World Wetlands Day 2002: United Kingdom



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World Wetlands Day 2002

Wetlands: Water, Life and Culture

The Value of the Broads Landscape

Much of what is precious in the Broads has been fashioned by the working and living patterns of people in the past who have used the natural resources of the landscape for their own ends. 

The wetland environment met the needs of marsh dwellers.  The broads were originally created from peat diggings for fuel, then became a source of fish and the wildfowl they attracted were fair game.  Reed and sedge provided a roof over their heads in the form of thatch.  Marsh hay provided fodder for grazing cattle and the waterways were used for transporting goods.

The built environment is an important part of the Broads heritage.  Buildings in the Broads, like the natural environment, reflect the changing pattern of living and working down the centuries.  There are open landscapes in which the only buildings are a marshman’s cottage or the derelict remains of a drainage mill that once harnessed the power of the wind to drain the marshes.   Riverside villages reflected the needs of the boating industry and there are characteristic timber-framed chalets which form part of the riverside scene.   Buildings connected with riverside trade, or management of the marshes and surrounding areas, are strongly influenced in their design by their functions and waterside locations.  This has led to a range of buildings such as boatsheds, windpumps and riverside houses, with a specific Broads character.

The Broads Authority has brought together English Heritage, the Countryside Agency, Norfolk County Council, Suffolk County Council and the Centre of East Anglian Studies (University of East Anglia) to help to produce a strategy for the cultural landscape of the Broads.  The strategy will help us understand this heritage and manage it appropriately in the face of changes and other pressures which are expected over the next few years.  Boatyards want to modernise, chalets and boatsheds need refurbishment, and major changes to the landscape are proposed by the Broadland Flood Alleviation Project.

Organisations, groups and individuals are invited to help.  We need to understand what makes the Broads special.  Each interest group is likely to have a different point of view.   You will probably think of things no one else has mentioned.

To start the ball rolling, and as our contribution to World Wetlands Day 2002*, we are holding a workshop on Friday 1st February 2002 at The Assembly House, Theatre Street, Norwich.  Please book your place now.   It looks like being a very interesting morning.

I look forward to seeing you.

 Gillian Morgan
 Director of Planning and Development
 Broads Authority
 13th December 2001

18 Colegate
Norwich  NR3 1BQ, UK
Tel. + 44 (0)1603 610734
Fax. +44 (0)1603 765710

Web site:

*World Wetlands Day, an initiative of the Ramsar Convention Secretariat, is held annually on   2nd February

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