Monday, June 25, 2007

Broad Way

Saturday Houston and I hopped on the train with our bikes and traveled to Wroxham in Norfolk, 1 1/2 hours away. We biked around the 'Broads', a series of rivers and shallow lakes, all connected so one can rent a boat and travel for days, not having to portage or go through canal locks.

History: "By the 12th century, much of east Norfolk had been cleared of its woodland for fuel and building materials. Between the 12th and 14th centuries peat digging (or turf cutting) was a major industry. Peat was (and still is on a smaller scale) for heating one's home. Historical records show that the pits gradually began to fill with water, making the turves of peat more difficult to extract. Peat diggings were abandoned by the 14th century. They flooded, and this partly man-made landscape became a wetland, rich in wildlife.

Marshmen living in the wetter lowland river valleys of the Broads developed a way of life which exploited the natural riches of the landscape. They tended cattle on the marshes, cut reed, sedge, marsh hay and litter, maintained dykes and drainage mills, and reaped a healthy harvest of fish and wildfowl to sell at local markets, as well as supplying their own needs.

The waterways were essential for communications and commerce. In the 16th century Norwich was the second largest city in England after London, its wealth founded on wool, weaving, fisheries, agriculture and general trade."

We stopped for a pub lunch right on the river and lazily sat watching the boats float by. One young man, riding on the top of his boat as it drifted by the pub, with his four buddies below, politely said to the driver, "Bill, I'd like to bring it to your attention, that you just passed a pub!"

I would love to live in a thatched cottage but I think they're probably dark and have low ceilings. This is a new build though and probably has larger rooms and more light. It's made with cement blocks then skimmed with plaster. The roof is reed, thatched and oh so nice. With proper English gardens and shrubberies, I'm sure this will be the perfect blend of old charm and modern construction.

Another one for Mo, our local postmaster back in Barnesville, Maryland. The post offices in these small villages are a blend of groceries, post cards, hardware, ice cream and stamps.

We biked along this small 'single track' trail that went alongside the small Bure Railroad. We noticed that the RR track was very small. When the train came toot tootin' along, we saw why. It is a teeny version of a real train. Way cute. The people were full sized though!


Bonne Marie said...

What a lovely day trip -- I especially love biking around the near-wetlands out by my friend's home in Michigan.

Very relaxing to see the land go on and on...

Thanks for the nice photos! :)

molly said...

Over from Peasoup. Have enjoyed the soft green landscape in your pics. Love those wrist warmers. Must make some for my 80+ M-I-L, not to mention for myself!