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Potter Heigham: A Bridge Too Far

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Potter Heigham: A Bridge Too Far
Author: NickC, Published: 08 Jul 2014 Walk rating : Rating:star1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK
Norfolk, Norfolk Broads
Walk Type: River or lakeside
Potter Heigham: A Bridge Too Far
Length: 6 miles,  Difficulty: boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK
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Potter Heigham is probably second only to Wroxham as a centre for the boat hire trade in these parts. As such, it tends to be busy with boaters and people who come just to dream about being boaters one day. The village is also significant for its medieval bridge, believed to date back to 1385, which is notable for its narrow span and effectively acts as a barrier for larger craft, and as such is a significant demarcation point in the Broads. Navigation is possible for smaller craft, but is best at low water and only with the help of resident pilots – who expect to be paid!

This circular walk follows a section of river and dyke, and towards the end offers the chance to do some bird watching from a hide out over one of the Broad’s larger expanses of water. As such, it is highly recommended that you bring a pair of binoculars with you. The walk also follows a section of the Weavers Way long distance path linking Great Yarmouth with Cromer. Allow a couple of hours for the walk, plus twitching time.


To reach the starting point take either the A1062 from Wroxham, with Potter Heigham about five miles to the east, or pull off the A149 out of Great Yarmouth, with Potter Heigham about six miles north west. Park in the car park for Latham’s (postcode NR29 5JE), which is free for three hours to customers, although it is possible to buy a daily permit also.

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Walk Sections

Start to High's Drainage Mill
Start to High's Drainage Mill

Start point: 52.7113 lat, 1.5811 long
End point: 52.7143 lat, 1.5959 long

Depending on which car park you use, head towards the river and head left before crossing the bridge, following a section of the Weavers Way. If the medieval bridge is low for boats, much the same can be said of the modern road bridge that soon follows, where the taller walker may feel like ducking!

Stay on a narrow concrete path. Hopefully some of the traditional highly varnished wooden craft will be moored up on the right, otherwise the view here is mainly of a run of holiday chalets cum bungalows of various descriptions that line the bank. The path turns to gravel and then back to concrete and views of the river remain elusive, although the view to the left is classic Broads flatland, with cattle grazing in summer.

At the end of the run of buildings the path curves to the left and into some trees where it meets the obscured High’s Drainage Mill.

High's Drainage Mill to Candle Dyke
High's Drainage Mill to Candle Dyke

Start point: 52.7143 lat, 1.5959 long
End point: 52.7159 lat, 1.6121 long

Bear right and cross over a bridge, before heading left and regaining your previous direction, picking up a few stragglers in the holiday bungalow stakes as you do so, passing by another diversion, this time for a modern pumping station. Whilst you may not be able to spot the river, you may see the tops of sails or masts passing by.

The concrete path finally runs out and becomes a grassy track in the run up to a boatyard on the opposite bank. There’s now a ditch to your left and the river becomes more visible to your right. Shortly after the boatyard the path takes a broad sweep to the left as the river meets Candle Dyke.

Candle Dyke to Sound Plantation
Candle Dyke to Sound Plantation

Start point: 52.7159 lat, 1.6121 long
End point: 52.7235 lat, 1.6023 long

The path twists and turns, taking in boats, fishermen and wildlife. On coming to a track past a small car parking spot, pick up the path on your right over a bridge and some steps, bringing you to Hickling Broad Nature Reserve, with Hickling being the largest Broad in the National Park. Look out for the attractive lodge called The Holt on your right.

In the summer, reeds create a trompe l’oeil optical illusion on your right, making it look as if the river has no part in the view that seems to stretch forever. A ditch on the left offers a watery distraction though as trees now do the job of totally hiding the river. A wooden gate now brings you into Sound Plantation.

Sound Plantation to Bird Hide
Sound Plantation to Bird Hide

Start point: 52.7235 lat, 1.6023 long
End point: 52.7311 lat, 1.5879 long

Keep going along the footpath, with a sign suggesting you may meet Konik Deer in this area, which are used to graze the footpath. The ditch to the left reappears, twisting amongst trees, while the dyke remains elusive. This a good stretch to have your eyes and ears open for birdlife, such as reed buntings and herons, attracted by the water and the trees. The path here is solid and difficult to get wrong, not without getting wet anyway.

After a while the ditch on the left dries up, temporarily at least, but right on cue the dyke reappears, offering tantalising glimpses on the right. After a while you come to a shed-like wooden bird hide, looking out over the incongruously named Rush Hill expanse of water.

Bird Hide to Glebe Farm
Bird Hide to Glebe Farm

Start point: 52.7311 lat, 1.5879 long
End point: 52.7204 lat, 1.5933 long

Resume your previous direction after the bird hide and you will soon pass through a wooden gate. After two or three minutes pick up the footpath on your left, passing over a wooden bridge and into some woods, leaving the dyke and ditch behind you. The route passes through the plantation along a well defined path. On reaching the edge of the woods and a T-junction of paths, take the left hand option, keeping the woods to your left.

As you emerge from the woods, the trees on your left are replaced by a wire fence. The path diverts to the right briefly, over a wooden footbridge, and then resumes its previous direction, sticking to the right hand edge of the woods. Shortly afterwards, you will see a raised bird hide in the field to your right.

After a short while, you emerge from the woods onto a broader track, still following the line of some trees, and then becomes a farm track leading down to Glebe Farm. To your far left you may glimpse the top of some sails from boats on the dyke.

Glebe Farm to End
Glebe Farm to End

Start point: 52.7204 lat, 1.5933 long
End point: 52.7113 lat, 1.5811 long

Follow the path, now upgraded to a bridleway, to the left of the farmhouse. You are now on the final stretch and at one o’clock will see the holiday bungalows encountered at the start of the walk. There’s a little way to go yet though, and you must follow the path until, just before a metal barred gate, you reach a choice of footpaths at a T-junction. Here you need to head right.

The track here is solid and straight, but if you might be thinking it lacks interest focus instead on the birdlife and other possible fauna on the marshes either side of you. Stay with the track for over half a mile and on reaching a busy A-road, cross over, taking care as you do so. Follow the track on the other side, with a ditch to your right, and on reaching a quieter (but still busy) road, bear left and follow the pavement back to your starting point.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2014 by the author NickC and may not be reproduced without permission.


The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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