Via Norwich Metropolis By Kayak


Sloughbottom Park is a big park subsequent to Mile Cross in Norwich and is dwelling to a number of grass soccer pitches, a basketball court docket, a BMX observe and a plethora of glad canine walkers. It additionally has a free automobile park and a half-mile flat, paved stroll to the river from the automobile park.

It is for that reason Sloughbottom Park makes a very good begin to a journey by kayak on the River Wensum. Going upstream takes you towards Hellesdon and downstream takes you thru the center of Norwich itself. 

Coming into the river is slightly difficult right here. There aren’t any pontoons, nevertheless there’s a little bit of collapsed synthetic river banking which has made an excellent handy on-off level.

As soon as you might be in, the present eases you alongside and also you enter a really rural river regardless of being so near the town. Swans, geese, geese, dragonflies are all seen inside moments and it’s laborious to imagine you might be so near the town.

Through Norwich City By Kayak 1

It doesn’t final lengthy, nevertheless it actually does remind you ways fairly the areas round Norwich are. You quickly come across Wensum Park, a stunning riverside park with a small pavilion and steps down into the river.

It’s a very fashionable park in good climate, kids feeding the water fowl and flats overlook a wider stretch of the river bend. 

Wensum Park

Then the industrialisation actually kicks in. The again of Oak Road sees scrap vehicles piled atop each other on the riverbank and builders hammering away at constructing a block of flats that may overlook the river.

A digital actuality gaming store has a small pontoon obtainable to cease at earlier than crossing underneath the busy double bridges of St Crispin’s Street, certainly one of which was in-built 1882. Low sufficient that you could contact them as you move underneath, the bridges mark the official arrival into the town.

St Crispins Bridge

It’s only a brief distance from the bridges that you simply come across the one hurdle upon the route; the New Mills sluice gate. Having been talked about way back to the twelfth century and having been rebuilt and repurposed many occasions, the New Mills sluice varieties a barrier throughout the river to which boats and kayaks are unable to move.

Luckily, The Broads Authority accomplished a canoe portage in 2020 to allow river customers’ simpler passage across the sluice. Nevertheless, it’s nonetheless fairly a difficult activity because the portage is sort of excessive; dragging a strong kayak or a paddleboard up may be fairly powerful.

I got here properly ready with my collapsible trolley stowed within the again, and as soon as I dragged the kayak up and out, I walked it throughout to the portage on the opposite aspect of the sluice.

New Mills Sluice North Portage
New Mills Sluice

As soon as you might be again within the water, it’s the final time you have to depart your vessel between the town and the ocean. 

The excessive partitions of the Riverside Stroll enclose the river, tiny metropolis gardens again in opposition to the brick work of the river. Outdated ladders drop to small boats which can be tied up and await their summer time use.

Passers-by look down into the river and regardless of not being the one paddler out on the day, individuals nonetheless wave or nod a greeting. 

Riverside Walk on the left

On the St. Miles Coslany Road bridge, markers seem to point out the peak of the devastating 1912 flood water, which minimize Norwich off from the remainder of the nation for 2 days, as seven inches of rain fell inside 24 hours in August.

The Bullards Brewery constructing hosts one such marker. The chimney, lengthy since gone, the outdated Anchor Brewery is now a residential house, but the gold lettering on the aspect of the constructing reminds these passing of its wealthy historical past.

Bullard and Sons Anchor Brewery
Bullard & Sons Anchor Brewery – the flood degree is the decrease left white brick amongst the purple

The following landmark is the derelict Japanese Electrical energy Board’s workplace buildings that minimize an imposing slab throughout the right-hand aspect of the river.

Architect Edward Boardman was chargeable for designing the constructing, a aptitude that may be seen in his different Norwich designed constructing, the outdated Norwich and Norfolk hospital.

One other similarity may be present in that it’s seemingly that the Duke Road EEB constructing might be become lodging, reportedly constructed to serve residences to the Norwich College of the Arts which may be seen a brief paddle from the constructing.

