Ranworth is a pretty Broadland village situated on Malthouse Broad and accessed via a dyke from the River Bure.
St. Helens church has served the villagers since 1390 and its tower can be seen for miles around. The church is nicknamed 'The Cathedral of The Broads' and it is well worth climbing the ladders inside the 100ft church tower so see the fantastic views extending over five Broads on a clear day. The church still houses the restored rood screen and has some lovely stained glass. The 15th century Ranworth Antiphoner was used at St. Helen's Church prior to the Reformation. It disappeared for about 300 years until 1912, when it was offered for sale. It was bought and returned to Saint Helen's Church where it is now on display. This manuscript was bequeathed to the church in 1478 and was produced by the monks of Langley Abbey. This historic book consists of 285 pages of writing and illustrations, with daily services in medieval Latin and nineteen miniatures.
Malthouse Broad is a large boating area with boats of all styles, shapes and sizes regularly seen enjoying their hobby or sport. Ranworth Broad is closed to boats as it is a nature reserve and divided from Malthouse Broad by a thick bank. The large nature reserve winds its way through woodland to a Norfolk Wildlife Conservation Centre. This floating thatched building on the edge of the Ranworth Broad gives information about the Broads and their history. Inside the centre there are models and simulations and views out through purpose built windows with binoculars and telescopes on the upper windows for bird watching. The centre also has a shop.
At Ranworth Staithe mooring is mainly stern on and here you will find a Broads Authority Information Centre, public toilets, the Granary Stores and Restaurant and The Maltsters Public House. The Maltsters is currently closed and there is currently no information as to when or if it will re-open.
Helen of Ranworth, a reed lighter is powered by electric and is modelled on a traditional reed carrying boat operates from the staithe and taking visitors on 2 hour tours of Malthouse Broad and the River Bure. Helen also serves as a ferry taking visitors between the staithe and the Broads Wildlife Centre.
The Maltsters 01603 270241
The Granary Shop/Restaurant 01603 270432
Broads Authority Information Centre 01603 270453
Ranworth Broad to the west, is said to be haunted by the ghost of a monk known as Brother Pacificus. The friendly monk appears at dawn in a small rowing boat crossing the Broad accompanied by his little dog standing in the bow. Brothers from nearby St. Benet's Abbey undertook the work to restore the rood screen at the church of St. Helens at Ranworth and the task was entrusted to Brother Pacificus. Early each morning the monk would row his boat from the Abbey along the river and across the Broad to St. Helen's to carry out his restoration duties, returning to the Abbey each evening by the same route. Although sightings are usually of his dawn crossing he has also occassionally been seen on a quiet summer evening on his return journey. One evening the monk returned to the Abbey to find that his fellow monks had been murdered, by the Kings troops. Orders had been given by Henry VIII as part of his dissolution of the monasteries. Devastated by his loss the monk remained in the ruins of his beloved Abbey living the life of a hermit. Upon the death of Brother Pacificus local residents buried him in the churchyard of St. Helens, where he still returns to his work accompanied by his little dog.
Locals tell of an unknown man on a black horse that is believed to haunt the area. The devil is seen riding across the broad every 31 December; under his arm is the soul of a Colonel who had dared hunt on the Sabbath.