The Broads Rights of Way and Open Access Improvement Plan

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					                                                           Broads Local Access Forum
                                                           12 December 2006
                                                           Agenda Item No 5

                              Draft Open Access Action Plan
                            Report by Head Ranger (Countryside)

Summary:                Attached to this report is the latest draft of the proposed Rights
                        of Way and Open Access Improvement Plan for the Broads in
                        Norfolk. When finalised, the plan will be appended to the NCC
                        Rights of Way Improvement Plan as part of strategic proposals
                        to improve Rights of Way and Access within the Broads area.

Recommendation: The Broads Authority would like the Local Access Forum to
                consider the draft plan and offer guidance regarding any further
                additions or changes that might be made.

1       Background

1.1     The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 requires all Highways
        Authorities to produce a Rights of Way Improvement Plan (RoWIP) for their

1.2     The Broads Authority and the Broads Local Access Forum are statutory
        consultees in respect of the plans produced by both Norfolk and Suffolk
        County Councils.

1.3     Both the Authority and the Forum have submitted comments to the County
        Councils on the respective plans.

1.4     The Authority, in its response to the NCC plan commented that it felt there
        was insufficient focus on the Broads Area and the particular requirements of
        the area in terms of rights of way improvement and development.

1.5     In discussion with NCC it was agreed that the Broads Authority would produce
        a strategic statement and action plan that would be annexed to the Norfolk
        RoWIP. The attached draft is the proposal for the annex.

1.6     At the Forums meeting on 19 September the Head Ranger (Countryside)
        presented the draft action plan, and the Forum discussed the proposals and
        made comments which have been incorporated into the attached latest draft.

Background papers: Norfolk County Council Rights of Way Improvement Plan

Author:                 Nick Sanderson
Date of report:         27 November 2006


        The Broads Rights of Way and Open Access Improvement Plan
      (Proposed appendix to the Norfolk Rights of Way Improvement Plan)
The Broads

The Norfolk and Suffolk Broads is one of Britain’s finest wetlands. It is an area of
international recreational and nature conservation importance covering an area of
303 square km, largely within Norfolk, but with a small part in Suffolk.

The boundary of the executive area closely follows the valleys of the lower reaches
of the Rivers Bure, Yare and Waveney, together with the two tributaries of the Bure,
the Ant and Thurne, and the Chet Valley, a tributary of the Yare.

The Broads is an expansive landscape of water, grazing marshes, fens, and wet
woodlands. Between the 11th and 14th Centuries, peat digging was a major industry in
the area and the shallow broads are the relicts of these excavations.
The Broads Authority was established in 1978 in recognition of the national
importance of the area. In 1988 the Broads was established as a member of the UK
national park family with the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads Act 1988.

The three purposes of the Authority are:

        Conserving and enhancing the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of
         the Broads
        Promoting opportunities for understanding and enjoyment of the special
         qualities of the Broads by the Public
        Protecting the interests of navigation.

The Broads Authority is the local planning authority and the navigation authority for
the executive area.

The Broads Authority is also responsible for the management and promotion of a
range of recreational facilities within the Broads Executive area, such as 24 hour
moorings, some public staithes, and many countryside recreation sites.

The Broads Plan 2004 20 year aim for access to land and water is as follows:

“ The Broads will be easily accessible for all to enjoy recreational activity on land and
water. Access will be sensitively managed, and of a kind and intensity that respects
and preserves the special qualities and ambience of the Broads, its landscape and
delicate ecosystems. Opportunities will be provided for land access, via a linked and
extensive network of footpaths, cycle ways and bridleways that take advantage of the
natural valley contours. More limited opportunities will be available for visitors to
experience the fens and appreciate their fragility without degrading this habitat”
(Broads Plan 2004 p.40)

The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.

Under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (CROW 2000), approximately
150 ha of the Broads (consisting of 18 areas) has been designated as Access Land
including 15 areas of Registered Common Land, and 3 areas of heath that are
designated as open country within the definitions of the Act.

This means that, subject to certain restrictions, the public is allowed recreational
access on foot onto these areas of land, throughout the year.

