Tilting at Windmills

A life of ease

A life of ease

Well, if I’d just called it ‘a lot of boats on the Norfolk Broads’ you wouldn’t have read it, would you?  Admit it!  At least I’m giving you something else to look out for.

This is our mooring- a nice place to start

This is our mooring- a nice place to start

And this is our boat

And this is our boat

It’s moored at Stalham, on the River Ant, in Richardson’s marina.  A peaceful setting, away from the hurley-burley of Wroxham.  We glide gently across Barton Broad, and Jarek points out the shallow water where, almost daily in peak season, boats run aground.  When we pause to admire the scenery, a swan raps smartly on the hull.  I’m not sure if this signifies ‘get a move on’ or ‘where’s the bread?’  Short on bread, we move on!

The naughty swans

A naughty swan

Looking ahead I glimpse some houses

Looking ahead I glimpse some houses

And am delighted to find that one has a thatched roof

And am delighted to find that one has a thatched roof

What a location!

What a location!

And the neighbour's none too shabby, either! (and there's a bench for Jude)

The neighbour’s none too shabby, either! (and there’s a bench for Jude)

But here's our first excitement- a windmill!

But here’s our first excitement- a windmill!

There are a seemingly endless supply of them, strewn across the Broads.  Many have been restored and stand there, gracefully pointing the way with their sails.

Here's another, wonderfully elegant example

Here’s another, wonderfully elegant example

It's quite a long way up!

It’s quite a long way up!

We sail on a little way and then execute a fine turn to seek out a mooring place.  Time for hungry sailors to eat, and then stretch their legs.  We are moored alongside How Hill House, and a treat is in store.  Tiny Toad Hole Cottage was an eel-catcher’s home.

Welcome to How Hill, Staithe

Welcome to How Hill, Staithe

Click on any photo to see the gallery

How Hill Trust provides an environmental study centre for the Broads.  The preservation of the incredibly beautiful house is no small part of this, but there are landscaped gardens too and a sweeping lawn for picnics, rolling down to the river.  There’s even a restored grain mill, if you’re looking for somewhere to stay.

The detail around the windows is exquisite

Smell the roses and admire the detail around the windows

And how about this for a view? (can you spot the windmill?)

How about this for a view! (can you spot the windmill?)

And look at the wisteria!

And look at the wisteria!

We’d better get back on board.  Too much playing ‘lady of the manor’ isn’t good for me!  And there’s a coffee stop to make, with homemade Polish rhubarb cake.

We putter along the waterways, using the sail sometimes, or the small motor.  The water lilies drifting at the water’s edge and the dazzling yellow ‘water buttercups’ captivate me, but I’m unable to take a decent shot.  I’ll just have to go back another day!  Maybe you’ll come with me?


  1. Beautiful post, Jo! We visited the Broads last this Saturday of February and it was so peaceful, even in Wroxham 😉 as we drove through it. How Hill House is on my list now, thanks a lot! 🙂

    1. You’ll enjoy it, Dina. 🙂 The Broads are beautiful. I even spotted some water lilies afloat 🙂 Many thanks for your visit. Love to Klaus and the girls!

  2. The photographs capture so much joy from travelling up and down the water ways. The gardens look gorgeous. What a great time. Awesome title for the post too. Windmills are captivating. Thank you for hooking me in. Lovely post. I enjoyed some more great armchair travel.

  3. Sounds heavenly overall Jo! Had no idea there were windmill in the UK! I have seen plenty in the Netherlands, but have never had rhubarb cake before 🙂

  4. I’ll come back with you anytime, especially if I can stay in the little cottage ( provisioned please with rhubarb cake). Love that the little cottage has one of those old style mincers.

    1. It’s a little world all of its own, Ann, and very charming. I was going to have the big house and play at lady of the manor but I might need some help. 🙂 The little cottage is lovely but I think you’d need thick socks in winter.

      1. Socks and about 20 layers of clothing, no doubt. Have you read the Swallows and Amazons books that were set in the Norfolk Broads. I haven’t read all of the series. Did you see any references to Swallows and Amazon, in particular the village of Horning?

    2. I read one of them a long while ago. Perhaps I should revisit the series. Horning has the most famous windmill in the Broads. Our coach driver took our party there and to Wroxham on the Saturday that we were out on the boat. It’s quite a distance (in nautical terms) from where we were boating. Grazyna said that they could have sailed all the way down the River Yare to Yarmouth to meet us but it would have taken them a whole day. 🙂

      1. Oh, I am glad I asked. The books we read in our childhood were so English/British but most of us had no chance of seeing the landscape of the stories.

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