You’re walking beside the river. Your coat is done up to the collar and your hands are glad of their gloves. The reeds are golden plumes now that autumn has set in, frost crystals cluster on their stems. You listen to the bustle of incoming mallards, their bodies skimming ripples across the still water. The ground is hard beneath the soles of your walking boots, you listen with childish pleasure for the crack of ice puddles beneath them. From the hedgerows you spy ripened blackberries which you pick and the familiar tartness of them makes you smile at your own grimace. As you stride on, you hear the rustle of hedgerows just in time to watch a water deer breaking from its cover. An acorn falls from an overhanging oak tree and you’re compelled to put it in your pocket. Brittle leaves fracture underfoot. You admire the red berries which have already begun to show upon the holly bushes. On the ground you notice a pheasant feather, you pick it up and marvel at its softness, its russet stripes, and you poke it into your hat…
The Broads National Park is brimming with ancient footpaths which cover huge swathes of land. These paths are made up of many smaller routes meaning that you can choose anything from a week of hiking to a half-hour meander. Famous routes include The Wherryman’s Way, The Weavers’ Way and The Wensum Way.
Check out our blog on the best walks in the Broads for some more inspiration.
There are plenty of beaches in and around the Broads which are perfect for bracing walks before a cosy pub lunch. Top beaches to visit in the autumn months include, Horsey Beach, Winterton-on-Sea and Great Yarmouth. It’s also a prime time to spot seals.
There are many outside museums and monuments to visit which are great for an autumnal browse. St Benet’s Abbey, Burgh Castle, and Horsey Windpump are all just waiting to be discovered, made all the more beautiful for a layer of frost glittering in their ancient stones.
The city in the autumn time is a place of glowing shop windows, steaming coffee cups and twinkling street lights. Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft and Norwich are all either in the Broads or very close to them and are made up of historic buildings and museums and galleries aplenty.
The Broads isn’t just for summer and with the rivers becoming quieter at this time of year and most hire vessels being well equipped with kettles, blankets and even central heating, the golden leaves are no reason to shy away from a hire boat holiday.
… When you return home your feet are pleasantly aching and your fingertips are raw. You fill the kettle and listen to the familiar whistle, the hiss of boiling water. You settle deep into the warmth of your armchair and take off your hat. You smile to see the pheasant feather still striped and bronzed poking proudly from the brim. You remember to reach into your pocket and watch as the smooth acorn rolls about in your palm. The tips of your fingers are stained with forgotten blackberry juice. You remember the rippling water and the landing mallards, the frost crystals on the reeds and the bolting deer. Most of all you wonder how you could have been the only person out there, on that frost-clad morning, and how the Broads is at its most magical in autumn.