As these 18 areas lie within the Broads executive area, the Broads Authority, in
common with other National Parks Authorities, has the dual role of Access Authority
and Relevant Authority for them. Amongst other duties, this allows the Broads
Authority the powers to appoint wardens for areas of land, to place notices indicating
boundaries, restrictions and exclusions and determine applications from landowners
and others with legal interests to exclude or restrict access.

The Broads Local Access Forum (established in 2003) has a key role in advising the
Authority in functions relating to access land, and is a statutory consultee to the
Broads Authority and to Norfolk County Council in applications for restriction and
exclusion on access land.

The Broads Authority is developing a site-specific approach to mapped areas of
access land within the Broads Executive Area in acknowledgement of their individual
nature and management requirements.

This is based on the site by site audit that has established the nature of the areas of
access land, means of access and signage requirements and has provided the basis
for a programmed approach to meeting with landowners to discuss problems and
opportunities. (See Table 2)

Rights of Way Management in the Broads.

Norfolk and Suffolk County Councils are the Highway Authorities for the Broads
executive area.

The Broads Authority has a close working partnership with both County Councils and
has agreements regarding the management of the RoW network . The aim of these
agreements is to ensure that access is provided to a high quality.

The following objectives and action plan seeks to extend and strengthen these

The action plan has been guided by the following strategies and plans:

       The Broads Plan 2004
       Best Value Review of Recreation. (BA 2004)
       Tourism Strategy.( 2006)
       Moorings Strategy (2006)
       Broads Fisheries Action Plan Slipways Strategy (2004).
       The Broads Flood Alleviation Plan

Through the work which the Broads Authority has carried out in these areas it is
evident that a it is a priority to further develop the land based tourism and recreation

The Strategy

Guiding Principle: (Modified from the Broads Tourism Strategy BA 2006)

To improve the opportunity for all to enjoy land based recreation in the Broads,
and to strengthen and promote a range of ways to reach and explore the
Broads by land and water.

This will be achieved by successfully delivering the following objectives:

     A. Providing a well signed, maintained and continuous network to which
        provides for the requirements of all users.

     B. Providing easy to use and well signposted routes which give access to
        waterside viewpoints, car parks, angling opportunities, staithes,
        slipways and moorings.

     C. Increasing partnership working and community involvement in
        improving and managing the network. (landowners and Parish Councils)

     D. Improving promotion, understanding and increasing use of the RoW
        network and Open Country. (via TIC’s, signage, leaflets and website)

     E. Working to ensure that access is available and easy to use by minority
        groups and people with disabilities.

     F. Seeking opportunities to increase the numbers of bridleways and trails
        for use by horses and cyclists.

     G. Developing opportunities to link recreational access with public
        transport links.

Specific Actions

Objective A. Providing a well signed, maintained and continuous network to
             which provides for the requirements of all users.


1.    Establish agreement between Norfolk County Council and the Broads Authority
      on the priorities for rights of way maintenance within the Broads executive area.
2.    Ensure agreement between Norfolk County Council and the Broads Authority
      that footpaths are cut to a specified standard.
3.    Establish agreement between the and Norfolk County Council to develop a
      grading system that will grade footpaths according the level of accessibility;
      This will produce a signed network for all users with distance and destination on
      way markers and fingerposts.

4.    Ensure agreement between Norfolk County Council and the Broads Authority to
      develop links between villages, if possible away from roads: Eg Beulagh and
5.    Establish agreement between the Broads Authority and Norfolk County Council
      to seek opportunities to remove barriers to access. Work with landowners to
      reduce the number of stiles, and replace with gates or squeeze gaps.
6.    Establish Agreement between the Broads Authority, Norfolk County Council
      and and landowners and managers to increase involvement and understanding
      of PRoW management.
7.    Establish agreement between the Broads Authority and Norfolk County Council
      and landowners to realign waterside paths which a becoming unsafe or
      unusable due to erosion.
8.    Seek to improve network links through permissive access and paths, perhaps
      assisted by environmental land management support schemes.
9.    Via permissive paths, link areas of Open Access land to the PRoW network.
      Eg. Clayrack and Irstead Holmes.
10.   Establish agreement between the Broads Authority and Norfolk County Council
      to develop circular routes from population centres and alongside longer
      distance routes;
11.   Establish agreement between the Broads Authority and Norfolk County Council
      to work to improve access to and from open spaces and recreation sites.

