Well-managed public access is vital to ensuring the Broads remains a spectacular place for escape, recreation and enjoyment.

The Broads Plan sets out a long term aim for the sensitive management of tourism and recreation stating that where possible improvements should be made to access routes and their connections to key tourist facilities and sustainable transport links.

Integrated access strategy

cycling at whitlingham

The integrated access strategy was developed in 2019 to deliver this element of the Broads Plan by better connecting moorings, nearby villages, facilities and tourist attractions.

The long term aim is to upgrade and improve the network of access points and routes that are linked to visitor facilities and include easier access for all”

The Strategy’s key objectives are to:

  • To improve links between land and water and to the water’s edge
  • To improve access links to local facilities, settlements and visitor destination points
  • To improve access for all in the Broads
  • To encourage sustainable travel choices such as public transport, walking, cycling and non-powered boating, and improve links between public transport provision, visitor destination points and access routes
  • To deliver the River Wensum Strategy through the River Wensum Strategy Partnership
  • To encourage provision of access routes that relieve visitor pressure on internationally designated sites, avoid disturbance of protected species and help to accommodate growth
  • To provide appropriate information on access and interpretation about recreational sites.

The strategy also aims to ensure that the benefits of access and recreation in the Broads are recognised in local and regional planning policy frameworks and given adequate weight in the planning process.

Rights of way

Under the 2000 Countryside and Rights of Way Act walkers can enjoy mapped areas of previously off limits common land, heath, downland, moor and mountain without having to stick to paths.

About 150 hectares of this land is in the Broads, covering 14 distinct areas including Herringfleet Hills near Somerleyton, part of Outney Common in Bungay and East Ruston Allotments. Full details of these access rights can be found on the Natural England website.

In common with other national park authorities we have an access responsibility meaning we can place notices indicating boundaries, restrictions and exclusions and appoint wardens. We also decide applications from landowners and others with legal interests to exclude or restrict access.

The Local Access Forum has a key role in advising the Broads Authority on access functions and are consulted on applications.

Accessible attractions

Organisations and businesses in the Broads are working to help as many people as possible experience the special magic of the Broads, with wheelchair accessible boats available, visitor attractions with facilities to help people with visual or hearing impairments and boardwalks suitable for wheelchair users.

Norfolk Trails have also produced a series of booklets on 'access tested walks' that you can download on their access tested trails page.

Our visitor website has a dedicated page on accessible visits and attractions to help inspire your visit, or you can watch the video below to learn more.