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Justin Smith

Norfolk Broads : Can you usually get through the Potter Heigham bridge ? !

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The thing that worries me is the hire companies have a get out "under normal tidal conditions". Neither Richardsons nor Herbert Woods would say any of their boats would (always) go under the bridge. What concerns me is the info on the link I put on the opener :

 

With the rise in water levels over the past few years the amount of boats able to negotiate the bridge have dropped from over 10,000 to less than 1800 per year.

 

and

 

This year (2016) water levels have been so high few boats other than small day boats have been able to pass through

 

Then it may be you have to abandon the idea of getting under the bridge.

 

It's nice up there (and obviously very quiet!) but there is a lot of waterways to explore without passing through Potter.

 

If you want somewhere quiet try a pootle up to the navigable limits on the River Ant up to Dilham.You should still get under Wayford Bridge and it's lovely up there. There used to be a decent pub in the village too but I couldn't swear to it still being there - somebody may know.

 

ed - it looks like the pub is currently open - I know/tink it shut for a while but this would indicate it's up and running again.

 

http://www.crosskeysdilham.co.uk/

Edited by MJG

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The thing that worries me is the hire companies have a get out "under normal tidal conditions". Neither Richardsons nor Herbert Woods would say any of their boats would (always) go under the bridge. What concerns me is the info on the link I put on the opener :

 

With the rise in water levels over the past few years the amount of boats able to negotiate the bridge have dropped from over 10,000 to less than 1800 per year.

 

and

 

This year (2016) water levels have been so high few boats other than small day boats have been able to pass through

They can't say that any of their boats go through all of the time because clearly they won't!

 

Time your holiday for when there is a decent spring tide if you want the best chance of getting under the bridge.

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The thing that worries me is the hire companies have a get out "under normal tidal conditions". Neither Richardsons nor Herbert Woods would say any of their boats would (always) go under the bridge. What concerns me is the info on the link I put on the opener :

 

With the rise in water levels over the past few years the amount of boats able to negotiate the bridge have dropped from over 10,000 to less than 1800 per year.

 

and

 

This year (2016) water levels have been so high few boats other than small day boats have been able to pass through

 

Potter Heigham has always been a variable it depends on the winds out in the North Sea, Barometric Pressure etc. The problem is not the height of the bridge but its shape, it is an almost perfect semicircle thus the effectively it is about 18 inched lower at the side than the centre.

 

As I suggested I would ring Herberts Woods direct with the details of the week you are interested in and the tide information for that week, probably Yarmouth's info. The Connoisseur has an airdraft of 6ft 8" from memory the limit on the bridge is 7 foot, mean high water it is 6 ft 5" and the rise and fall is 4” - 6”. So she would go at the right water, but their is not much leeway. I would suggest there is an hour either side of low water, springs would give a better chance.

 

Look at the tides and ring Herberts :_

 

ETA Springs July 2017 looks like 25 & 26 Low tide Yarmouth 1612 & 1655 add 3/4 hours for the bridge Please check these times no responsibility taken for accuracy

Edited by Geo

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Justin - just one further thought and I have known others do this.

 

One option would be to moor at Potter and pootle up the Thurne above Potter in a much lower day boat?

 

I'm pretty sure the pilot still has to take you through but you could still spend a few hours up there. You might have to hire two or leave some of the crew with the 'mother' ship but it would be worth looking into if you are really keen to go boating on the upper reaches.

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Then it may be you have to abandon the idea of getting under the bridge.

 

It's nice up there (and obviously very quiet!) but there is a lot of waterways to explore without passing through Potter.

 

If you want somewhere quiet try a pootle up to the navigable limits on the River Ant up to Dilham.You should still get under Wayford Bridge and it's lovely up there. There used to be a decent pub in the village too but I couldn't swear to it still being there - somebody may know.

 

ed - it looks like the pub is currently open - I know/tink it shut for a while but this would indicate it's up and running again.

 

http://www.crosskeysdilham.co.uk/

Cross Keys was open and thriving in May this year when I was there.

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I live in "Potter" and not many of the larger boats get under the bridge these days. Even newer boats built with a helpful profile have problems. Water levels are rising and Potter Bridge being small emphasises the fact. Many moan about it but I suspect there will never be an engineering solution as the lack of boats is said to benefit the environment around Hickling Broad/Horsey Mere.

 

Maybe the best place to hire from is Martham Boats as they are the "wrong" side of the bridge and have a vested interest in the problem. There was once another hire yard on Hickling but they sold their boats off a couple or so years back as they were always getting stuck the other side and therefore not arriving back at base for handovers!

Regarding the day boat option. The pilot service is supplied by Patrick and Robin Richardson's yard located by the bridge (not to be confused with the huge Richardsons that hire 100s of boats out - they are in Stalham). They also supply day boats (electric) - I did not think they insisted they took their day boats through the bridge but I could be wrong.

Edited by Traveller

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I live in "Potter" and not many of the larger boats get under the bridge these days. Even newer boats built with a helpful profile have problems. Water levels are rising and Potter Bridge being small emphasises the fact. Many moan about it but I suspect there will never be an engineering solution as the lack of boats is said to benefit the environment around Hickling Broad/Horsey Mere.

