For centuries the distinctive black sail of the
wherry was a common sight along the River Yare.
These magnificent craft plied their trade from
Norwich to Great Yarmouth, transporting everything
from coal and timber to market produce,
ice and thatching reed. While the wherry
survives today only in a handful of restored
vessels the river remains, as do the staithes, the
dykes and many of the wayside pubs once
frequented by the wherrymen.
Once you start
looking, their ghosts are everywhere.
In 2005, the 35-mile long Wherryman’s Way was
unveiled, opening up the riverside footpaths to a
new generation of walkers. In this book the
author has taken a step further, not only covering
the main route but providing an opportunity for
individuals, families and walking groups to explore
the heritage of the Wherryman’s Way by
providing guides to the twelve circular walks
which branch off from it.
The book is illuminated with photographs and
stories relating to features connected with the
route, from abandoned windmills to long forgotten
ferries, and eccentric characters such as
Billy Bluelight and the irascible wildfowler known
as ‘Old Scientific’. This book is a must for anyone
who loves what the wherrymen themselves
called ‘The Norwich River’.
Steve Silk is an assistant editor for the
BBC, working on its Look East news
programme based in Norwich. He
lives in Loddon, half way along the
Imprint: Halsgrove. ISBN 978 1 84114 852 6, hardback, 214x230mm, 144 pages. Published May 2010.