Potter Heigham

Potter Heigham Bridge | Ludham Bridge | Eat & Drink | Hickling Broad
Herbert Woods Boat Yard Marina | Lathams Stores & Fishing Shop

The River Thurne is a stretch of river that passes through Potter Heigham village leading to Hickling Broad, Martham and beyond, with various lovely little country villages providing stopping points along the way. Potter Heigham is nestled neatly along the banks of this river and is one of the main centres for boating on the Norfolk Broads – many boating holidays start from here each year. Alongside the river there are quaint bungalows and cottages that are only accessible via foot or boat, and the village is home to a well-known medieval bridge which gives access to the Upper Thurne, Hickling Broad and Horsey Mere. The famous Lathams store is situated in Potter Heigham, as well as local pubs, gift shops and one of the largest fishing shops around. Half of the village is to the south of the bridge and the other half of the village is located on the other side north of the main road (the A149) that crosses the bridge and contains a pretty village church. However, most of what you need is more or less on the banks of the river Thurne in the main boating centre so you won't need to travel far from your moored boat.

Potter Heigham Old Bridge

The Potter Heigham Reach is wide and open, offering good water and no real hazards to be found other than Potter Heigham old bridge. You'll find advanced gauge boards immediately downstream of Potter Heigham public staithe and you can clearly see the depth as you approach the bridge. At high water the bridge clearance is estimated at 6foot 8inch (2 metres) with a tidal change of estimated 6inch (15 centimetres). Due to the low clearance and arched shape of the old bridge all Hire Craft MUST use the Bridge Pilot (located by the bridge in Phoenix Fleet Boat Yard).

Be sure to take care during busy times as larger vessels may be trying to moor up if they are unable to pass through the bridge immediately. The water around the bridge is prone to strong tidal flows so you must avoid turning your boat across the flow too close to the bridge. This is because any boats that are navigating the bridge will only be able to see you once they are passing through it – so it could be too late to avoid a collision if you are turning your boat here. You are also in danger of tidal flows pushing you onto the bridge if you are boating during a strong flood tide.

There.s good water depth on the approach and throughout, however keep a watchful eye for anglers who may also be using this lovely stretch of water. Upstream of the Old Road Bridge sits the New Road Bridge which is extremely easy to navigate at a clearance of 7foot 9inch (2.35 metres), beyond which you'll come across two sets of moorings where you can stop for a rest and stretch your legs.

Lathams of Potter Heigham

A well-known brand when it comes to fishing and discount stores locally, Lathams own a fantastic discount shop and separate fishing shop that are popular with both locals and visiting tourists alike. The large general store stocks everything from food, to clothing, to hardware and even includes a garden centre attached as well as a Cafe. Nationwide, fisherman talk of Lathams Fishing Shop which is known as one of the largest fishing tackle stores in the whole of the UK. In stock here you'll find thousands of different rods, reels, poles, clothing and bait (for coarse and sea angling) – something for every kind of fisherman, no matter what you are hoping to catch. They stock fresh bait and have a knowledgeable team of local staff who can provide insider hints and tips about the local area. They'll tell you where's best to fish depending upon the season and what you are looking for. If you're a keen fisherman or even new to the sport, be sure to call in at Lathams.

Herbert Woods Boat Yard

This amazing boat yard specialises in cruiser boating holidays and has a fleet of vessels of various sizes, from cruisers for large groups of upto 10 to small comfortable boats for couples. Their boats are very spacious and well-equipped with everything you could possibly need for your adventure around The Norfolk Broads. With a modern well appointed fleet of cruisers Herbert Woods are one of the main holiday broads cruiser boat hirers on the Broads. Some of the Elite luxury craft in the fleet boast features such as Satellite Domes (to receive FreeSat TV anywhere on the Broads), Bow Thrusters, en-suite bedrooms, high quality designer furnishings and stylish granite style kitchen work surfaces.
If you're looking for a day boat for some local fishing or just a small launch for a nice picnic on the water, Herbert Woods also have day boats and canoes available for those shorter trips, allowing you to get close to nature and really take in the Broads at its best, from the water!

