A Broads village is celebrating the opening of its newly refurbished public staithe on Friday June 27th, 11am.
The once dilapidated Hickling staithe has undergone major structural and landscaping improvements which provide both parishioners and visitors with state of the art launching facilities and visitor friendly information to access the largest and wildest of the Norfolk Broads.
Hickling Parish Council’s vision for the staithe was brought to life thanks to over £7,000 from the Broads Authority’s Upper and Middle Thurne Enhancement Fund, £2,500 from the Environment Agency and £12,500 from staithe berth rentals.
Over the last 18 months the two rotten wooden slipways have been refurbished in concrete to a high standard with improved gradients for easier launching. The winches on both slipways have been replaced. Before work began 137 tyres were removed from the site.
Ditches have been re-profiled and planted with wild flowers, reed and hedges recommended by Norfolk Wildlife Trust. New signage has been installed and an information and history board, illustrated by parish councillor and voluntary staithe warden Pat Deane who worked with designer Ruth Murray, carries information about the history of the village, pike fishing and amenities accompanied by maps. There is a separate footpath map with a dozen walks. A downloadable footpath map will soon be available on www.hicklingparishcouncil.wordpress.com/staithe
An ornate vehicle barrier to the smaller slipway has been beautifully decorated with metal Swallowtail butterflies and milk parsley. The butterflies were initialled by all the village schoolchildren at a community forge event last year.
There are separate parking areas for berth holders and visitors and two dry berths are retained for short stay letting to visitors. Launching is free for parishioners while visitors pay £6 for dinghies and £4 for canoes.
A new bench to honour father and son staithe wardens Billy and Harry Nudd, who collected day launching fees for over 40 years between them, will also be unveiled at the celebration. A bench which was bought by Billy’s friends after his death at the staithe in 1993 had become dilapidated and the new bench will now also bear a plaque in honour of his son Harry, who retired as staithe warden two years ago.
Broads Authority Chief Executive John Packman, who will officially open the staithe said: “Hickling Parish Council is to be congratulated on having the vision and drive to refurbish their village staithe which has resulted in a remarkable facility for both parishioners and visitors.
“It is an excellent example of what can be achieved when different organisations, specialists and interested people work together. This is a very important slip location, particularly for pike fishermen, and the Broads Authority was keen that at least one of the slipways should be retained for visitor use. The staithe is now a focal point for the village and something the local community can be proud of.”
Sandra Clarke, Chairman of Hickling Parish Council, said: “Drawing together the different aspects of upgrading the staithe has been hard work but very rewarding. People are quite enamoured with it and it’s now very much a talking point.”
Wednesday 25 June 2014