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Return after 60 years of Ardea pleasure wherry to Norwich

The Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham James arrives on the wherry Ardea at St Benet's Abbey on August  6, 2017 for the annual service at the monastery ruins on the banks of the River Bure. Picture: Roger Green

The Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham James arrives on the wherry Ardea at St Benet's Abbey on August 6, 2017 for the annual service at the monastery ruins on the banks of the River Bure. Picture: Roger Green

Roger Green

It’s a stunning sight that has not been seen on the river in Norwich since the 1950s.

Wherry Ardea, built in 1927 for Howard Hollingsworth.
Photo: From Philippe Rouff's websiteWherry Ardea, built in 1927 for Howard Hollingsworth. Photo: From Philippe Rouff's website

The largest pleasure wherry ever built, the Ardea, will be sailing from How Hill, Ludham to Norwich via Great Yarmouth, as part of a special Broads holiday trip.

The Wroxham-based Wherry Yacht Charter Charitable Trust has joined forces with the How Hill Trust for the special event.

Peter Bower, skipper of the Ardea’s sister pleasure wherry, Hathor, expressed fears earlier this month that the trip might not go-ahead, as the Broads Authority (BA) ad changed its policy by preventing moorings from being guaranteed.

Wherry operators can longer reserve a specific spot for their 70ft-long boats, which take up as much space as three motorboats.

Wherry Yacht Charter Charitable Trust's Hathor at How Hill.



Picture: James BassWherry Yacht Charter Charitable Trust's Hathor at How Hill. Picture: James Bass

But the authority said that, in terms of mooring at Norwich and Great Yarmouth yacht stations, it would make sure appropriate spaces were found.

A BA spokesman said: “If our quay rangers are aware of your pending arrival, they will actively manage the mooring location to ensure the wherry can safely moor at our yacht stations.”

Mr Bower said: “As a result of this we are now able to proceed with the wherry Ardea’s first visit to Norwich in nearly 60 years arriving on September 1. The Ardea is the largest pleasure wherry ever built and was launched in the presence of King George V in 1927.

“Ardea will then stay in Norwich and offer private tours for businesses and organisations to preview a range of corporate cruises and meetings.”

Peter Bower is the skipper of the wherry, Hathor. Pictures: David BalePeter Bower is the skipper of the wherry, Hathor. Pictures: David Bale

Ardea’s return trip, City to Sea is a new and exciting fundraising venture, he said.

“On September 12 and 13 we are offering two luxury all-inclusive day cruises. This is a rare opportunity to sail on the Ardea, covering the entire length of two of the three principle rivers on the Broads as well as crossing Breydon Water. Any profits will benefit the two worthwhile local trusts.”

As reported, the BA’s policy led to the Wherry trust’s cancellation earlier this month of 30-minute trips from Ranworth staithe.

to book the trip, contact How Hill and quote Ardea return trip, on 01692 678555, or email secretary@howhilltrust.org.uk

Skipper Peter Bower and guests in Edwardian costume aboard wherry Hathor as she leaves How Hill staithe to celebrate the centenary of her maiden voyage in 2005. 
Photo: Bill Smith
.Skipper Peter Bower and guests in Edwardian costume aboard wherry Hathor as she leaves How Hill staithe to celebrate the centenary of her maiden voyage in 2005. Photo: Bill Smith .

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