Berney Arms and Rivers Yare and Waveney
Explore the ancient village church
Take a walk along the river path adjacent to the marsh
Enjoy a pub lunch in the Queen's Head

Our Verdict

Burgh Castle is only a few miles from Great Yarmouth, but seems a million miles away! Great walk, fascinating ruins, interesting church and one of the best views in East Anglia, add a pub lunch and you have the perfect day out!




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