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Waveney River Centre, Carlton Marshes and Oulton Broad

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Waveney River Centre, Carlton Marshes and Oulton Broad
Author: clairesharpuk, Published: 10 Feb 2016 Walk rating : Rating:star1 Waveney River Centre, Carlton Marshes and Oulton Broad star1 Waveney River Centre, Carlton Marshes and Oulton Broad star1 Waveney River Centre, Carlton Marshes and Oulton Broad star1 Waveney River Centre, Carlton Marshes and Oulton Broad star1 Waveney River Centre, Carlton Marshes and Oulton Broad
Norfolk, Burgh St Peter
Walk Type: River or lakeside
Waveney River Centre, Carlton Marshes and Oulton Broad
Length: 6 miles,  Difficulty: boot Waveney River Centre, Carlton Marshes and Oulton Broad boot Waveney River Centre, Carlton Marshes and Oulton Broad
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A 6 mile circular pub walk from Waveney River Centre, taking in a peaceful stretch of the River Waveney, the reed beds of Carlton Marshes nature reserve and the bustling boat life of Oulton Broad. The adventure begins with a short ride across the River Waveney on the Ternpike Ferry taking you from Norfolk into Suffolk, before exploring the nature reserve paths with chance to spot a huge variety of wildlife, making it the perfect outing for all the family. If you are staying in Suffolk, the walk can easily be adjusted to start and finish in Oulton Broad allowing you to use the Waveney Inn at the River Centre as the perfect halfway lunch stop.

The walk is almost entirely flat. Whilst some of the paths are surfaced, several long stretches are unmade so these can get muddy after periods of rain and in winter so good boots are a must. You will need to negotiate a few gates and kissing gates plus two stiles. One of the stiles has a tight fence surround but a nearby alternative gate is usually open if you have a dog with you. The paths are generally fenced from the surrounding pastures, but you will cross one paddock which may be holding horses. The Ternpike Ferry runs all year (subject to tide and weather conditions) and it can be summoned on demand from Waveney River Centre reception (from the Norfolk side) or by calling 07500 571232 (from the Suffolk side). The ferry costs £3 per person return or £10 return for a group of four. Dogs travel for free. There are public toilets in Nicholas Everitt Park in Oulton Broad. Allow 3 hours.

In Norfolk: Start the walk from Waveney River Centre at Burgh St Peter. Follow the A143 to Haddiscoe and turn at the village hall into Wiggs Road, signposted Waveney River Centre (left when travelling from the east and right when travelling from the west). Continue to follow the brown signs, turning left into Burgh Road after 2 miles and proceed for another 2.5 miles until you arrive at the centre. The post code for the centre is NR34 0BT, but Sat Nav systems generally suggest an unsuitable route via blind bends so it is much safer to follow the brown signs. Once you arrive at the centre, drive down the main access track towards the slipway, passing the blue reception building on the right. There is parking available opposite reception or to the left of the slipway. Follow the walk directions from the beginning, Start to Reed Beds.

In Suffolk: Start the walk from Oulton Broad. If you are coming by train, you have a choice of two rail stations, Oulton Broad North or Oulton Broad South. If you are coming by car, there is a large car park at Nicholas Everitt Park, accessed opposite St Mark’s Church on the A1117. Approximate post code NR33 9JX. Once you have arrived in Oulton Broad, make your way towards the lifting bridge in the village centre. Just south of the bridge, take The Boulevard wide walkway which leads you past a number of thatched buildings (including the Harbour Master’s Office) on your left with the water of Oulton Broad on your right. You will reach the gates for Nicholas Everitt Park ahead. Follow the walk directions from the section called, Bridge Road to Tubby’s Marina.

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Walk Sections

Start to Reed Beds
Start to Reed Beds

Start point: 52.4817 lat, 1.6704 long
End point: 52.4742 lat, 1.6816 long

At Waveney River Centre, make your way into reception to request the Ternpike Ferry and make payment. The ferryman will take you on the short trip across the river and deposit you on the opposite bank – welcome to Suffolk! Turn right and follow the path along the top of the flood bank with the River Waveney to your right. At the first junction, turn left through a gate to join another section of raised embankment leading you away from the river. Take time to enjoy the expansive views across the marshes.

