Museum’s new boat will help visitors get closer to Broads wildlife

Falcon, the Museum of the Broads' steam boat. The museum in Stalham has received grant funding to bu

Falcon, the Museum of the Broads' steam boat. The museum in Stalham has received grant funding to build a new electric trip boat and replace Falcon's engine. Picture: Museum of the Broads - Credit: Museum of the Broads

Visitors to a Norfolk museum will soon be able to get closer to nature during their trip.

The Museum of the Broads in Stalham has scored a grant to fund a new accessible electric trip boat, which will come into service in 2019.

The trip boat has been described by trustees as a 'game changer' for the museum – it will be able to be used in all weathers, will generate its power from the museum's solar panels and, as it is fully accessible, will open up boat trips to a wider audience.

It will also be available for hire by private parties.

The museum will use some of the grant funding to purchase a new, more efficient engine for Falcon, its Victorian steam boat – which still has its original 120-year-old engine – and will also buy a wheelchair to enable access to the boat.

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The funding has been awarded by LEADER, the community fund for the Sheringham Shoal offshore windfarm administered by Norfolk Community Foundation, and the Broads Trust through Love the Broads.

Museum curator Nicola Hems said the new trip boat would open up the Broads' heritage to a wider audience.

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She said: 'The museum's mission is to bring the story of the Broads alive and this project really complements that by giving visitors the opportunity to experience the river first-hand.

'Visitors will have the opportunity to get close to Broads wildlife including otters, kingfishers, marsh harriers, swallowtail butterflies and waterfowl. The roof of the new accessible trip boat will be transparent to enable everyone to see birds in flight.'

The Museum of the Broads will be enlisting local companies to help realise its ambitions for its trip boat.

John Caschere, of River Bank Boats, and the International Boat Building College in Oulton Broad will be working together to build the boat.

The heritage-style 26ft craft, the Otter, has been designed by Broads boat architect Andrew Wolstenholme.

The Museum of the Broads is volunteer led and staffed by more than 80 volunteers, who share their knowledge of Broadland's heritage with visitors.

Located on Stalham's staithe, the museum is open daily from Easter to the end of October.

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