A tranquil Norfolk Broads country pub walk enjoying unique fenland wildlife on the Wherryman’s Way
Circling the crystal clear waters of Whitlingham Great Broad, this 2¼ mile fenland pub walk is suitable for all access users and ages. Be ready to catch glimpses of classic broadland natural life along the way.Download PDF Guide
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Whitlingham Country Park is just over 3 miles away from the pub and is best reached by car. To get there, follow Yarmouth Road (A1242) for 1.5 miles towards Norwich. Just past the football ground, turn left onto Koblenz Avenue (A147), cross the river and turn left again onto Bracondale. When you reach a roundabout, take the second exit and continue for about half a mile. Turn left opposite the parish church onto Whitlingham Lane and follow it to the visitor centre where you can park.
A large converted flint barn, the visitor centre is where the walk starts. Continue along Whitlingham Lane with the Broad’s sparkling waters on your left. There’s a good chance the local residents will be out in force – including swans, ducks, geese and coots. After about 50 yards, a gravel path (marked Wherryman’s Way) goes off to the left. Leaving Whitlingham Lane behind, follow the path as it hugs the edge of the Broad and enters a small woodland often frequented by jays and woodpeckers. When you emerge into open grassland, you might be able to spot The Rushcutters on the far side of the River Yare!
“You’re now in the nature reserve area”
Keep an eye out for yellow flag irises, marsh-marigolds with their buttercup-like flowers and thin clusters of reeds. These water’s-edge plants provide perching places for dragonflies, damselflies and butterflies – including the swallowtail and the brimstone, with its unique pale-green, leaf-shaped wings. Shiny black whirligig beetles often carve their erratic trails on the surface of the water.
The path continues towards the distinctive sail-shaped roof of the Outdoor Education Centre. After curving round the back of the centre, the path branches; take the left fork and see if you can spot the ruins in the copse to your side. This is all that remains of Trowse Newton Hall, originally the country retreat of the Priors of Norwich Cathedral. In 1335, King Edward II arrived in a cortege of lavishly decorated rowing boats and was said to be most impressed with his surroundings.
With the car park directly ahead, it’s just a short drive back to the relaxed riverside gardens and tranquil terraces of The Rushcutters.
The sparking expanse of water was once a quarry – the gravel from which was used for many local buildings.
Point of Interest
The reserve is sometimes visited by a very shy type of animal: otters. Usually, they’re only glimpsed when the day is just beginning.
Over 400 years old, The Rushcutters is a Grade II listed building steeped in history, on Wherryman’s Way into the Norfolk Broads.
On the banks of the beautiful River Yare, gateway to the idyllic Norfolk Broads, stands the 16th century timber-framed Rushcutters. The village where it’s situated – Thorpe St Andrew – was a fashionable place of residence for the wealthier citizens of Norwich during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. As a result, many large properties were built by the river. However, The Rushcutters, dating from about 1590, pre-dates them all. Some of the stonework and timbers date back much further, perhaps using stone recovered from the nearby Bishop’s Palace after Henry VIII ordered the dissolution of the monasteries.
With views across Whitlingham Broads and Country Park, the village prompted John Armstrong to call it “the Richmond of Norfolk… delightfully situated on a hanging hill” when he visited in 1781. The Rushcutters, located on the two key trading routes out of Norwich to the coast, the Norwich to Yarmouth Turnpike and the River Yare, flourished as an inn as a result.
Many other attractive listed buildings and features survive today, including the ruins of 13th century St. Andrews Church, and the intriguing Taylor’s Tower. This Victorian folly, with commanding views, was built in 1880 by local chess enthusiast, John Odin Howard Taylor, as a retreat to contemplate the game.
The appeal of the Norfolk Broads, a sleepy landscape which is Britain’s largest protected wetland, continues to attract boaters, ramblers and nature-lovers today. The Rushcutters has its own moorings, making it a perfect spot to settle back and watch the river traffic while enjoying a pub restaurant menu of traditional favourites, contemporary classics or a Sunday roast – all accompanied by a lovely selection of fine wines and real ales.
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