Further along, a gate ahead leads you into Carlton Marshes Nature Reserve. Stay with the grass embankment which peters out at a junction with a stone track. Turn left to cross the track and take the grass embankment path which continues in front of you. This grass path soon swings right and then leads you between sections of reed beds.

Reed Beds to Broadlands Marina
Reed Beds to Broadlands Marina

Start point: 52.4742 lat, 1.6816 long
End point: 52.4709 lat, 1.7033 long

Simply follow this raised embankment path leading you around the edge of White Cast Marshes. Carlton Marshes Nature Reserve is part of The Broads, Britain’s largest nationally protected wetland. It is a diverse mosaic of broadland habitats including grazing marsh, fen, reed bed and several small manmade broads created by historic peat digging. The reserve is home to many rare and threatened plants (such as the yellow-flag iris and southern-marsh orchid) and animals. Look out for water voles, otters, marsh harriers, barn owls, muntjac deer and many species of warblers.

Eventually you will come to a junction at the corner of a stone path. Keep directly ahead, still following the line of the wooden-topped retaining wall on your left. Some distance further, the retaining wall ends. Simply stay ahead on the main path (ignoring the path for Ivy House Country Hotel to your right).

Across to the left you will have beautiful views beyond the reeds across Oulton Broad. Oulton Broad, thought to be the remnant of medieval peat cutting, is the most southern of the Norfolk Broads. It is a popular tourist and sporting centre and you are likely to see everything from powerboat racing, to sailing, rowing and canoeing. On the far bank you will be able to see the beautiful red brick buildings of the Old Maltings. Once a key part of the brewing industry, today the buildings are in use as residential apartments.

At the end of the path, a small gateway leads you onto the quayside at Broadlands Marina.

Broadlands Marina to Bridge Road
Broadlands Marina to Bridge Road

Start point: 52.4709 lat, 1.7033 long
End point: 52.4729 lat, 1.7093 long

Keep directly ahead along the quayside, continue past the washrooms and join the path ahead with a fence running on your left. Stay with this path as it swings left around the banks of Tubby’s Marina. At a junction with a footbridge to your right, turn left and then follow the main tarmac path as it swings steadily right with Oulton Broad on your left.

At the junction with the wide concrete track, turn right (heading for the rowing club) and then turn left across the back of the slipway. Beyond this, turn left again following the path closest to the water’s edge, leading you into Nicholas Everitt Park. Follow the path over a bridge across the duck pond and keep ahead passing the yacht club on your left and the bandstand across to your right.

Continue ahead to leave the park via the gates and follow the wide walkway (The Boulevard) passing a number of thatched buildings on your right (including the Harbour Master’s Office). You will come to a T-junction with Bridge Road in Oulton Broad. If you need to return to Oulton Broad North rail station, turn left here. Otherwise, turn right along Bridge Road. You will come to a parking area on the right and opposite this, on the left, Fancy Cakes Patisserie, should you want a refreshment stop. When you are ready to continue your walk, return back along Bridge Road, turn left onto The Boulevard and continue up to the park gates from which you emerged.

Bridge Road to Tubby's Marina
Bridge Road to Tubby's Marina

Start point: 52.4729 lat, 1.7093 long
End point: 52.4712 lat, 1.7062 long

Pass through the park gates and, immediately afterwards, turn left (passing the bandstand across to your right). At the cream-coloured toilet block, turn right and follow this path past two buildings on your right, the second of which is the flint building which houses Lowestoft Museum. This is open seasonally but is worth a look around if you have time.

Keep ahead past the museum to reach the duck pond. Pass to the left of this and, as you draw level with the bridge, turn left to join the tarmac path running closest to Oulton Broad on your right. The path leads you to a slipway. Turn right across the back of the slipway and then follow the track as it swings right again. Turn left to continue on the path closest to the water’s edge. The path swings steadily left. Just before you reach a footbridge ahead, turn right to follow the path alongside Tubby’s Marina on your right.

