The River Bure is the longest of the rivers on the Broads, flowing from Aylsham for 51km (32 miles), through Coltishall and out to sea at Gorleston.
Bure Mouth to Bure Loop - Navigators heading from the Southern to the Northern Broads will pass through Breydon Bridge to enter the River Bure. This passage is tidal and currents can be significant therefore prior planning is essential and all navigators should refer to detailed information on how to cross safely through Great Yarmouth.
As you travel toward the large road bridge carrying the A12 trunk road (Breydon Bridge) and stay between the red and green channel markers (there are very shallow mud flats outside the channel). Pass under the Breydon Bridge (using the right hand narrower channel if a "small boat"; the centre lifting span will open for yachts with tall masts which can be coordinated by calling Breydon Bridge on VHF channel 12).
Once through Breydon Bridge the safe approach to Bure Mouth is indicated by a yellow marker post. Keep this to port as you turn into the Bure and be aware of shallow water on the starboard side of Bure Mouth. Proceeding on the River Yare beyond the yellow marker post leads to Haven Bridge and the Port of Great Yarmouth.
The Northern Broads can only be accessed under two old bridges that do not open or swing and have limited headroom (2.13m air draught at MHW). It is recommended that vessels depart or enter at slack water (approximately 1 hour after low tide at Gt Yarmouth). You must check your air draft before undertaking this passage and note there are emergency and demasting mooring either side of Breydon Bridge and at Bure Mouth.
Continue on the River Bure past the Yacht Station and Marina Keys, stay within the marked channel due to shallow water and potential hazards on the river margins.
Ash Tree Farm - Bure Loop Reach - Marina Keys to Ash Tree Farm. Care should be exercised to stay well inside the marked channel and away from re-profiled banks. At low water it is recommended that you stay within the middle 30% of the river to avoid any potential problems from mud banks which can move with the tides.
Mautby Reach - Ash Tree Farm to Five Mile House. Reed fringed in places, care needs to be exercised to stay clear of bank protection works where stone cages have been used and the bank re-profiled. In places the channel is marked with navigation posts.
Six Mile House Reach - Five Mile House to Six Mile House. Reed fringed reaches with good water depth, narrowing on some bends.
Stracey Mill Reach - Six Mile House to Stracey Mill. There are good moorings available upstream of Stracey Mill site but this is very close to the main A47 Yarmouth road and can be noisy. Moving upstream there are reed fringed reaches with good depth of water. There is no opportunity to moor except in an emergency at a length of piling provided by flood protection works opposite Dove House Farm. This piling is private and is shallow at the downstream end and there is no public access to and from them.
Stokesby Reach - Stracey Arms to Stokesby. This is an open stretch of river with good depth of water alongside the reeds fringing both banks. As you approach Stokesby there are some moorings available. Tidal flow can be significant through Stokesby.
Acle Reach - Stokesby to Acle Bridge. The river is extensively reed fringed as you head upstream from Acle, there is good depth of water available against the reed fringe, Acle Boat Dyke and moorings are passed on your port side. This is a public dyke with private moorings.
Upton Reach - Acle Bridge to upstream Upton Dyke, including Upton Dyke. The river is wide with clear views over the surrounding countryside. In places reed fringed with good depth available right alongside the reeds. Acle Bridge itself enjoys the benefit of several boatyards where all the necessary supplies for your boat can be obtained. You may notice the effect of the tide around the bridge area particularly. Height available under the bridge is in excess of 3 metres generally. Further upstream on the port side is the entrance to Upton Dyke. This dyke is a public dyke with moorings available at the head of the dyke. The dyke is narrow and large craft may have difficulty in turning.
Thurne Mouth Reach - Upton Dyke to Thurne Mouth. This is a wide open reach which enjoys unobstructed views over the surrounding area. You pass Oby Dyke on your starboard side. This is a private mooring dyke. The depth of water is good on this reach but care needs to be exercised near bank re-profiling works on your port side as you head upstream. A safe distance of 2 metres is recommended from the water's edge.
St Benet's Reach - Thurne Mouth to Fleet Dyke. This reach enjoys clear views across the adjoining farmland. The banks have been re-profiled by recent flood defence works and navigators are advised to stay at least 2 metres from the edge to ensure adequate water depth. You will pass the site of the South Walsham drainage pump on your port side as you head upstream towards St Benet's Abbey. The site of St Benet's Abbey will come into view on your starboard side. There are navigation posts here to keep you clear of the dangerous remains of flint walls alongside the bank adjoining the site.