Objective B. To provide easy to use and well signposted routes which give
             access to waterside view points, car parks, angling
             opportunities, staithes, slipways and moorings.


1.    The Broads Authority will identify a set of circular walks for the Broads, well
      maintained and waymarked, and promoted through a self-guided leaflet series
      that is made widely available.
2.    Establish agreement between the Broads Authority and Norfolk County Council
      to improve strategic paths which link moorings to local villages/facilities, and
      also to afford access down to and along the water’s edge from inland. These
      links may in turn form part of circular walks.
3.    The Broads Authority will identify opportunities for small and appropriate
      seating to be installed at suitable locations.

Objective C. Increasing partnership working and community involvement in
             improving and managing the network. (landowners and PCs)


1.    The Broads Authority will establish agreement with Norfolk County Council, and
      landowners to develop new routes, circular routes and links to extend existing
2.    The Broads Authority will seek opportunities within new agri-environmental
      schemes for permissive rights of way.
3.    Establish agreement and approaches between Broads Authority and Norfolk
      County Council to develop footpath improvement schemes alongside the
      Broads Flood Alleviation Project.

4.    The Broads Authority will consolidate and develop the role of volunteers in the
      management of access, especially through the Assistant Countryside Ranger

Objective D. Improving promotion, understanding and increasing use of the
             RoW network. (Signage, leaflets and website)

Actions: The Broads Authority will aim to:

1.    Develop the BA website to allow for easy access to information re the status of
2.    Work to improve the promotion of long distance trails within the Executive Area.
3.    Publish information regarding links of RoW network and permissive rights of
      way established under agri-environment schemes.
4.    Brand the Broads as a prime site for walking and cycling.
5.    Develop a festival of walking for the Broads.
6.    Work with partner organisations (eg Whitlingham Charitable Trust, Primary
      Care Trusts, Norwich Fringe Project) in providing healthy exercise

Objective E. Working to ensure that access is available and easy to use by
             minority groups and people with disabilities.

Actions: The Broads Authority will aim to:

1.    Promote the centres in the Broads that cater specifically for people with
2.    Encourage the provision of more fully accessible land based accommodation
3.    Establish agreement with Norfolk County Council to extend the network of easy
      access trails, and increase promotion of such routes.
4.    Maintain information on best places for easy access, or for people with other
      disabilities, e.g. in Broadcaster
5.    Encourage provision of inexpensive accommodation, such as hostels and
6.    Provide information on the Broads to organisations working with minority

Objective F. Seeking opportunities to increase the numbers of bridleways and
             trails for use by horses and cyclists.


1.    Establish agreement between the Broads Authority and Norfolk County Council
      to seek opportunities to upgrade footpaths, establish permissive routes and
      sign existing quiet routes to establish easy and safe horse and cycle routes.
2.    The Broads Authority will publish information regarding routes.

Objective G. Developing opportunities to link recreational access with public
             transport links.


1.    Establish agreement between the Broads Authority and Norfolk County Council
      to develop, way-mark and publicise circular trails from bus-stops and railway
2.    The Broads Authority will install cycle racks and locking points at appropriate