Tubby's Marina to Path T Junction
Tubby's Marina to Path T Junction

Start point: 52.4712 lat, 1.7062 long
End point: 52.4694 lat, 1.6965 long

The path continues with a fence running on your right. Just before the end of this fence, turn left across a wide concrete bridge and then keep ahead to join a single vehicle track. When the track swings left, turn right to join a narrow signed footpath (part of the Angles Way – more of that later). The path leads you between the lodges of a holiday village. Cross over the access track and take the path which continues ahead. Beyond the lodges, keep ahead through the caravan site, cross another entrance lane and take the narrow footpath ahead.

Stay with this path which follows the line of trees on your right as it leads you through a number of rough fields (passing by a disused stile along the way). At the far end, cross the stile ahead to reach the gravel entrance drive for Ivy House Country Hotel. Take the stile ahead into the paddock (NOTE: if you have a dog with you that cannot climb this stile, you are likely to find the field gate open. Walk to the right of the stile into the car park and you will find the gate on your left).

Walk straight along the paddock, following the fence line on your right. In the far corner, pass through the kissing gate and you will come to a T-junction within the path.

Path T Junction to Sprat's Bridge
Path T Junction to Sprat's Bridge

Start point: 52.4694 lat, 1.6965 long
End point: 52.4667 lat, 1.687 long

Turn right and follow the left-hand fence as it swings left to reach a signed junction. Ignore the path signed right, simply keep ahead on the stone path with a Landspring Drain on your right. This path is still part of the Angles Way, a 93 mile long distance path following the county boundary of Norfolk and Suffolk, gently meandering from Great Yarmouth through to Thetford.

At the end of the path you will pass the square parking area for the Carlton Marshes visitor centre on your left. Continue past this to pass a noticeboard on your right and you will come to a vehicle track bridleway. Turn right for a few metres to reach a kissing gate ahead. Pass through this and turn immediately left through another kissing gate. Follow the stone path winding through the marsh with the Landspring Drain running on your left.

Pass through the next two kissing gates ahead and, 90 metres later, you will see a gated footbridge on your left. This is the access point to another small section of the reserve which is home to a small broad, Sprat’s Water. No dogs are allowed in this section, but if you are dog-free then feel free to take a small diversion to explore this area. When you are finished return back to this main path.

Sprat's Bridge to Pumping Station
Sprat's Bridge to Pumping Station

Start point: 52.4667 lat, 1.687 long
End point: 52.4757 lat, 1.6711 long

Keep ahead along the main path, with the Landspring Drain still on the left. At the next junction, with another footbridge on the left, turn right. Follow this wide track between the reed beds as it swings gradually left and then turns right to join a very long straight section, heading north west.

This unmade track can be muddy at times, but this gives you the perfect opportunity to look out for more signs of the resident wildlife. Keep your eyes peeled for otter, deer and bird footprints within the mud surface. Stay with the track all the way to its end where you will reach a pumping station.

Pumping Station to End
Pumping Station to End

Start point: 52.4757 lat, 1.6711 long
End point: 52.4821 lat, 1.6686 long

Pass to the left of the pumping station to reach the riverside path. Turn right along the riverside embankment and follow this ahead, with the River Waveney running on your left. Further along, ignore the path signed off to the right, instead continue ahead. Just before a dense hedgerow begins of the left, you will come to the landing point for the Ternpike Ferry. Call 07500 571232 to summon the ferry and this will take you across the river to reach Waveney River Centre. Welcome to Norfolk!

Make your way up to the main reception (the blue building by the main slipway) to pay your fare if you haven’t already done so. Alongside the reception you will find the recently refurbished and dog-friendly Waveney Inn for some well-earned hospitality. If you wish, walk further up the access lane (past the glamping escape pods on your right) and then turn right to visit St Mary’s Church which has a thatched roof and a most unusual tower. In the early 1900s locals were fond of telling holidaymakers that the church tower was in fact telescopic and was wound up at the beginning of each sailing season and wound down again to mark the onset of winter!

After your meal, take time to explore more of Waveney River Centre. Within the park you will find Eddie's Pool and Cafe and the Mariner's Stores, as well as a children’s playground and wildlife garden. The accommodation range offers something for everyone from the glamping Escape Pods, to Luxury Lodges with hot tubs and modern Penthouses to the Hotel Rooms within the Waveney Inn.

If you need to continue the walk back to Oulton Broad, simply follow the directions from the start of this walking guide.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2016 by the author clairesharpuk 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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