The Thatch Advice Centre is pleased that there are so many wonderful places to visit that also have the opportunity to see some interesting, and often unusual, thatch. The floating Ranworth Broad Visitor Centre is no exception. We did wonder about where the scaffolding went when they were thatching? Thanks to their team for help with the information for this article. We do hope you will think about visiting this great site.
Where is Ranworth Broad
“Ranworth Broad is part of the Bure Marshes National Nature Reserve. It is one of a network of highly important sites for wetland wildlife which make up the Broads National Park. In 1945 the Cator family gave Ranworth and Cockshoot Broads to Norfolk Wildlife Trust (NWT).”
Ranworth Broad is situated close to the village of Ranworth in the heart of the Norfolk Broads (NR13 6HY). Directions from their website by car, train, bike bus and foot.
About Ranworth Broad
“Since the Broads were formed in the Middle Ages they have been turning back into dry land. This natural process, which happens gradually over many years, is known as succession.
It starts as the plants growing at the water’s edge trap mud and dead material between their roots and stems. Slowly layers are built up, the ground level is raised and becomes drier. NWT Ranworth Broad is a fantastic site to see all the different stages in the succession between open water and woodland along the boardwalk trail.”
What to see at Ranworth Broad
Not only is it a wonderful area to visit there are birds, butterflies and mammals to see.
“During the summer common tern nest on the artificial rafts and great crested grebe can be seen diving for fish. Swallow and swift hunt for insects over the water. The swallowtail butterfly is common here in early summer, while in later summer its caterpillars feed on milk parsley. Dragonflies are also common. Look for Norfolk hawker, and later in the season black-tailed skimmer sunbathing on the boardwalk.
In the winter months large numbers of wildfowl such as teal, wigeon, shoveler, pochard and gadwall come here to feed. The broad is also a roost site for up to 400 cormorant, one of the largest inland roosts in Britain.”
Ranworth Broad Visitor Centre
“In 1976, on the occasion of NWT’s 50th anniversary, The Queen opened the thatched Broads Wildlife Centre, accompanied by Prince Philip. This innovative visitor centre appears along the boardwalk from behind the reeds, and actually floats on the Broad itself. Otters can be spotted swimming around its base and a flash of orange and blue as a kingfisher flies past.
The centre is open Easter to October, 10am – 5pm. During October it is weekends and half-term only. From the panoramic windows there are beautiful views over Ranworth Broad, plus a gift shop, interactive displays and light refreshments. Toilets are available in Ranworth village.”
Ranworth Broad is well worth a visit
There is lots to see and do and Ranworth Broad.
“The nature reserve is open every day, dawn till dusk. Free entry, donations welcome. Please use the NWT car park in Ranworth village as there is no parking at the nature reserve entrance. It is a short walk from the village to the start of the nature trail along the boardwalk to the Broads Wildlife Centre. DO NOT step off the boardwalk.
Take the ferry to and from Ranworth Broad Visitor & Information Centre or join us on a longer boat trail to explore the wildlife on the broad with one of our experienced guides. The Broad is closed to boats and so it is the perfect way to discover the wildlife on the water. We also run themed trips throughout the summer such as to NWT Cockshoot Broad and to St Benets Abbey. Full itinerary and booking in the centre. Sorry no dogs on the Ranworth nature trail boardwalk or in the visitor centre.”
We really hope you will pop along, see the thatch and everything thing else there is to offer. Feel free to send us some pictures, especially of the thatch!