A lovely sprawling riverside village set in beautiful countryside
An Introduction to Neatishead
The village of Neatishead sits in an area of Broadland that is quiet and unspoilt, that also includes Threehammer Common, Workshouse Common and Butcher's Common. Neatishead is the largest in the area and has a pub, shop and modern village hall. The village has its own staithe, giving access to Barton Broad, and it is this waterside setting that gives these villages that something special. This has resulted in the area containing some spectacular waterside homes (the road to the north of Neatishead is known locally as millionaires row). The surrounding area is a great place for a walk or a cycle ride and visitors should head for the Barton Boardwalk, allowing foot access to view Barton Broad or Alderfen Broad nature reserve. The area also contains some amazing tourist attractions, such as Bewilderwood and the RAF Radar Defence Museum.
We start our tour at Neatishead public staithe, which is located off a quiet backwater (Lime Kiln Dyke). The village of Neatishead is only a 5 minute walk from the staithe and has an excellent village shop - White House Stores - and an excellent refurbished pub - White Horse Inn - plus a guest house and a village hall.
Neatishead public staithe
Neatishead Village Sign
White House Stores Community Shop Neatishead
White Horse Inn
Regency Guest House
Opened in 2009, the new Victory Hall is a state of the art building, built from environment friendly sustainable materials (straw bails). The hall is a great resource for the community and hosts various local groups and events. See the website for for more details.
Neatishead Village Hall
The Nancy Oldfield Trust are based in Neatishead and 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. They also have a pontoon on Barton Broad. See their website for more details.
Nancy Oldfield Trust in Neatishead
Nancy Oldfield Trust Pontoon on Barton Broad
Nancy Oldfield Trust Sailing Boat
Situated on the road from Neatishead to Irstead is Gays Staithe and the Barton Boardwalk. The latter takes you on a journey through ancient woodland to a fabulous viewing platform at the end. The boardwalk is the only way to see Barton Broad without using a boat. It has a main car-park about half a mile from the entrance (free and with toilets), but there is also a small car-park at the entrance for the disabled. Gays Staithe is a lovely public mooring, 20 minutes walk from Neatishead.
Barton Boardwalk Viewpoint
Gays Staithe, near Neatishead
Just south of Neatishead towards Horning, a lane leads takes us to Alderfen Broad (about a mile from Neatishead), which is a beautiful nature reserve. There are marked paths around the land locked Broad and there is a viewing point. The broad is popular with waterfowl including shoveller, pochard, tufted duck, great crested grebe and coots. Osprey often stop here to feed during their migration and common terns come here to catch smaller fish. Alderfen is one of Norfolk's hidden treasures and you will probably not see another person during your visit!
The view over Alderfen Broad
The viewing point over Alderfen Broad
The path around Alderfen Broad
Folklore Will-o'-the-wisp or Jack-o'-lantern: Early in the 1800's a Neatishead man, Jack Heard, committed several crimes and drowned in Alderfen Broad at a place now known as Heard's Hole. Afterwards on some nights, strange dancing lights were seen rising and twisting over the marshes like candle flames. The locals that saw these lights thought it was the restless spirit of Jack Heard. Several failed attempts were made to trap his spirit by locals. Mrs Lubbock, known as the wise old woman of Irstead, says the lights are spontaneous ignition of methane gases on the marshes. What do you think they are?
The countryside surrounding Neatishead gives the opportunity for some great walks and cycle rides along the quiet country lanes. From Neatishead you could cycle to Irstead, Alderfen Broad, or towards Barton Turf. Walkers should head for the Barton Boardwalk or follow one of the many footpaths over the fields.
A typical country lane near Irstead
Footpath over fields near Irstead
Inviting footpath over fields
Finally, don't miss the RAF Air Defence Museum on the road from Neatishead towards Horning. RAF Neatishead played a key role in the defence of the UK during the Second World War and the Cold War. This museum depicts this secret world of RAF defence radar using many exhibits, models, photos, light and sound. It's centre piece is a Cold War Operations Room, left exactly as it was during 1954. There is also a replica operations room from the Battle of Britain and an updated operations room from 1942. A new addition to the museum is a number of rooms dedicated to nearby RAF Coltishall, which sadly ceased flying operations in 2006. See our separate guided tour for more details.
Battle of Britain Operations Room
Cold War Operations Room
1950's Operations Room
Neatishead Summary of what to SEE and DO
Enjoy the peace and quiet from the village Staithe or Gays Staithe
Row a boat or canoe down the quiet backwaters of Lime Kiln Dyke
Cycle along the quiet and picturesque country lanes to Irstead or Barton Turf
Take a refreshment in the pub - recently refurbished!
Walk to the Barton Boardwalk and the viewing point over Barton Broad
Walk to Alderfen Broad Nature Reserve
Visit the churches at Barton Turf and Irstead
Explore the nearby RAF Radar Museum
The area around Neatishead is lovely unspoilt Broadland. It is the complete opposite of city life and because there is no through road, there is very little traffic. It is an ideal place for those that wish to get away from it all and relax.