Broads Outdoors Festival hits a high point before it even starts

Launch of Broads Outdoors Festival.Ian Robinson - RSPB Broads Area Manager, Bruce Hanson, Rebecca Ha

Launch of Broads Outdoors Festival.Ian Robinson - RSPB Broads Area Manager, Bruce Hanson, Rebecca Harris - Head of Marketing for Hoseasons and John Packman - Chief Executive Broads Authority at the Berney Arms windmill on a damp and misty day.Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2014

The fourth Broads Outdoors Festival enjoyed a real high point even before it got under way.

For the top of Berney Arms Windmill - the highest and most remote mill on the Broads - was chosen as the dramatic setting for the launch of what is being billed as a two-week celebration of the outdoors.

The festival will open next Saturday with a carnival atmosphere at the Horning Boat Show and run until Sunday May 18.

During the two weeks, families will have the chance to try canoeing for free, join dawn chorus walks and immerse themselves in the history of the Broads by climbing windpumps and sailing aboard graceful Edwardian wherries.

There will also be family fun days, boat trips for the artist and photography events.

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Organisers promise something to interest everyone whether their passion is bird watching, cycling or walking; several events and activities are suitable for people with disabilities.

Berney Arms Windmill, built in the 19th century to grind clinker for cement, will be open free to the public from 11am to 2pm on the weekend of May 10 and 11 as part of the festivities.

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The launch delegation was taken to the lonely site, overlooking Breydon Water, on a tractor trailer from the Acle Straight - the mill and neighbouring Berney Arms pub are usually only accessible by rail, boat or by walking from Yarmouth or Reedham.

Ian Robinson, Broads area manager for the RSPB, which has agreed to open the mill on certain days over the summer on behalf of custodians English Heritage, said: 'It is really exciting to launch the Broads Outdoors Festival here on our Berney Marshes reserve, the most remote RSPB site in the country.

'There is a vast population in Norwich and Yarmouth but a lot of the people won't ever have come out here.

'We would like to get people more connected with nature and to showcase our reserves.'

To that end, the RSPB was organising a range of events at various sites during the festival from dawn chorus walks to canoe trails.

Broads Authority chief executive John Packman paid tribute to the partnership working which had seen the festival flourish.

He said: 'When we first had this idea I was nervous about it working. Could we sustain it?

'The reverse has happened, we have found more partners to help us and the number of people taking part has increased.

'The whole point of the festival is sending a message that national parks are here for everyone, that there is something for everyone to do and that you can try something you have never done before, whether it is canoeing, cycling or visiting one of these magical places like Halvergate Marshes.'

Rebecca Harris, head of marketing at holidays firm Hoseasons, which is supporting the event alongside media partner Archant, said they were a business 'born in the Broads' and were delighted to be involved with it in their 70th anniversary year.

For a guide to all the events pick up your EDP on Tuesday, April 29 or visit

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