                                                                             Action Plan
Table 1: Action Plan for Specific Access Improvements
       1. River Waveney
Ref.       Location/Grid Ref                    Proposed Access Enhancement                   Objective     Notes/links to other         Key          Timescale
                                                                                                refs               plans             Organisations
  W1       Barsham                    New permissive footpath at Barsham Marshes to link       A,B,C.     Angling enhancements.      BA                  2007
           TM 4090-4190               with enhanced angling opportunities and a circular                                             SCC
                                      route from the Angles Way. To be developed                                                     BESL
                                      alongside BFAP
  W2       Shipmeadow/Barsham         New permissive footpath from 24hr moorings to           A,B,C,(E)   Angles Way                 BA                  2007
           TM 3990                    Barsham Hall and back on Angles Way.                                                           Landowners
  W3       Geldeston                  Waymarked circular route on existing PRoW in             A,B,C,E    BFAP                       BA                  2008
           TM 3891                    conjunction with the restoration of Geldeston and                   Moorings Strategy          Landowners
                                      Ellingham Locks on the Waveney. Furniture upgrades
                                      and signage.
  W4       Worlingham                 Signposted circular walk from 24hr Moorings to North    A,B,C,E     Moorings Strategy          BA                  2007
           TM 4591-4791               Cove and back along Angles Way. Link with angling                   Angling Slipway Strategy   SCC
                                      enhancements, car park and slipway to be installed at               Angles Way                 BESL
  W5       Carlton Marshes/Share      Improve footpath surface from waterfront at Oulton      A,B,C,E,G   Easy access                BA                  2007
           Marsh                      Broad to Whitecast Marsh, and via permissive links to               BFAP                       SCC
           TM 5092-5192               the Angles Way to the Carlton Marshes Visitor Centre                Angles Way                 BESL
                                      to create easy access path. Enhance signage to Share                                           SWT
                                      Mill and back to create circular route.                                                        Landowners
  W6       Oulton Marshes             Signage and surfacing upgrades to Fisher Row and         A,B,C,E    Angling enhancements       BA                  2007
           TM 5092-5093               permissive paths to 24hr moorings at Oulton Tea                     BFAP                       SWT
                                      Gardens.                                                            Moorings Strategy          Parish Council

  W8       Beccles Marshes            Completion of circular route and upgrades to existing   A,B,C,E,G   Angling enhancements.      BA/SCC              2007
           TM 4291                    permissive route connecting Marsh Trail with Angles                 Safer road crossing.       Beccles Town
                                      Way and 24hr moorings. Creation of new PRoW.                                                   Council
  W9       Herringfleet-Somerleyton   Seek permissive link across the marshes to create a      A,B,C,D    Subject to landowners      BA                  2008
           TM 4697-4797               circular route from Herringfleet 24hr moorings to                   agreement.                 Landowners
                                      Somerleyton. Would require signage and footpath                                                Parish Council
                                      furniture and surfacing enhancements.
 W10       Herringfleet               Formalise link from Herringfleet 24 hr moorings and       A,B,C     Moorings Strategy          BA/Landowner        2008
           TM 4698-4697               Herringfleet Mill.
 W11       Fritton                    Seek links between existing footpaths and bridleways    A,B,C,D,                               BA/Landowner        2009
           TG 4500-4600               around Waveney Forest to create circular route. Would    E, (F)
                                      require signage and surfacing/furniture enhancements.


2. River Yare and Chet
 Ref.            Location                     Proposed Access Enhancement                    Objective     Notes/links to other          Key           Timescale
                                                                                               Refs.               plans             Organisations
  Y1     Claxton                     Seek to establish permissive links from Beauchamp       A,B,C,D,     Subject to landowners     BA/Landowners        2007
         TG 3504-3603                Arms to Langley Green via Mill Dyke. Would require                   agreement.
                                     footpath enhancement and signage.                                    BFAP
  Y2     Postwick                    Seek to establish permissive link across Postwick       A,,B,C,D     Subject to landowners     BA/Landowners        2008
         TG 2906-3007                Marshes from end of existing footpath opposite Woods                 agreement.
                                     End to footpath opposite Surlingham Ferry. Would                     BFAP
                                     require footpath enhancement and signage. (Harnsers
  Y3     Buckenham                   Establish status of track form Buckenham Station and    A,B,C        Potential angling         BA/Landowner/        2008
         TG 3405-3505                Buckenham Ferry.                                                     enhancement.              NCC
  Y4     Halvergate/Berney           Upgrade signage and furniture to Weavers Way to         A,B,C,F                                BA/NCC               2008
         Marshes                     restablish good quality bridleway circuit. Requires
         TG 4306-4707                furniture enhancement and signage.
  Y5     Tunstall                    Upgrade to surface, signage and furniture on Tunstall   A,B,C,E      Links with camping barn   BA/NCC               2008
         TG 4108                     to Tunstall Dyke Circuit.
  Y6     Brundall                    Link Brundall Garden Station to Brundall 24 hr          A,G                                    BA/Landowners        2007
         TG 3108                     moorings via new footpath across Brundall Gardens.
  Y7     Langley/Hardley             Replacement of footpath furniture with easier access    A,E          Easier access             BA/BESL/             2007
         TG 3602-3801                gates. Link with BFAP works.                                         BFAP                      Landowners
  Y8     Chedgrave                   Install and sign easy access path from Chedgrave to     A,B,C,D,E    Easier access             BA/BESL             2006/7
         TM 3699-3799                Chedgrave 24hr moorings.                                ,G           Moorings Strategy
  Y9     Heckingham                  Seek opportunities to create a permissive route to      A,B,C,D      Ties with CRoW            BA/Landowners        2008
         TM 3898-3899                Loddon Common (access land), and also to enhance
                                     access to a potential viewpoint across Hardley Flood.
 Y10     Whitlingham Country Park    Improvement of footpath around Broad to allow full      A,B,C,E,F,   WCP Management            Whitlingham          2007
         TG 2507                     accessibility and segregation of cycling and walking.   G            Plan. Moorings            Charitable Trust
                                                                                                          Strategy. Health Walks


