Three running routes in the Norfolk Broads

Earlier this month Frances and I spent a week on the Norfolk Broads, in a cruiser with a maximum speed of 4mph. It was great fun, and a great way to unwind.

Unfortunately, being confined to a boat in the broads wasn’t the best plan in terms of picking up my half-marathon training. We found getting moorings a lot more tricky than we’d hoped, and of course some moorings weren’t in very good places to get to dry land and get a bit of training done. However, I did manage it three times during our break, and each of those runs were very enjoyable. So I thought, with my new-found Google Maps plugin I’d pop the details up for others to perhaps use – especially as the holiday season is kicking off.

Worth pointing out that some of the routes were a little narrow, and with high grass/hedges I was very thankful to have my high-vis running vest on so that cars saw me well in advance. So worth picking one up if you don’t have one!

Barton Broad to Irstead

The first run was quite by chance – we were moored up at the north end of Barton Broad on a public mooring that didn’t seem to have any route to land. After a bit of a wander the night before, I found a path that led around private moorings and in to Barton Turf itself.

Direct link to Google Map, and the KML file.

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The route itself is a simple ‘out and back’ – from Barton Turf, along a road running parallel to the west side of Barton Broad, to Neatishead, then heading out to Irstead (where there are some gorgeous thatched houses along the side of the river). I didn’t quite get to Irstead, but it’s not that much further.

It’s all reasonably flat – just a few gentle inclines. Nothing too arduous. About 8km out and back, probably safely over 10k if you go as far as Irstead, or add a loop around Barton Turf in on things.

Stokesby to Filby Broad

Direct link to GoogleMaps, and the KML

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OK, so all my routes are ‘out and backs’. It’s a little hard to do much more in the Norfolk Broads national park when you have a boat to get back to and an unfamiliar route to follow.

Rather than take a map around with me, the tactic I took was simply to memorise a simple route, ie. in this case, get out of Stokesby, take the first left, and keep going! I knew roughly the distance I wanted to go and, of course, kept reminding myself I had to get back as well! No use running yourself to exhaustion only to find yourself only half way!

We’d been very fortunate with the free mooring in Stokesby – A bit of quick and handy manoeuvring on our part meant we grabbed a space as it came available. Another boat behind us, taking the slot next to us seemed barely competent about mooring (We were asked to help rather abruptly, and literally heaved it the last 12 feet or so to the moorings! Not sure how they were expecting to cope in more complex mooring cases!!).

But back to the running – I’d hoped to get to Filby Broad, but when I reached Filby I’d forgotten which way the bridge was, so turned around before seeing it. Felt a bit of an anti-climax in that regard, but it was a lovely run. Lots of open fields, and some guesswork required to work out what was being harvested for/by Coleman’s – Turned out it was mint (I guessed as much, but only got a real whiff when the trailer went past me!).

Out and back it was 10.28km. I’d thought about perhaps coming back via another road, but I couldn’t be absolutely certain, so just doubled back. Some slight inclines along the way, but really nothing too arduous. This is the Norfolk Broads after all!

Salhouse to Ranworth Broad

Salhouse Broad is a very popular place to moor, and there’s a superb pub (The Fur and Feather Inn) not that far away from the broad. We’d been to the pub the night before (and couldn’t resist going again when on Salhouse Broad!) after walking down from the free mooring in Horning across the river from the Ferry Inn. I think if folk knew it was only a 20 minute walk to this pub, with it’s eight *superb* beers, there would have been a few more people on our side of the river!

Here’s a direct link to Google Maps and the KML.

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I really liked this run. A bit longer than the others (11.39km), but along lovely lanes and the scenic village of Woodbastwick, right through to the lovely Ranworth broad (Which we’d stopped in for lunch the day before!). A few tight corners (again the high-visibility vest was useful!), but on the whole a quieter run than the previous run from Stokesby.

The weather the day I ran wasn’t so good – it was drizzling and felt rather muggy, but it was still enjoyable. Certainly felt quite tired at the halfway point when I looped around the church in Ranworth.

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