Every time we go past the UEA on a Summer's day, I see children playing in the river, and think "I'd love to go there sometime".
Well, 8 years on, and we finally made it to this park.
I have been to the UEA, Sportspark and Sainsbury Centre , for a number of events, and did a quick stint of exercise in the park, but that was as an organised keep fit group, and I didn't have the chance to go off exploring.
This time we visited as a family over Easter on a lovely Spring day.
We parked in the car park just inside the University drive. This car park can get quite full. The car park was free for 2 hours at the time that we visited, but there is also paid parking in the UEA itself.
This car park leads into Earlham Park, which is one of the biggest parks in Norwich, comprising 88 acres. not far from the entrance are toilets and a cafe. The cafe welcomes well-behaved dogs and also has a water bowl for dogs. Although basic, the cafe provided welcome food and drinks at the end of our walk.
I thought that Earlham Park itself comprised the extent of the walk, but as we strolled across the grass, and were then enticed into the woodland to follow the river, we came to what I thought was the end of the walk.
We hit a path leading to the UEA buildings in one direction and the John Innes Centre/ Norwich Research Park in the other direction. As we were looking at the sign post and wondering whether there was anywhere else to go, a very kind lady stopped and asked us if we needed help.
She pointed us in the direction of the University Broad, but gave us a tip to walk across the Bridge towards the Norwich Research Park, and to turn off along the river and walk along that side of the river until we reached the Broad.
I love finding new places, so it was with great excitement that we strode a short way along the University road, and then turned off to walk along the river. This part of the walk took us past playing fields, then woodland. Ever inquisitive, I walked (ok jogged) up the hill to see where the path led. Some other walkers told me that the path led up to a parking bay near the hospital roundabout.
Instead of following this path, we crossed the bridge, and found the University Broad. The Broad is a large area of water created from the gravel and sand extraction for the construction of the University. Because of the depths and the danger of being entangled in weed, swimming is prohibited. There are various fishing platforms along the route, and it must be very tempting on a hot summer's day to jump in.
The path around the Broad goes through diverse woodland, with a boardwalk along parts, and then along the grounds of the UEA, with the beautiful Sainsbury Centre in view. I believe that there is a walk on to Eaton Park, but we did not see this, and followed the path around the Broad to our original starting place.
Imagine my surprise when, having walked through parkland, riverside reeds and woodland, wildflower meadows and boardwalks, we then found ourselves in the middle of a Bluebell wood.
This walk has something for everyone, with options for a short stroll or a longer walk through diverse habitats. It is well recommended.
Author: Sara Greenfield
Member since: 10th July 2012
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