There’s additionally an uncommon warehouse positioned on the location. As a part of an artwork undertaking, the constructing has been lined in each phrase of Sir Thomas Moore’s ‘Utopia’ and may be seen from the highway on Duke Road, in addition to the river.

Norwich University of the Arts (NUA) and St Georges Bridge

Passing underneath the bridge adjoining to NUA comes two potential relaxation areas. The primary, on the left, is an outdated portage on the backside of a set of stairs. As I handed, a pair of anglers had been enjoyable underneath the massive willow tree.

On the right-hand aspect, the Ribs of Beef pub has an excellent, lately refurbished terrace full with an simply accessible pontoon. The one snag is {that a} native ‘Pub & Paddle’ firm function from right here, making house a premium.

Nevertheless, if you’re seeking to set off from the centre of the town and don’t need to convey your personal tools, it’s a fantastic place to rent paddle boards. As I had distance in thoughts, I handed by the terribly inviting pub and underneath the Fye Bridge. 

Ribs of Beef and Fye Bridge

Alongside the Scandinavian-looking Quayside, the river heads in the direction of the Whitefriars bridge, the place the native legislation courts may be discovered.

Extra residential areas are being constructed reverse, bringing a lot wanted regeneration to a different former industrial website. Cranes and scaffolding cling over the air of the river, one thing that will put some individuals off their paddle. Nevertheless, it’s thrilling to see websites which have fallen into disrepair and overloaded with damaged concrete and graffiti, be become dwellings that might showcase the exclusivity of the river. 

Whitefriars Bridge
Whitefriars Bridge

Passing underneath Jarrold Bridge, a footbridge on the east aspect of the legislation courts, the river takes a extra rural really feel once more, because of the proximity of the cathedral grounds.

The nation’s final surviving Swan Pit may be seen on the cathedral aspect of the river. It isn’t a lot of a landmark and it’s a throwback to a fairly medieval practise, however an attention-grabbing construction all the identical.

A brief distance away, on the identical aspect of the river, the English Heritage, 1300’s artillery tower that’s Cow Tower, holds a strategic place over a nook of the river. The parapets had been broken by artillery throughout Kett’s Riot and the tower was additional broken within the early 1900’s throughout “restore work”, nevertheless, the uncommon properties of getting been constructed for gunpowder cannons and arrow slits for small weapons and crossbows, mark this constructing as a sight value seeing.

Paddling across the bend of the river on which it sits, lends an air of simply how imposing the tower will need to have been, ought to you may have considered attacking the town. 

Cow Tower

The following part of the river encompasses Norwich in a nutshell. On the left-hand aspect, the noisy metropolis visitors of the A147 supplies a loud backdrop to a few of the most scenic areas of the town centre on the proper.

Passing underneath the one surviving medieval bridge within the metropolis, the 1340’s Bishop Bridge is one other reminder of the town’s wealthy heritage. Robert Kett’s males led an assault on the gatehouse and entered the town right here in the course of the rebel. These days, the Purple Lion pub out of doors space guards of the oldest, nonetheless usable bridges in Britain. 

Bishop Bridge and the Red Lion
Bishop Bridge and the Purple Lion

The cathedral grounds roll in previous the bridge, the spire solely seen between the massive, leafy bushes that are a heritage in themselves.

Pull’s Ferry adjoins the river slightly additional down. This was the water gate for the cathedral and this twelfth century flint constructing noticed different iterations, comparable to having a splendidly arched gatehouse constructed earlier than turning into an inn and at last a privately owned residence. 

Pulls Ferry

The noise turns into louder, the boats develop into larger and the river will get deeper as you head towards Foundry Bridge.

On the left, the very secluded Norwich Yacht Station is a really clear and tidy constructing, hidden from sight of the highway. So hidden, that till I had kayaked previous, I had not recognized of its existence, tucked beside one of many busiest streets in Norwich down a flight of stone stairs.

Reverse the station, the Complet Angler pub shows hanging flower decor from its below-street-level out of doors terrace. The one disgrace is that there was no actual space to tie up and exit the kayak. 

