Like to be by the water at the Broads Outdoors Festival
- Credit: Archant
The third Broads Outdoors Festival, which features 70 special events over more than two weeks, is the perfect opportunity to get out on the water or just enjoy the glorious countryside. STEPHEN PILLINGER reports.
Tomorrow sees the start of the Broads Outdoors Festival, with more than 70 fantastic events to enjoy in the great outdoors. This is the festival's third year, with events running until May 19.
There are lots of opportunities to get out on the water and the chance to visit places that are rarely open to the public.
The festival, sponsored by Archant and Hoseasons, shows all that Britain's Magical Waterland has to offer and aims to encourage local people to try new experiences right on their doorstep, focusing on walking and cycling as well as more traditional boating activities.
Organised by the Broads Authority and Broads Tourism, it aims to support tourism at a relatively quiet time of the year.
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The first Horning Boat Show, attracting more than 60 exhibitors, opens the festival with a splash on Saturday, taking over the village from 10am to 5pm.
And with plenty of opportunities to get on the water in between, the festival finishes with the Broads Green Boat and Tourism Show at Salhouse Broad, from 10am to 4pm on May 19.
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An event billed for all the family, there will be a chance to try out canoeing, sailing and electric boating.
The bank holiday weekend sees a host of other events including the popular three-day Ludham arts and craft fair, Martham scarecrow festival and a search for wildlife at Horsey Windpump.
There is a free canoeing morning at canoe centres throughout the Broads on May 11 and guided canoe trails including dawn and sunset trips.
Bird lovers are well catered for with half a dozen dawn chorus events and a trip aboard a newly restored 1930s classic boat to watch the wading birds on Breydon Water. And several wind pumps are opening for guided tours.
Among family fun days is Go Wild at Barton Broad on May 12 which has boat trips, craft activities, pond dipping and mini beast hunting, not to mention the Norfolk Worm Charming Championships.
For full festival details and times, visit www.outdoorsfestival.co.uk
HIGHLIGHTS THIS WEEK
Horning Boat Show
The first-ever Horning Boat Show takes place tomorrow. On display will be traditional and modern, luxury and affordable motor cruisers, yachts and launches plus inflatables and RIBs. Other exhibitors include marine insurance and finance providers, hire fleets, yacht brokers, car dealers and some with broader appeal. Entry is free and BeWILDerwood will be offering reduced price entry to their Adventure Park after 3pm for visitors to the Boat Show.
Dawn Chorus Day
Sunday is International Dawn Chorus Day. At 5am Enjoy the Magic of Dawn at Whitlingham Country Park. Booking essential on 01603 756094. Wildlife Watch starts at 8am at Buckenham Marshes, pre-book on 01603 715191. A little later, The Ted Ellis Nature Reserve, Wheatfen, Surlingham has a Morning Birdsong Walk at 9am. Pre-book on 01508 538036. Also at 9am, Heigham Holmes at Martham has a birdwatching Wildwalk. Booking essential for a special chance (for adults only) to visit this National Trust reserve which is rarely open to the public. Call 01493 393450. There's also a Dawn Guided Canoe Trail on the River Bure at 6am. Pre-book on 0845 4969177. There's a Classic Boat and Birdwatching Day at 9.30am, going to Breydon Water and Berney Marshes. Book on 01502 677343.
Out On The Water
For more opportunities to get out on the water, there are two full days of sailing on board Wherry Albion this week, on return trips from Ludham. A May 7 trip will take you to Cockshoot Dyke where a ranger will give a guided tour, while a May 7 trip goes to Ranworth and St Helen's Church. Pre-book on 01692 630593. www.wherryalbion.com
Several unusual walks are taking place. Enjoy Marshy Meanderings at Fleggburgh on May 7, 10am-12pm. Can you spot the difference between a hawker and a darter dragonfly or a marsh fern and a buckler fern? Learn more about the wildlife found in the fen from the wardens. Pre-book on 01603 782281 On May 8, 10am-1pm, there's another chance (for adults only) to visit Heigham Holmes. Pre-book on 01493 393450. The same evening, 7-9pm, you can do the Bramerton Stroll - a free circular walk off the Wherryman's Way. Find out about the wildlife and heritage of this historic and lovely part of the Yare valley. Pre-book on 01603 756094.