South Walsham Fleet Dyke and Broads - Passage into South Walsham is via Fleet Dyke which commences on the port side by St Benet's Abbey on the Bure. Speed limit in the dyke is 4mph. There are some tight bends to negotiate although this is a scenic safe route for all. Ample free moorings are available in the dyke but mud weighting on the broad is permissible. The inner broad is navigable but care must be taken as there are shallow areas. The best advice is to enter the inner broad and enjoy its beauty, turn and return into the main broad.
Ranworth Reach - A short, straight reach with St Benet's 24 hour moorings on the starboard brings you to the mouth of the River Ant, again to the starboard. The river meanders through a mixture of reed fringes and trees until reaching Ranworth Dam on the port. This is a narrow 4mph straight dyke that leads to Malthouse Broad. As you cross Malthouse Broad, Ranworth Staithe is directly ahead where 24 hour free moorings are available at the staithe but boats must moor stern-on. The staithe has fresh water and electricity hook-up points.
Horning Reach - Follow the river upstream from Ranworth Dam and you will pass the old waterworks on the right and then Horning Church. Upstream Cockshoot 24 hour free moorings can be seen on the port. A short distance later on the port side are Woodbastwick 24 hour free moorings. This area is busy with moorings on both sides of the river. Continuing onward this area is known as Horning Street which has several boatyards both large and small. Mooring is available both at Horning Staithe and on the opposite bank at Perci's Island. On the bend is Horning Sailing Club and if they are racing it is advisable to go dead slow along the right hand bank in single file. From here there are houses on the right and reeds on the left to the end of the village.
Salhouse Reach - Immediately you leave Horning and enter the 5mph limit you will see the entrance to Black Horse Broad otherwise known as Hoveton Little Broad. This has a gated entrance which is open for a week at Easter and from Whitsun to October. The river continues through trees and reeds past Dydall's Mill on the starboard and Decoy Staithe on the port to Salhouse Broad. There are red marker posts on the port before the first entrance and the moorings are in front of you as you enter. There is a 4mph limit on Salhouse Broad upstream of the entrances on the bank. To your starboard is Hoveton Great Broad Nature Trail and some moorings are available for those wishing to take the kilometre long circular walk. The river continues to wind between trees with a long straight reach just before Wroxham Broad which is a designated boat testing area.
Wroxham Reach - After the boat testing reach, the first turn on the port is the south entrance to Wroxham Broad. The sailing club hold races regularly - if there are yachts racing then travel along the edge of the broad not through the middle. Immediately upstream of the north entrance the 4mph limit for Wroxham starts. The river soon runs between houses and bungalows and care should be taken as you approach the centre of the village. A bridge height board is on the right as you go through the village giving you advance warning of the height available at Wroxham Bridge which is found further upstream. Extreme care must be taken in this area as there are many day boats, cruisers and large commercial trip boats using the river here. As you round the bend Wroxham Bridge is in front of you. On the right and just before the bridge is Granary Staithe where you can meet the bridge pilot if you need one. The bridge has 7'6" clearance at average high water and warning chains just before it. It is arched with strong currents so care must be taken. The railway viaduct ahead has 15' clearance but only the centre span should be used.
Belaugh Reach - As you leave the railway viaduct and head upstream for Belaugh there are plenty of free moorings on the starboard. On the port is Bridge Broad which you can cross and rejoin the river at the right hand end. The river is tree-lined and narrow in places so care should be taken on bends. The first long straight reach is a boat testing area for boatyards. Travelling upstream you will go past Caen Meadow and Castle Staithe which has free mooring. A little further on is the entrance to Belaugh Broad on the right and Norton's Broad on the left. Neither of these is navigable. There are no good mooring places until you reach Belaugh.
Coltishall Reach - A long reach which has shallow water on the right alongside the meadow brings you to Belaugh. A 3mph limit is in place for the village which has two public moorings. Continuing towards Coltishall the river is narrow and meanders between tree-lined stretches and reed fringes. From May to September, water plants are common in this stretch and there is typically a 3 metre margin left uncut on each river edge. Another 3mph limit starts at Anchor Street and the Anchor Moorings.
A little further on is Coltishall Common with plenty of mooring. You can continue to Horstead Lock where informal moorings and a turning area before the lock gates can be found. Please note that the river to the lock is very narrow and care should be taken. Water plants are prevalent in this stretch from May to September and there is typically a margin left uncut on each river edge, which may not be visible on the surface. There are also areas of natural sand and gravel river bed which at some states of tide are shallower than the stated 1.5 m Waterways Specification navigable depth for this reach. Please see the more detailed map showing the location of the shallow stretch of waterway as you head towards Coltishall Lock. As these features are part of the natural river form, capital dredging to remove these features is not part of the current Sediment Management Strategy. The left fork to the Horstead Mill pond is shallow and not suitable for motor craft.