 

Maybe the best place to hire from is Martham Boats as they are the "wrong" side of the bridge and have a vested interest in the problem. There was once another hire yard on Hickling but they sold their boats off a couple or so years back as they were always getting stuck the other side and therefore not arriving back at base for handovers!

Regarding the day boat option. The pilot service is supplied by Patrick and Robin Richardson's yard located by the bridge (not to be confused with the huge Richardsons that hire 100s of boats out - they are in Stalham). They also supply day boats (electric) - I did not think they insisted they took their day boats through the bridge but I could be wrong.

I was thinking about the Herbert woods day boats, or do they no longer hire them?

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I was thinking about the Herbert woods day boats, or do they no longer hire them?

Yes they do and they don't have to use the pilot service.

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Back to the OP's original question the Herbert Woods website does say that the Connoisseur range of boats do go under all of the Broads bridges certain to weather and tides.

 

Not sure what better information they can give really.

 

Get to the bridge at low water for the best chance to get under.

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Back to the OP's original question the Herbert Woods website does say that the Connoisseur range of boats do go under all of the Broads bridges certain to weather and tides.

 

Not sure what better information they can give really.

 

Get to the bridge at low water for the best chance to get under.

 

 

On the start of the Spring Tides and back the next day

Edited by Geo

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Back to the OP's original question the Herbert Woods website does say that the Connoisseur range of boats do go under all of the Broads bridges certain to weather and tides.

 

Not sure what better information they can give really.

 

Get to the bridge at low water for the best chance to get under.

 

I got onto Herbert Woods and asked if Amethyst Light (an ex Connoisseur boat) would go through in early May. They said it can get through but wouldn't guarantee it so advised me to phone the bridge pilot (01692 670 460) and ask them ! He said that boat would normally go through fine 60 to 70% of the time. However, last year, when the river levels were high, it`d only go through about 30% of the time. He also said - and I`m hoping I understood him correctly - the tides weren`t the most important factor, water levels (I took that to mean the amount of recent rain) was more important as well as barometric pressure and stuff.

Edited by Justin Smith

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I got onto Herbert Woods and asked if Amethyst Light (an ex Connoisseur boat) would go through in early May. They said it can get through but wouldn't guarantee it so advised me to phone the bridge pilot (01692 670 460) and ask them ! He said that boat would normally go through fine 60 to 70% of the time. However, last year, when the river levels were high, it`d only go through about 30% of the time. He also said - and I`m hoping I understood him correctly - the tides weren`t the most important factor, water levels (I took that to mean the amount of recent rain) was more important as well as barometric pressure and stuff.

Rise and fall at the bridge is not a lot but when combined (or not necessarily combined) with high water levels through rain and/or backing up caused by the Norfolk winds then travel through the bridge is very restricted. Obviously high tides just make it worse. The fact is there are no guarantees and our unreliable summer weather is not helping. I am told there is 150 miles of navigable water taking the northern and southern rivers into account - that includes the other side of "Potter" bridge. The further south one goes the more the tide is felt.

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I was thinking about the Herbert woods day boats, or do they no longer hire them?

We use to use them when we working in the holiday chalets on the riverbank. I have even taken a cooker and brought back a load of TVs with slot meters on the backs of them. That would have been 1966

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I was thinking about the Herbert woods day boats, or do they no longer hire them?

We hired one in June this year. Went for a very pleasant trip to Horsey and return.

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As you can see it helps to go pointy end first

It looks like he/she was going to slip through backwards facing the current which surely is quite a good way to do it, in the end i think he/she realises the boat is too big.

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It looks like he/she was going to slip through backwards facing the current which surely is quite a good way to do it, in the end i think he/she realises the boat is too big.

 

For anybody not familiar with PH the white hut in that video is where you find the bridge pilot lurking...

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It looks like he/she was going to slip through backwards facing the current which surely is quite a good way to do it, in the end i think he/she realises the boat is too big.

I have never seen one do that. Its not running very fast

Edited by ditchcrawler

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I have never seen one do that. Its not running very fast

True ... may be I am giving credit where it is not due. Having said that under the bridge itself can be quite fast even when the river is not flowing that fast because it is such a width restriction for the water to flow through.

 

I have read that it is a technique that can be used at Bidford bridge but I have never tried it or seen it done.

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It looks like he/she was going to slip through backwards facing the current which surely is quite a good way to do it, in the end i think he/she realises the boat is too big.

 

I can see why, if the current was running strongly in the direction you were travelling, going backwards might be good move. Two points do, however, spring to mind, :

 

1 - I wouldn`t try anything so flash if there was anyone watching. Perfect boat control only ever occurs when there`s no audience, that`s the first rule of boating. And the bigger the crowd the more certain it is that something will go wrong.

 

2 - Travelling backwards is a bad move in a "bathtub" style boat like the one in the video, rear observation being far more difficult, particularly with the sliding roof closed.

Edited by Justin Smith

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I can see why, if the current was running strongly in the direction you were travelling, going backwards might be good move. Two points do, however, spring to mind, :

 

1 - I wouldn`t try anything so flash if there was anyone watching. Perfect boat control only ever occurs when there`s no audience, that`s the first rule of boating. And the bigger the crowd the more certain it is that something will go wrong.

 

2 - Travelling backwards is a bad move in a "bathtub" style boat like the one in the video, rear observation being far more difficult, particularly with the sliding roof closed.

Probably better than sideways

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