Tuesday, 30 August 2011

New holiday cottages for Rockland St Mary

The Barn

WHEN the Wherryman’s Way was created back in 2005, it was meant to create a brand for our part of the Broads. Wroxham and Horning could cater for the stag-do boys in their day boats, we’d look after the walkers and the cyclists, the birdwatchers and the canoeists.  And it’s worked well. Hardley Mill got hundreds of thousands of pounds from Europe, at least partly because it could say it was on the WW. The medieval Langley Abbey was opened up to the public for the first time in centuries and a decent cafe graces the riverside at Reedham. There’s still room for more I’d say, but it’s been a cracking start.

So if we’ve got our new tourist attractions where are all those new tourists going to stay? Well, as of this week there’s a new kid on the block. Three holiday cottages have opened up at Oxnead House at Rockland St Mary. I haven’t looked round yet but I have met owners Ian and Pia Saunders. Certainly they “get” the whole Wherryman’s Way thing and certainly they’ve produced a very impressive website. (This photo of one of the three cottages is pinched from there.) It’s early days, but with a staithe and a pub, a broad and holiday cottages, Rockland is looking like the new unofficial capital of the Wherryman’s Way.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Rockland New Inn: the cover story

P6300116CONGRATULATIONS to Alix and John at the New Inn in Rockland St Mary who have already celebrated their 1,000th cover, achieving this milestone in three weeks flat. They’re still managers rather than leaseholders, so we can’t get too excited, but fingers crossed. According to Alix, it’s mostly local bums on seats, which bodes well for the leaner winter months too. The sandwich board saying “no credit cards accepted” has been turned around to read “all major credit cards accepted”. Oh and my pint of Adnams tasted good. These are small but important signs of progress. A perfect Bank Holiday weekend venue I would have thought. These guys are definitely worth supporting.

* More on Alix and John here.

Monday, 15 August 2011

The Loddon Swan - a return to the glory days?


BIG NEWS on the future of The Swan – the magnificent old coaching inn in the centre of Loddon . It has been bought by Justin Fenwick of Geldeston Hall who plans to keep it as a pub, but take it upmarket. I haven’t spoken to Mr Fenwick but his wife Marcia told me tonight that the plan is to give it a wine bar feel – and there will be food too. “The sort of place,”she told me, “where ladies will want to come for a cup of coffee”. It’s great news for a building which has looked increasingly down at heel since it closed back in September 2010.  And it should be a boost for Loddon too – given that empty buildings drag the whole town down.  Mrs Fenwick was keen to stress that it’s early days and the timescale is as yet uncertain. Two other quick facts: the bowling club are safe – they will be allowed to continue playing on the green behind the pub as they have done since time immemorial.  And there are longer term plans to build single-storey accommodation for elderly people between the pub and the bowling green. More info when I get it.

* More on the recent history of this building here.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

The Wherryman’s Way ..on Future


LISTEN out for a new series on The Wherryman’s Way next month – on Future Radio. The station is doing a five-part look at the entire walk running from Monday September 5th till Friday September 9th. I was interviewed by their top man Terry Lee and I have to say he knew his stuff. He loves the WW and I’m sure that will be reflected in the series which will go out at noon every day. I’ve listened to the trailer ..which includes a short excerpt from me where I appear to have said that Billy Bluelight was “the puppet man of his day”. Is that allowed? Will the puppet man mind? We’ll see.

So who are Future Radio? They’re a community station based in West Norwich. I’m no expert, but the impression I got from visiting their studios was of an eclectic bunch playing eclectic music. Loads of volunteers, a wide variety of interests and boundless enthusiasm all round. You can find them at 107.8fm.