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South Walsham

Visit beautiful South Walsham Broad by turning off the River Bure opposite St Benet’s Abbey and continuing along Fleet dyke for a mile. The broad is divided into two sections – an outer broad which is a mecca for boaters in summer and is flanked by waterside houses – and a private inner broad.

South Walsham village is a mile away from the broad and, unusually, has two historic churches in the same churchyard.  The village also has a children’s play area and is home to Fairhaven Woodland and Water Gardens.  This has stunning woodland pathways around South Walsham’s inner broad, where you can take a guided boat trip.  There is also a cafe and shop.

After cruising around South Walsham Broad the best place to moor is Fleet Dyke. From here take the footpath to South Walsham Broad’s tiny village staithe which is only suitable for rowing boats but has a lovely little green surrounded by thatched cottages and a bench overlooking the broad.

Next visit the red phone box next to the village staithe which has been turned into a rather novel information point!

A twenty minute walk along a footpath from the phone box brings you to School Road where there is a recreation ground and children’s play area next to the village hall.

The award-winning Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden is located close to the village hall. This has 130 acres of wildlife gardens and nearly four miles of footpaths to explore through ancient woodland on the edge of South Walsham inner broad, on which you can take a guided boat trip. The beautiful water gardens were created by the 2nd Lord Fairhaven who bought the South Walsham Estate in 1946. On his death he requested that the gardens be left in Trust for the public to enjoy. Fairhaven has a popular tea room and gift shop plus plant sales, which are open to non-garden visitors. 01603 270449.

Another ten minute walk past the attraction brings you to South Walsham village centre which is worth visiting for its two medieval churches which share the same churchyard.    St Mary’s dates from the late 13th century and is still used for worship today.  St Lawrence’s was built in the following century but in 1827 was badly damaged by fire.  It has since been restored as a centre for training and the arts.Don’t miss the atmospheric Sacristans gardens in the ruins of St Lawrence’s former nave and tower.

If you fancy a walk there is a six mile circular route from South Walsham Broad to Upton.  This passes along Fleet Dyke and the River Bure taking in Upton Broad and Marshes Nature Reserve (see Upton).

Moorings

Fleet Dyke
Free overnight moorings in two main sections along Fleet Dyke managed by the Environment Agency.  A footpath along Fleet Dyke leads to South Walsham Broad Staithe.

Eating out

The Ship Inn

Recently reopened pub serving lunch and dinner. 01603 270 049.