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Water, Mills and Marshes is the most ambitious programme dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the Broads National Park ever undertaken.

We are delivering 38 projects over five years and changing how people experience this unique landscape. From restoring industrial heritage and preserving traditional skills to environmental conservation and education programmes, we want to see visitor numbers soar and local people embrace their surroundings.

Here you can find out the latest news from some of these exciting projects.

Checking in on the Chet boat

We’re building a replica of a 12th-century boat found in the River Chet near Loddon in 2013.

This summer, 196 pupils from four primary schools took day trips to the International Boatbuilding Training College in Lowestoft to see how the project was progressing.

They learnt all about Anglo Saxon boat-building techniques and designed their own boats, visited Burgh Castle marshes, and spent the afternoon roving and carving runes, using traditional tools.

The replica Chet Boat build is progressing well and we should have it in the water by the end of October.




Bring back the birds

Lapwing Vanellus vanellus, adult sitting on grassland with young

Forty per cent of the Broads National Park is lowland wet grassland, meaning it’s ideal for lowland breeding and over-wintering birds. Sadly, with their habitat under threat, these bird species are in decline nationally. They need short grass sward for nesting, which requires high water levels and adequate livestock grazing.

But thanks to the appointment of a dedicated wet grassland conservation advisor, funded by WMM, four landowners have received support and advice, with two already installing wet features for breeding waders and wintering wildfowl.

One of these is Lord Somerleyton, whose efforts at Herringfleet Marshes on the Somerleyton Estate have been rewarded with an increase in breeding lapwing and redshank.

<<Read the full story>>

An experience to remember

We take the Broads very seriously, but that doesn’t mean getting out and about in the national park isn’t a fun, exhilarating experience. Thanks to our Experience Days, more people than ever are enjoying everything the area has to offer. And over the last few months, we’ve been busy…

And we have had some great feedback.

“Thank you for the whole project, the support, the brilliant leadership, smooth running of the events, the experiences the children have gained, and the opportunities to get in touch with and instil a love of our amazing natural environments.”
Chris Terry, Head Teacher, Reedham Primary School

A grand gesture

Our ‘Grand for a Grand Idea’ funding scheme is all about investing in local people and community groups who have a small-scale project that fits one of four key themes: exploring the landscape, historic landscape, natural landscape, and community groups. With £40,000 up for grabs, we have already invested in some exciting projects.

One of which is the establishment of the Southtown Common Nature Reserve, where the Great Yarmouth and Gorleston Allotment Association have already made great progress. They’ve manually cleared the site to make way for a new stream and ponds. The work will turn the waste ground into a wonderful habitat and community resource while also providing much needed flood water storage, preventing flooding in the local area during rain storms. Take a look at these before and after photos.

Incredible progress at Southtown Common. From waste ground to the beginnings of a nature reserve and community water garden in 6 months.

There is still more work to do on site, but by Spring, it will be completely transformed and open for the local community to use.

Scenic celebration

Our ‘Celebrating the Landscape’ projects include collaborating with Norwich University of the Arts students to create work that observes, showcases and applauds the beauty and brilliance of the Broads.

This year, NUA BA Illustration graduate Chrissy Lasham-Sturgess created a mental health and wellbeing trail around Strumpshaw Reserve and the Steam Engine House as part of her degree’s ‘mindfulness and wellbeing’ curriculum. And Sophie Cane received an RSA Fellows Award for her creative workshop kit for local groups in Acle.

Images from the Strumpshaw wellbeing trail booklet by Chrissy Sturgess

See NUA illustration lecturers’ Mapping the Broads series at East GalleryNUA in Norwich on 28 January to 21 March 2020.

Click here to find out more about other WMM arts and crafts projects.


Be part of the Broads

If you would like to find out more about a project, get involved, or work with us to deliver an activity in your area, please contact us via the form here or phone 01603 610734 and ask to speak to the Water, Mills and Marshes team.