The Geezers decided to test their sea legs and hit the water with a visit to the Norfolk Broads. The group spent two days on a broads cruiser called the Galway Girl. They took the train from Stratford to Wroxham and stayed in an excellent B&B called The Moorhen run by husband and wife Neil and Josie.
A bit about the Broads
The Broads are made up of over 60 open areas of water known as Broads and seven rivers, the Ant, Bure, Chet, Thurne, Waveney, Wensum and Yare. The tourist map below shows the extent of it.
A rich past and a vibrant present
The Broads was originally dug out in mediaeval times to provide peat for fuel. In the 14th century, these peat diggings flooded, creating the beautiful waterways that the Geezers visited.
By the 19th century, the rich boating heritage of these waterways made them an obvious destination for those who enjoyed the increasingly popular pastime of pleasure boating. Today, the Broads is Britain’s third largest inland navigation area and the beauty and tranquillity of its lakes and landscapes attracts around eight million visitors every year.
The Broads is renowned for its biodiversity. It is home to more than a quarter of the rarest wildlife in the UK. We were lucky enough to see a marsh harrier (above) gliding over us.
The rivers and broads are home to many kinds of fish including perch and pike. Harvest mice and water shrews live in the fens and, if you’re very lucky, you may spot an otter.
The group sailed the 5 miles from Wroxham to Ranworth Broad and visited St. Helen’s Church , known as the ‘Cathedral of the Broads’, which stands in a commanding position overlooking the Bure Valley.
The church was completed in 1453. Unfortunately the church was undergoing some renovations so could not be accessed however the visit was not in vain as the group enjoyed a meal at the Maltsers Pub at Ranworth, and a duck feeding session where Eddie experienced probably the weirdest feeling of being pecked by a large group of ducks!
The ruins of St Benet’s Abbey was the next stop. The abbey was built in the 9th century and it is said that St Benet’s was founded on the site of a monastery where the hermit Suneman was martyred by the Danes. About the end of the 10th century it was rebuilt by one Wulfric. A generation later, c. 1022, King Canute was said to have visited and later conferred with the inhabitants, merging the surrounding parishes.
The bishop of Norwich holds open air services to this day on the site of the church that was within the grounds
The group then headed off to watch a yacht race at Wroxham Broad.
Geezers Chairman, Eddie Snooks, adds: “The Geezers met Paul Herbert at the recent visit to the Victoria Park Bowls Club. It’s a small world in Bow, and very soon the Geezers and Paul found out that they all knew each other’s mums, dads, nans, grandads etc.
“When Paul asked if the Geezers would like a couple of days boating on Galway Girl it was an offer we couldn’t refuse.
“We split the trip over two days to enable as many Geezers as possible to enjoy the Broads and Paul’s hospitality.
“It has also resulted in Paul joining the Geezers and we welcome him with open arms.”