self catering holiday cottage accommodation, Wroxham, Norfolk Broads
Wherry, 25 Peninsula Cottages, Wroxham, Norfolk, Norfolk Broads

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How were the Norfolk broads formed history
The Albion wherry sailing on River Bure

The Broads originated in the Middles Ages, during the 9th to 13th centuries, as shallow pits from which generations of Norfolk people dug peat for heating and cooking purposes. Roman mercenaries, Saxon settlers and Norman conquerors all took what they needed, but it was not until the Middles Ages that peat-cutting became organized.

The monks of St. Benet's acquired all the rights as well as the services of the peasants, to the peat-cutting, consequently the Abbey  became very wealthy. The amount of fuel needed was massive. For example, the monastery of Norwich required 200,000 bales of peat a year and within two hundred years, nine million cubic feet of peat had been cut from the area, creating great holes and deep scars.

During the 14th century the sea level rose, the area flooded, and this natural accident formed the broads as we know them today. This accounts for why the Broads are fairly shallow as large lakes go, and this adds to the relative safety of these waterways for boating holiday makers, and why it is possible to moor up in the middle of a large broad and just drop mud-anchor, something that couldn’t be done for example in the deep Lochs of Scotland or the Lake District.

Over the centuries dwellers settled in the area, to benefit from the numerous Broads and their connecting river-ways, providing as they did a convenient and cheap means of transportation. There was the abundance of fish, within the waters; wild-fowlers, using specially adapted punts, found plenty to live off. Modern man now harvests the reed for roof-thatching and enjoys the Broads for recreational, holiday and educational pursuits.The Broads are many things to many people; for holiday makers and local people they provide a setting for waterborne rest and recreation which is unique in Europe.

St Bene'ts Abbey ruin on banks of river Bure, Norfolk Broads
Painting of wherry at St Benet's abbey exhibited in Museum of the Broads

Watch a 2-minute video about the history of the Wherry: click here


You can book The Albion for your special day: Just click here

You can book Albion for a special celebration day link