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Shotford Pocket Park

Updated: Jan 27, 2023

The Pocket Park was set up in the early 2000’s, with steps and a staithe on both sides of the river. Unfortunately it was not maintained but became very overgrown until about 2012 when the Harleston branch of the River Waveney Trust (RWT) felt it needed some TLC. Infact the Suffolk side was completely hidden by branches and nettles! The Norfolk side has always been a popular venue for young people to paddle or swim.


Since then the RWT has cleared back both banks’ pathways, trying to keep the briars from harming the children in particular. We have replaced the entire Norfolk side staithe top, and another repair is needed. We have re-installed the steps down to it, but the dynamics of the river mean these remain vulnerable. The Suffolk side staithe has suffered badly from wear and needs replacement on the near future. We installed two rubbish bins on the Norfolk side and one on the Suffolk side, which we empty and sort as regularly as we can. The RWT thanks those who gather up the rubbish, that others leave, and put it in the bins, as well as other considerate users.


Unfortunately, the popular trees, used by generations for swinging from and climbing, have come to the end of their long life and tower over the river. Volunteers have trimmed them right back from the Suffolk side so they no longer cover it. The RWT has had these trees inspected professionally and maybe able to cut them back further to enable better river flow and canoe passage. There is a huge cost to this, however, and help may be required to find funding. A berm, a raised buffer, maybe created from the wood debris to help protect the Suffolk bank opposite, which was gouged out during the 2020-21 floods.

This remains a most beautiful place in which to sit and view the usually active river as it babbles over the old foundations of the piers of the ancient bridge that stood there in the past. The fish can often be seen from the sides, and the kingfishers do not live far away, often flashing through the branches. It is a real asset to the town that many know nothing about. We intend to replace the stumps that we put in place there for people to sit and watch, and ensure there is passage for paddlers to access other parts of our beautiful river.

Please note; the River Waveney Trust is not responsible for the site, we are volunteers who try to look after it, and have done so for the past 10 years. We also carry out water testing on the river to check its health. The Harleston branch also look after Alburgh river pocket park, another beautiful site beside the historic bridge and opposite Homersfield. We keep the grass mown, the bushes sorted, have replaced the large staithe there, installed picnic tables, hedges and steps down to the staithe, as well as helping Norfolk Historic Buildings Trust to maintain the old bridge, which they restored just a couple of years ago.


The Harleston Branch also help look after the wild area at Flixton Aviation Museum (the Norfolk and Suffolk one) having replaced 70 metres of their huge boardwalk to their river viewing platform. We keep an office and storage there. However, over 170 metres of boardwalk are yet to be replaced.


The Harleston Branch also survey the River Waveney regularly, from upstream towards Diss down to Flixton towards Bungay. We are not responsible for it all, as this lies with the land owners on either side, but do keep an eye on it, reporting issues to the Environment Agency when needed.


The branch are also involved in tree planting locally and removing invasive species like Himalayan Balsam. We also worked with local schools prior to Covid.

The Harleston Branch consists entirely of unpaid volunteers.

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