Pubs and Restaurants

In Potter Heigham there are a variety of country pubs, cafes and restaurants for you to enjoy during the day and in the evening after mooring up for the night.

Flour and Bean Cafe - located in Lathams main store this Coffee shop and Cafe serves Coffee, Tea and cakes as well as sandwiches, soups and pastries daily.

Broads Haven Tavern - if you're looking for something a little more than just a cafe sandwich, be sure to check out the Broads Haven Tavern, which serves a wide selection of food and drink all day. Located right by the old bridge, Broads Haven Tavern is a place to kick back with the locals and enjoy some time on land, without straying from your moorings.

The Falgate Inn - this is a traditional country pub that is popular with the locals and visitors, the restaurant serves typical pub grub and has a cosy feel to it. The Falgate is located about a 10 minute walk away from the river at Potter Heigham towards Ludham.

Hickling Broad

If you continue along the upper Thurne after passing through Potter Heigham bridges you will approach Candle Dyke on your left, take this fork in the river and you will be heading towards Hickling. Candle Dyke is surrounded by reeds and Duck Broad is to your right – do not stray from the main channel in Hickling Broad which is clearly marked by navigation posts, as the water near the reed beds becomes shallow. You will need to take a left fork into Deep Go Dyke and you will reach Hickling Broad. At Hickling Staithe (at the north end of the Broad) you'll find the Pleasure Boat Inn with mooring available, the approach is clearly marked with buoys to guide vessels through the shallower water – take care if your vessel is drawing more than 1.2 metres at low water.

At Hickling Broad you'll come across a truly remarkable Nature Reserve, perfect for anyone who has an interest in wildlife and bird watching. Hickling Broad is the largest of the Broads and it is a haven for wildlife, with rushes and reeds along the edges of the large wetland area. You could easily spend a day having an adventure in this area, located at the upper stretches of the River Thurne.

The Norfolk Wildlife Trust has a Visitors Centre which can be reached via the Staithe Footpath from Hickling Staithe near the Pleasure Boat Inn. You can enter the Nature Reserve via the Visitor's Centre, where you'll find informative displays as well as gifts, books and refreshments. Dogs are not allowed as they may disturb the nature and wildlife of the area. You'll come across paths and boardwalks forming wildlife trails, one trail offers wheelchair access and the paths are very easy to follow, although be aware that on particularly wet days the paths could be wet and muddy. The paths will take you through dykes and reed beds and onto some hides, where you might spot some wading birds including Redshank and Snipe. Along your walk you will come across three different observation points that offer spectacular views over Hickling Broad and onto the landscape beyond.

Ludham Village

Nearby the village of Potter Heigham lies the slightly larger village of Ludham, which has a quaint country church and provides access to Womack Water and the River Thurne via village Staithe. Ludham Tackle fishing shop is located right by the Staithe providing a selection of tackle and bait as well as offering a fishing day boat hire service. Ludham is close to two main rivers in the north of the Norfolk Broads – the Thurne and the Ant – so as well as having access to Womack Water Ludham bridge crosses the River Ant to the West of the Village. There is a beautiful nature walk through the nature reserve here up High Mill Hill and across Ludham Marshes that offers outstanding river views and the opportunity to get close to nature.

Ludham Bridge on the River Ant has a clearance that many hire craft do not have a problem with of around 8foot 6inch (2.6 metres) at high water with a rise and fall of around 8inch (20 centimetres). But the bridge is fairly narrow so it is advised to align your craft with the bridge carefully as you approach and during passing through. The bend in the river just after the bridge heading south can make visibility of oncoming boats difficult so sound the horn and keep a keen eye out for other craft. This bridge can become busy during peak season so you may need to wait patiently as the build up of boats gradually negotiate through the bridge.

The Kings Arms Pub just a few minutes walk from moorings in Womack Staithe offers a friendly family welcome with good food served all day and live music most weekends.
The Dog Inn is located a few minutes from Ludham Bridge over the River Ant near the Norfolk Broads Caravan Club Park and has a welcoming atmosphere for all visitors. They serve a good range of beers and food during peak season, the pub has a pleasant view from the beer garden towards St. Benet's Abbey.