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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

Waterway news

Aston Nature Reserve

Work to bring the Montgomery Canal back into use as a navigation must also protect habitats

Burslem Branch Canal Conservation Area

The Trent & Mersey Canal Conservation Area now includes Burslem Branch Canal.

Crown Wharf

The site on the Trent & Mersey Canal in Stone will have a development good for heritage and the community, thanks to our lobbying.

Aberdulais Aqueduct

Aberdulais Aqueduct is a Grade II* listed building and Scheduled Ancient Monument at risk from the effects of climate change.

Hammersmith Bridge

Hammersmith Bridge, an iconic heritage structure, is at risk from disagreements over funding and climate change.

Local activities