Bridge heights and openings

There are a number of historic bridges in The Broads which present a navigational challenge to yachts and larger vessels.

Yachts will typically need to lower their masts when navigating through most bridges in The Broads. There are also rail bridges at Somerleyton, Reedham and Trowse that have been constructed with swing mechanisms which are staffed and opened by Network Rail as required by individual vessels. Other types of bridges open by lifting mechanisms and these are at Breydon Water, Novi Sad, St Julian's and Carrow Road bridge in Norwich.

Please note that the Broads Authority does not operate the swing bridges or lifting bridges in the navigation area. However, for the three Norwich bridges an opening can be arranged through Broads Control on 01603 756056 providing at least 24 hours notice.

Although the rail swing bridges at Somerleyton and Reedham may be opened by Network Rail without a direct contact being made with the operator, individual vessels may use VHF channel 12 to request a specific opening where required. The bridges can be swung 24 hours a day.

Somerleyton Swing Bridge

Trowse Bridge currently is currently experiencing mechanical problems requiring extra assistance to operate. Network Rail therefore require seven days’ notice to open the bridge. The opening times are 9.05 am on Sundays and any day between 02.00 am and 04.00 am. To arrange opening please call Network Rail on either 01603 675297 or 01603 763440. Any problems in arranging the opening of the bridge should be reported to the Broads Authority Monitoring Officer on 01603 756018 or to david.harris@broads-authority.gov.uk, who will be pleased to assist.

Clearance measurements for bridges given are at Average High Water during summer. There will be greater clearance near Low Water, especially at Great Yarmouth and in the southern rivers. Barometric pressure, rainfall and wind conditions affect river levels so caution should be exercised and bridge gauge board carefully noted.

Frequently asked questions

Bridge Clearance Width Description VHF
metric imp metric imp
Acle 3.66 12' 23.7 78' Fixed road  
Beccles Road Old* 1.98 6' 6" 12.6 41' 6" Fixed road*  
Beccles Bypass New 3.66 12' 28.9 95' Fixed road  
Breydon Fixed Span 3.96 13'    Fixed spans 12
Breydon Road Lifting 3.51 11' 6"    Lifting span 12
Haddiscoe New Cut 7.32 24' 12.1 40' Fixed road  
Norwich Jarrolds Bridge 3.63 11'11"    Fixed pedestrian  
Norwich Lady Julian 3.96 13'    Swing pedestrian  12 Carrow
Lowestoft Harbour  2.16 7'1"    Lifting road  14
Ludham 2.59 8' 6" 5.4 18' Fixed road  
Norwich Carrow 4.27 14' 12.5 30' Lifting road 12
Norwich Foundry 3.05 10' 16.4 54' Fixed road  
Norwich Novi Sad 4.88 16' 16.5   Swing pedestrian 12 Carrow
Norwich Trowse 2.74 9' 12.9 30' Swing rail 12
Norwich Bishop's Bridge 3.2 10'6" 6.05 19'10" Arch Fixed road  
Postwick Viaduct 10.67 35'    Fixed road  
Potter Heigham New 2.31 7'7" 22.4 73' 6" Fixed road  
Potter Heigham Old* 1.98 6'6"    Fixed road*  
Oulton Broad, Lake Lothing 4.57  15'    Swing rail  
Oulton Broad Mutford 2.39 7' 10" 6.4 21' Lifting road 14, 73
Reedham 3.05 10' 16.6 54' 6" Swing rail 12
St Olaves 2.44 8' 23.9 78' 6" Fixed road  
Somerleyton 2.59 8' 6" 16.4 54' Swing rail 12
Thorpe Rail (each) 1.83 6'    Fixed rail  
Wayford 2.13 7' 6.1 20' Fixed road  
Wroxham Rail 4.57 15' 14.3 47' Fixed rail  
Wroxham Road* 2.21 7 '3" 8.00 26'6" Fixed road*  
Yarmouth Haven 2.90 9' 6" 26.8 88' Lifting road 12
Yarmouth Acle Road 2.13 7' 21.3 70' Fixed road  
Yarmouth Vauxhall 2.06 6' 9" 30.4 100' Fixed foot  

* Arched bridges

NB In all cases, tidal levels can vary considerably and so affect the above figures.

Bridge Pilots

At Potter Heigham hire boats must use the bridge pilot from Phoenix Fleet boatyard. Pilot service available 8.30am-6.00pm, depending on tide and weather conditions. Telephone 01692 670460.

Potter Heigham Bridge. Hire boats must use the bridge pilot.