3. River Bure
  Ref;    Location                    Proposed Access Enhancement                              Objective   Notes/links to other      Key              Timescal
                                                                                                Refs.      plans                     Organisations
  B1      Stokesby to Gt Yarmouth     As opportunities allow, replace/remove stiles along      A           Easier access.            NCC/ BA            2007-9
          TG 4310-TG 5110             footpaths on both North and South sides of the Bure                                            Landowners
                                      to enhance accessibility and to allow for more
                                      efficient cutting.
  B2      Mautby                      Re-profiling of river wall to lessen slope at footpath   A, B        Easier access.            BA/BESL            2007
          TG 4710-4810                access points.                                                       Angling enhancement.                       Subject to
                                                                                                           BFAP                                         BESL
  B3      Upton/SouthWalsham          Footpath surfacing improvements resulting from           A,B,C,D     Easier Access.            BA/BESL/           2007
          TG 3714-3815                BFAP works.                                                          Angling access            Landowners       Subject to
                                      Install boardwalks in wet areas, to allow for all                    enhancements.                                BESL
                                      weather circular walks to be completed.                              Links with 24hr
                                      Establish permissive or public path across marshes.                  moorings. Moorings
  B4      Woodbastwick                Seek funding to upgrade the boardwalk to                 A,B,C,D,E   Links with 24hr           BA                  2010?
          TG 3416- 3415               Cockshoot Broad, incorporating better interpretation                 moorings. Easy access.    Natural           Subject to
                                      signage and possible further access.                                 Allows public access to   England/NWT      funding and
                                      Possibly include improvements to the slipway                         fens.                     Landowners       landowners.
  B4      Belaugh/Hoveton             Seek to establish permissive footpath link between       A,C,D,G     Subject to landowners     BA/NCC               2007
          TG 2918-3018                Belaugh and Hoveton.                                                 agreement.                Landowners
  B6      West Caister                Improve access to Bure Park.                             A,C,E,G                               BA                  2008
          TG 5110-5210                                                                                                               Gt Yarmouth DC
  B7      West Caister                Seek link to create circular walk at Scare Gap.          A,B,C,D,E                             BA/Landowners       2008
          TG 5009                     Would require signage.                                   ,G


