account arrow-down arrow-left arrow-right closecontact-us emailFacebookheart instagramjoin linkedin phonepinterestplaysearch twitteryoutube

Norfolk & Suffolk Broads

The Broads system consists principally of tidal rivers over which there is a presumption of public right of navigation. 

Things to do nearby

Facts & Stats

110.7 miles


The total navigable length of the main rivers and cuts in the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads.

1 lock


There is only one navigable lock found  in the River Waveney, Mutford Lock in Lowestoft.



The Main rivers and cuts of the broads

Man-made dykes, channels and basins have been added to the main rivers and broads, and the legal status of some of these is unclear.

The main rivers and cuts comprising the Norfolk & Suffolk Broads are:

  • River Ant – 8.3 miles (12.2 km)
  • River Bure – 31.3 miles (50.3 km) with a further 9 miles (14.5 km) and 5 locks derelict
  • River Chet – 3.5 miles (5.6 km)
  • Haddiscoe New Cut – 2.5 miles (4 km)
  • Oulton Broad and Dyke – 4.5 miles (7.2 km)
  • Stalham Dyke – 1.6 miles (2.4 km)
  • River Thurne – 5.8 miles (9.2 km)
  • River Waveney – 21.6 miles (34.7 km), and 1 lock, with a further 4.2 miles and 3 locks derelict
  • River Yare – 31.6 miles (50.8 km)

The river Ant connects to the North Walsham & Dilham Canal, which is currently closed but under restoration. 



By the 12th century much of the woodland in this area had been cleared for fuel and building and over the next few centuries, peat was extracted in large quantities. The pits gradually began to fill with water, forming a wetland landscape rich in wildlife. The waterways were vital for communications and commerce. By the 16th century, Norwich was the second largest city in England after London. Goods from the city were exported world-wide through Great Yarmouth. The arrival of the railways brought competition for waterways transport but also brought visitors to the Broads.

Waterway notes

Maximum Boat Sizes

The maximum size of vessels that can use the Broads is not limited by locks (other than Mutford Lock), and craft with a height of 6′ 6″ (2 metres) and draught of 5′ (1.5 metres) can access most parts of the Broads.



Shop Guidebooks and Maps for the Norfolk Broads

Local Events

Waterway news

Proposed housing application at Froghall

A planning application has recently been submitted for land directly south of the basin at the start of the Uttoxeter Canal in Froghall.

Waterways affected by the HS2 plans

The latest HS2 Phase 2b Western Leg Design Refinement proposals affect the Ashton Canal and Rochdale Canal in Manchester.

Waterways in Progress Grant: Chesterfield Canal

£50,000 was awarded to Rewatering Renishaw Phase 1a project as part of IWA’s Waterways in Progress Grants.

Waterways in Progress Grant: Swansea Canal

IWA awarded £18,000 to the Swansea Canal Society’s Coed Gwilym Park Slipway Project as part of IWA’s Waterways in Progress Grants in 2019.

Waterways in Progress Grant: Wilts & Berks Canal

£13,960 was awarded the Shrivenham Canal Park Project as part of IWA’s Waterways in Progress Grants.

Local activities