Compleat Angler

Extra water-hire choices may be discovered on the Station-side of the river; TheCanoeMan Norwich presents a wide range of completely different experiences, from kayaks and paddle boards, to in a single day tenting experiences on the water.

The employees on responsibility that day gave me a pleasant wave as they seemed up from their e-book on a quiet day. The prepare station constructing loomed over the financial institution as I made my well beyond, the clock tower seen even from my low view of the realm, which I realised was really extra appreciative with out with the ability to see a lot of the visitors darting round in entrance of it. 

Norwich Rail Station from the water

The following part of the river may be very pedestrianised. As soon as dwelling to Norwich’s ‘Riverside’ nightlife, a lot of the bars and golf equipment have given technique to eating places, a cinema advanced and a bowling centre alongside residential buildings.

Two pedestrian swing bridges cross the river so as to hyperlink the realm to the King Road, Girl Julian Bridge and the Novi Unhappy Friendship Bridge. Girl Julian wrote the earliest recognized e-book by a lady within the UK and Novi Unhappy is certainly one of Norwich’s twinned cities in Serbia.

New blocks of residential buildings have gone up and this space of riverside has develop into a improvement hub over the past decade and extra. All these brownfield websites had been concrete graveyards, surrounded by a horrible blue plastic fence, so tidy residential areas are a welcome addition to the river. 

Novi Sad Friendship Bridge Norwich

Paddling my manner alongside, the subsequent part is Carrow Bridge, a lifting bridge, offering entry for bigger vessels to the town. Two outdated medieval increase towers straddle the river, a part of the town’s outdated defences which a series was capable of be raised in defence of the town.

Luckily, the best way was clear and thru the blocks of flats on my left-hand aspect, glimpses of Carrow Street and Norwich Metropolis Soccer Membership may very well be seen. 

As I started to go away the town behind, extra derelict buildings appeared, scheduled to be become extra residences.

The positioning was once the outdated Colman’s Mustard manufacturing unit, which on some days would bathe the town with the odor of mint as they made mint sauce, has fallen into disrepair and is scheduled to develop into residential. 

Additional alongside, as you move Norwich Yacht Membership, you be part of the River Yare and Whitlingham Nation Park seems on the right-hand aspect, a incredible space to stroll canines and residential to crusing golf equipment and a wide range of water actions.

A campsite can be close by and the biking route by way of is especially picturesque in the summertime. Because the river widens, an island seems on the left, the prepare tracks operating a bridge from over one aspect, to over the opposite, with a ship firm the one factor in between.

On the left-hand aspect is Thorpe St Andrew, a small city east of the centre of Norwich. Alongside the river financial institution, a number of licensed premises again their gardens onto the water, with the aptly named Rivergarden pub having a small floating pontoon on the water. 

Deciding this was a very good place to cease, I climbed out finally for some lunch and a Guinness. It was time to go again, my journey from Sloughbottom Park to Thorpe St Andrew being roughly 8km downstream and it took round two hours.

The return journey took round half an hour longer. Nevertheless, this did embrace a cease for one more beverage on the Ribs of Beef on the best way again. Coming underneath Carrow Bridge, it was a pleasant to the touch to see the ‘Tremendous Metropolis’ signal that encompasses most routes into the town. 

Carrow Bridge - A Fine City
Carrow Bridge

What was much more particular was what occurred as I used to be about ten minutes from the top of my journey.

As I sheltered beneath a big tree because the heavens determined to open, a splash of blue flew throughout my left-hand aspect forward of me. Because the rain eased off, I suspected what it was and tried to silently chase nearer up the river. I desperately tried to take a photograph of the Kingfisher that had flown up River alongside me nevertheless it proved elusive to my common digital camera. Nevertheless, should you resolve to take a kayak or paddle board out and observe in my wake, it’s possible you’ll simply see one too.

A glimpse of the cathedral

Or perhaps an otter as they’re recognized to benefit from the river round Duke Road, too.

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