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

New Mills Yard (Norwich), River Wensum (Norfolk Broads)

Accessible for local, portable and trailable craft

Silver Propeller Challenge



Visit Norwich New Mills Yard on the River Wensum by boat or canoe.

Hire boats are limited to Bishops Bridge just above the Norwich Yacht Station, but may turn here and still qualify for the Silver Propeller Challenge.

A photo of your boat or canoe in the vicinity of New Mills Yard or Bishops Bridge will be a good proof of your visit.

Complete our challenge by visiting 20 locations from our list, you will receive our exclusive plaque and goody bag.


About the River Wensum in Norwich

New Mills Yard in Norwich is a former watermill complex across the River Wensum, a tributary of the River Yare, forming the head of navigation.

The development of the mills at New Mills Yard started in earnest with the construction of a corn mill in 1430 on the site of even older mills. The mill was funded by the mayor and other citizens keen to avoid the high milling charges levied by the Abbot of St Benet’s on the River Bure. By the 1780s New Mills had developed into a complex which over the years housed flour mills, a fulling mill, a saw mill, a silk mill and waterworks; pumping drinking water into the city. This was all under a single roof with waterwheels at each end of the mill structure. This was large-scale milling. In 1836 seven water pumps were driven by a waterwheel 15’ wide and 18’ in diameter.

In 1897 New Mills were again rebuilt, this time as a single-storey red brick pumping station across the Wensum forming part of the city sewerage system. It supplied compressed air to drive Shone Ejectors which pumped sewage out of the city. This system was used until 1972.

Bishops Bridge is Norwich’s only surviving medieval bridge, built about 1340 in stone with three arches and a gatehouse as part of the city walls. Downstream of Bishops Bridge is Pulls Ferry where a river ferry operated until the 1950s. It was however the site of a canal, dug by the monks in the early 1100s, used to deliver Caen limestone from France directly to site for the facing of Norwich Cathedral. Many hire boats are not allowed beyond Bishops Bridge.

[The photo shows the River Wensum as seen from New Mills Yard – by © Evelyn Simak cc-by-sa/2.0]

Notes for visitors


Postcode: NR3 3AX

What3words /// useful.scale.pack

Boat Dimensions

The maximum size of boat that can navigate the River Wensum is:-

Length: There are no locks to limit length
Beam: There are no locks to limit beam
Height: 9′ 0″ (2.74m)
Draught: 5′ 0″ (1.52m)

Canoeing, Trip Boats and Boat Hire

Canoeing is encouraged on the River Wensum with a Broads Authority licence or British Canoeing membership.

Bishy Barney Boats offer day boats and allow navigation to New Mills.  There are no trip boats in the vicinity.


Challenge Location

Norwich New Mills Yard

River Wensum

Discover more nearby

Related activities

Waterway underfunding

Hundreds of miles of waterways – along with their unique heritage and habitats – are currently starved of funding and rely on constant lobbying by us to safeguard their future.

Sustainable Boating

We want boating on canals and rivers to be more sustainable and – even though the current overall contribution to UK carbon emissions is very small – we want to help reduce emissions on the waterways.

Waterways Heritage at Risk

Britain’s canals and rivers are a unique, living heritage. But that heritage is at risk – from urban development, lack of protection, loss of skills and knowledge and climate change.

You can help Save Waterways Heritage.

Waterway restoration

Restoring the UK’s blue infrastructure – our inherited network of navigable canals and rivers – is good for people and places.