Days Out: Exploring the River Thurne

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Potter Heigham, Thurne and Hickling

#2 in our series of Days out in the Broads

Potter Heigham is set right in the heart of the Broads and people have been visiting for holidays since the 1900s. Boat building has been established for many decades and Herbert Woods Boatyard, the first boatyard to operate Broads Cruisers at the start of the 1900s, is still present in Potter Heigham today.

Lathams at Potter Heigham

All good days start with a good breakfast. Located just a few yards from Potter Heigham Bridge overlooking the River Thurne, begin your day out at Bridgestones for traditional, home cooked food in a happy friendly atmosphere. They are open every day from 8:45am until 5:00pm. There’s outside seating next to the river and an all-weather ‘dog friendly’ garden room so you can bring your four-legged friends too.

After breakfast, make sure you pop next door to Lathams. Lathams opened in 1963 as an ‘Aladdin’s Cave’ primarily stocking everything for the holiday maker and fishermen. Today they still sell almost everything, from camping equipment, clothing, toys and games to furniture and fitness. A visit to Lathams is a must if you’re nearby.

Thurne Mill
Beautiful Thurne Mill

Whilst you’re there, pick up some fishing tackle and get some inside local knowledge about the best fishing spots and what to catch. Potter Heigham is a great place to catch Bream. Now you’re all ready to while away a few peaceful hours on the riverbank. Set up at one of the many riverside pegs or from a boat.

If angling isn’t your thing, a mile or so along the Weavers Way footpath with take you towards The Wind Energy Museum at to Repps with Bastwick. A small, fascinating museum in the heart of the Broads demonstrating 200 years of Norfolk drainage mills with working exhibits, the only collection of its kind in the UK. In fact, many of the exhibits are the only ones left in existence.

Continue back on the Weavers Way footpath for another 2.5 miles and you’ll reach Thurne Mill, a distinctive part the Broads National Park landscape and the only white mill on the Broads. Finishing its working life in 1936, this iconic mill has now been restored to full working order and is one of only a handful that can be seen turning majestically in the wind. Look out for their open days between May and September.

The River Ant
The River Ant

Later in the afternoon, take a drive 6 miles north of Potter Heigham to Hickling Broad. From Hickling village follow the ‘brown badger ’ tourist signs into Stubb road and on to the nature reserve. There is a large car park, visitor centre and toilets. The reserve has a ‘no dogs’ policy, but visitors with dogs can walk Weavers Way public footpath along the South edge of the Broad. There is also a public footpath from Hickling village North of the reserve – from here you can see some areas of the reserve.

NWT Hickling Broad is the largest Broad and is a year-round haven for wildlife. Enjoy a guided wildlife water trail boat tour or hire a canoe. Look out for common crane as well as important breeding numbers of bittern, marsh harrier bearded tit and Cetti’s warbler.

Greyhound Inn Pies.jpg
Pies at the Greyhound Inn

The Greyhound Inn in the heart of Hickling village is the perfect place to end your day. This traditional village pub serves food 7 days a week and they have a varied menu to suit all tastes. The Greyhound boasts a roaring open fire and a sheltered outside area for the winter, and in the summer, a sun-trap front terrace.