No survey of Britain's leisure and pleasure waterways would be complete without a mention of the Norfolk Broads. This amazing complex of rivers, large lakes, meres and dykes covers a huge area of Norfolk and Suffolk. Collectively they are known as "The Norfolk Broads".

The Norfolk Broads are cut off from the rest of Englnad's canal and river network, but they are among the most popular and frequented waterways in the whole of the UK.  Indeed, tourists have been travelling
to the Norfolk Broads to go sailing for more than 70 years, as pre-war posters advertising Wroxham railway station will testify.

The River Bure in Wroxham

Nowadays, the Broads cater for a whole new range of tourists, from families on large self-drive motor cruisers and spending a week or two on the rivers to day boats hired out by the hour. There are intrepid energetic people who still attempt to sail the traditional Norfolk sailing boats on the large expanse of open water in Wroxham Broad, or to navigate their way up the reed-edged channels towards Hickling Broad or Horsey Mere.

However, not just boaters come to the Broads.  The whole area is a haven for bird-watchers and fishermen, and is also famous for being the home of such wildlife rarities as the bitterns and marsh harriers and for otters, swallowtail butterflies and Norfolk Aeshna dragonflies. It is one of Europe's finest and most important wetlands for nature conservation, a fact recognised by its designation as a National Park.  Climate change is threatening the whole area, which -at one point near Horsey Mere - lies only three miles from the North Sea.  The Northern Broads in particular are in grave danger of flooding in the event of a surge tide here. Such a very special environment needs our constant attention and protection from us all, as far as possible, so that future generations can enjoy this wonderful part of Britain's waterways as we do.

A lovely day on the Norfolk Broads - windmill, cruiser and sailing yacht