4. Rivers Ant and Thurne
  Ref:    Location                    Proposed Access Enhancement                             Objective    Notes/links to other    Key              Timecale
                                                                                              refs.        plans                   Organisations
  AT1     Horning Marsh               Seek access opportunities around access land at         A,B,C,D,G    Links with 24hr         BA/NCC              2008
          TG 3617-3717                Horning Marsh. Link with Ludham Bridge 24hr                          moorings.               Landowners
                                      moorings.                                                            Access land
                                      Establish permissive links, and sign.
  AT2     How Hill                    Seek access opportunities linking How Hill moorings     A,B,C,D,     Links with 24hr         BA/BESL            2007/8
          TG 3619-3621                to Irstead Holmes: Signage and footpath construction    (E)          moorings.               Landowners
                                      on river wall. BFAP enhancement.                                     Angling Slipway         Catfield PC
  AT3     Barton                      Seek access opportunities to link Barton Turf 24hr      A,B,C,D,     Links with 24hr         BA/Landowners       2008
          TG 3523                     moorings with Barton Fen access land. Signage           (E)          moorings.               NCC/Barton PC
  AT4     How Hill                    Develop easy access route from moorings to existing     A,B,E,       Links with 24hr         BA/Natural         2007/8
          TG 3619-3720                boardwalk on How Hill NNR and sign.                                  moorings.               England
  AT5     Ludham/Potter Heigham       Link existing RoW from Horsefen to Horsefen Bank.       A,B,C,D,E    Links with 24hr         BA/Landowners       2007
          TG 4017-4117                Sign circuit from 24hr moorings at Womack Staithe.      ,G           moorings.
  AT6     Horsey                      Establish permissive off road path to allow for safe    A,C,D,G      Links with 24hr         BA/Landowners       2007
          TG 4521-4522                circuit around Horsey. Will create 2 circular walks.                 moorings.
  AT7     Ludham                      Clearly signpost route from Johnson Street (Ludham      A,B,D,G      Links with 24hr         BA/Landowners.      2008
          TG 3717-3718                Bridge 24hr moorings) to Ludham via Hall Road and                    moorings.
                                      Ludham Hall to allow for safe off road walking route.
  AT8     Clippesby                   Upgrade footpath from Sandy Lane to Hall Lane for       A,C,D,F      Links with cycle hire   BA/NCC              2007
          TG 4214- 4313               cycle access.                                                        routes.                 Landowners
  AT9     Hickling/Sea Palling        Establish permissive footpath link between Sea          A,B,C,(F),   Links with AONB         BA/NCC              2008
          TG 4225- 4326               Palling Road, Hickling and Sea Palling. Would need      G                                    Landowners
                                      to bridge New Cut.
 AT10     Horsey                      Consolidate status of Crinkle Hill track.               A,B,D        Links with AONB         BA/NCC              2007
          TG 4622                                                                                                                  Landowners
 AT11     Catfield Common             Develop a permissive circular route around Catfield     A,B,C,D      Links with Weavers      BA/ Landowners      2008
          TG 4021                     Common and sign                                                      Way                     Catfield PC
 AT12     Horsey/West Somerton        Establish permissive footpath along Hundred Stream      A,B,C,D,E    Links with AONB         BA/Landowners       2008
          TG 4621-4722                to Bramble Hill and beach                               G


                                          Table 2: Action Plan for Open Access Land within the Broads:

1. Open Access Land
                 Site                 Status                                      Actions
East Ruston Allotments                Poors Trust Land.                           Signage. Furniture provision. Consider appointment of wardens
Herringfleet Hills                    Managed by BA as access land under          Little additional action required. Signage and wardens in place.
Outney Common                         Currently informally accessible.            Signage required. Discussions have taken place with Commoners regarding
                                                                                  dedicating and extended area of land to allow for better access points.
2. Registered Common Land
Coltishall Common                     Currently open access.                      None required
Gay Staithe                           Currently open access/24 hour               None required
Repps Staithe                         Car Park                                    None required
Stokesby                              Road verge (2 discreet areas)               None required.
Stokesby                              Land to east of PH                          None required
Horning Pumping Sation                Access route                                No action required.
Rollesby Bridge                       Car park                                    Maintenance.
Common land at Coltishall east of     Grazing marsh/SSSI. Publicly                Sensitive site; requires signage. Possible wardening in agreement with
Horstead Mill                         accessible.                                 landowner.
Common land north east of New         Grazed by livestock.                        Bridge and new gate installed. Signage required in negotiation with land
Road, Stokesby.                                                                   owner.
Common land to north of Horning       Fen habitat. No easy access.                Provide easy, well-signed access points around the site and vantage points
Marshes                               Sensitive site due to wildlife interest     across it. Consolidate permissive access routes.
Barton Fen                            Managed reed and sedge:                     Control access by negotiation, signage and maintaining access tracks.
                                      Outstanding wildlife interest.
Irstead Holmes                        Managed reed and sedge;                     Control access by providing good access tracks around and overlooking the
                                      Outstanding wildlife value.                 site. Install appropriate signage.
Crow Staithe                          Fen                                         Signage. Currently difficult to access, May be linked to Irstead Holmes by
                                                                                  permissive access path. (See action AT2)
Honing Common                         Inaccessible woodland. High wildlife        No action currently necessary due to impenetrability of woodland.
(4 discreet parcels of land)          value.


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Description: The Broads Rights of Way and Open Access Improvement Plan