A Broadland village near the head of navigation of the River Bure and known as the gateway to the Norfolk Broads
An Introduction to Coltishall
Coltishall is a busy riverside village. It is sometimes referred to as the "Gateway to the Broads" as it marks the start of the navigable portion of the River Bure. The staithe is someway out of the village itself and it captivates visitors with its picturesque setting, riverside pubs, a grassy field and is overlooked by fine properties. The thatched village church of St John is within walking distance of the staithe. The residential part of the village is nearly a mile further along the road, with plenty of old buildings housing shops and buisnesses. The Bure Valley Railway has a station in Coltishall, but this is a long walk from the staithe! Coltishall is also famous for its RAF base, situated about a mile north of the village. This RAF base has a long history and is where Sir Douglas Bader was once a squadron commander. Sadly, flying operations ceased at the end of March 2006.
We start our tour at Coltishall Common, which is a great place to moor your boat. In our view this must be a contender for one of the most picturesque spots in the whole of Broadland. The staithe has a large area of grass that sweeps down to the River Bure and is an ideal place for a picnic or a game. Adjacent are 2 pubs, both with restaurants, and a post office/shop.
The staithe at Coltishall Common
Rising Sun pub at Coltishall Common
The Kings Head at Coltishall Common
Coltishall Post Office and Shop
Coltishall Staithe and river
Coltishall Hall overlooks the staithe from the other side of the road. It is a lovely building dating from 1871, now split into luxury flats.
The Andaman Orchid is a great Thai restaurant, situated a 5 minute walk from the staithe, opposite the church..
Andaman Orchid Restaurant
Only five minutes walk from the staithe is the thatched parish church of St John the baptist, which
stands in large grounds.
The church is built of flint, with a square tower and finished off with a thatched roof. It is usually open, so you can take a look inside and you will find some lovely stained glass, font and colourful prayer mats!
Coltishall Church of St. John the Baptist
Stained glass window inside Coltishall Church
Inside the church at Coltishall
The residential part of the village grew up in 16th to 19th centuries, when Coltishall became a thriving commercial centre, with many malt houses. At this point in time, the River Bure was fully navigable to Aylsham, and Coltishall became an important stopping point on the Aylsham to Great Yarmouth route. Coltishall even had its own ship building yard and many wherries were built here. As the river silted up and with the development of the railway, Coltishall's importance declined as a river trading route. Many of the buildings in the centre of Coltishall however, reflect this once great importance and you will find some magnificent properties, many of which still house businesses of one sort or another.
Property in Coltishall
Housing in Coltishall
Londis Stores in Coltishall
Cottages in the centre of Coltishall
Grand buildings now home to several Coltishall Buisnesses
Crossing over the river bridge, we come into Horstead. The Recruiting Sergeant is a well know local pub and restaurant, serving regional food. Just around the corner is Coltishall Lock, where you will find a path taking along the River Bure back towards Coltishall. The path makes a nice short walk, perhaps to help digest a lunch or dinner from the Recruiting Sergeant!
The Recruiting Sergeant Pub
The River Bure at Coltishall Lock
The path along the River Bure from Coltishall Lock
Not far upstream from Coltishall, towards Aylsham, you will find Buxton Mill.
The mill was built in 1754 by William Pepper, a merchant living locally. The building was constructed of white painted brick and weatherboard with a pantile roof and has been a prominent landmark in the village for many years.
It closed as a working mill in 1970 and has now been split up into flats.
Buxton Mill on the River Bure
The entrance to Buxton Mill
Also in Buxton and Coltishall, you will find the Bure Valley Railway. The line runs from Aylsham to Wroxham and has train stopping points at both Buxton and Coltishall (the station is a fair walk from Coltishall staithe). This narrow gauge railway operates steam and diesel services during the summer months.
Steam train on the Bure Valley Railway at Wroxham
Wroxham station on the Bure Valley Railway
Coltishall summary of what to SEE and DO
Have a picnic on the staithe at Coltishall Common
Enjoy a drink from one of the 2 pubs on Coltishall Staithe
Investigate Coltishall parish church and its interior
Explore the shops and buildings in the centre of Coltishall
Walk the riverside footpath from Coltishall Lock
Enjoy a pub lunch, dinner or Sunday roast at the Recruiting Sergeant
Find Buxton Mill and walk along river path
Enjoy a ride on the Bure Valley Railway towards Aylsham or Wroxham
Coltishall Common is a lovely place to moor for the night, but it is a little walk into the main village of Coltishall. However, there are plenty of facilities within a 5 minute walk of Coltishall Common, including 2 pubs, a restaurant and shop.