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New wooden boat to help youngsters explore Norfolk Broads

PUBLISHED: 12:24 10 June 2019 | UPDATED: 12:35 10 June 2019

Alderman Norman II on the water. Picture: Richard Batson

Alderman Norman II on the water. Picture: Richard Batson

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A piece of floating history has been recreated to help youngsters explore a Norfolk Broads environmental haven.

Bashing the bubbly the Rev Jonathan Boston from the Alderman Norman Foundation. Picture: Richard BatsonBashing the bubbly the Rev Jonathan Boston from the Alderman Norman Foundation. Picture: Richard Batson

School pupils in Norfolk will be sailing down the river at How Hill in a wooden "reed lighter" boat, like the ones that used to transport roofing materials along the river.

The reed lighter will be used to transport hundreds of young people each year during day and residential courses to study the landscape and wildlife of the Broads.

The boat is named the Alderman Norman II, after the charitable educational trust in memory of an 18th century major of Norwich, which paid for it.

It was especially built by the International Boatbuilding Training College at Oulton Broad, using the skills of recent graduate Alex Hunter, 35, from Norwich, who works at the college.

The boat in the early stages of construction. Picture: IBTCThe boat in the early stages of construction. Picture: IBTC

How Hill director Simon Partridge said: "The boat is magnificent and we are thrilled it was made at a centre which is keeping alive wooden boat building skills.

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"Our visitors will ride in it to explore Barton Broad and the marshes - including seeing crops of reeds which boats like this helped harvest.

"But we could not have done it without the generosity of the Alderman Norman Foundation which also paid for another boat in 1988."

Alex Hunter with Sam Potter helping top paint the inside. Picture: Richard BatsonAlex Hunter with Sam Potter helping top paint the inside. Picture: Richard Batson

The chairman of the Alderman Norman Foundation, the Rev Jonathan Boston, smashed a bottle of bubbly over the bows of the boat at an official launch at the Swallowtail boatyard in Ludham, which maintains the How Hill fleet.

The 23ft boat took seven months to build and is made from an oak and hardwood frame clad in larch planks.

It is painted in Donegal Green, with black tar varnish below the waterline.

How Hill, a former family home with stunning views over the Broads, has been an environmental study centre for more than 50 years where children learn about the countryside.

The Alderman Norman II launch ceremony. Picture: Richard BatsonThe Alderman Norman II launch ceremony. Picture: Richard Batson

How Hill also host adult courses from gardening to sailing iconic wherries.

To learn more about How Hill and its courses, walks, tea room and events, visit www.howhilltrust.org.uk

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