Peter James goes on a stile free walk around Ranworth


Great British Life: The stillness and tranquility of the evening over South Walsham Broad. Photo: Denise BradleyThe stillness and tranquility of the evening over South Walsham Broad. Photo: Denise Bradley

1. Leaving the car park turn right and follow the tarmac road passing an attractive thatched building usually used for storing bundles of cut reeds. Carry on following the earth track to a marked path to the right. Follow this then turn right to follow the path beside South Walsham Broad, which is part of Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden. Follow the track at the junction. Keep straight on, passing the properties on the right. This brings you to the road.

Great British Life: You will pass a derelict church. Photo: Peter JamesYou will pass a derelict church. Photo: Peter James

2. Go straight on the road for a few yards. The path is straight on at the fingerpost. Follow the track to a gate. Follow the path through the marshy area - you will then come to a new kissing gate going straight on across the meadow following the hedge line. The new kissing gate is to the left of the metal five-bar gate. Go straight on passing the pond on your right to a marker post. Turn right across the lawn, passing the thatched barn to the stables, which you pass on the right-hand side, then through the garden to a track. Follow the track to the road. Turn right. There is a derelict church on your right. Follow the road for a while, passing the crossroads at Priory Road. Just after this the road turns right. Follow the road to the junction opposite Ranworth Church.

Great British Life: Ranworth Broad. Photo: Antony KellyRanworth Broad. Photo: Antony Kelly

3. Cross the road going down the hill beside the church. Turn right at the village hall. The entrance to Ranworth Broad is on the left. Follow the boardwalk which will bring you to Ranworth Visitor Centre, which floats on the Broad. There is a shop, with refreshments available. When finished at the Broad return along the boardwalk to the road. Turn left. Follow to the junction taking the path beside the road where you will come to Malthouse Broad then straight on back to the car park.


STARTS AT: The Norfolk Wildlife Trust Ranworth Broad car park


MAIN WALK: 4.5-miles, 7km


WHAT3WORDS: quaking.pigment.skinning


Great British Life: You might see the teal and orange flash of a kingfisher. Photo: Getty Images/iStockphotoYou might see the teal and orange flash of a kingfisher. Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Norfolk Wildlife Trust Rockland Broad

From here, good numbers of duck – wigeon, gadwall, teal, shoveler and pochard – can be watched in the winter. Great crested grebes are present all year, though much more elegant in their summer plumage, and kingfishers occasionally zip across the water. Hundreds of cormorants roost in skeletal, dead trees, with marsh harriers passing overhead. Common terns nest in front of the centre.

The boardwalk passes through excellent woodland and reedbed habitats; several interesting plants are present, as well as common woodland birds. The explosive song of the Cetti’s warbler can often be heard, though these brown skulkers are much harder to see. Swallowtails are present, as well as Norfolk hawkers and other dragonflies.

Coffee and ice cream available at the visitor centre

Great British Life: One of the new kissing gates. Photo: Peter JamesOne of the new kissing gates. Photo: Peter James

Kissing gates

The two kissing gates replace two very bad stiles that where difficult to negotiate.

They were replaced by volunteers from Norfolk Ramblers working with the landowner and parish council.

The funding for this came from the Wensum Group of the ramblers as a tribute to their late secretary, Tony Smith, who had been part of the group since it was founded 30 years ago.

The group regularly walks on a Thursday morning.



In a picturesque setting with views of Ranworth Staithe and Malthouse Broad, The Granary, which was previously a cafe, has recently had a stylish makeover and serves food all day, every day. Breakfast is available from 8.30-10.30am, lunch from 11.30am-3.30pm and evening meals from 5-9pm. Dishes on the new-look menu include patatas bravas with sweet garlic-infused tomato sauce and butter-basted steak with homemade potato wedges and onion rings.


Fish is always the dish of the day at Bure River Cottage Restaurant. Depending on what's been landed and in season, starters may include fresh dressed Cromer crab and char-grilled Scottish scallops with salsa verde with roast hake fillet with crab, cockles and samphire and pan-fried wild halibut fillet with brown shrimps among the stars on the main menu.

It's open Tuesday to Saturday evenings.