Ruston Reaches

The Area around Ruston Reaches

The Village

In terms of area East Ruston is one of the largest parishes in Norfolk. However, with only around 500 residents, some 350 less than it was one and a half centuries ago, population density is low and the village has no obvious centre.

The Butchers Arms

There are no shops left in the village. As with so many pubs, the last remaining one in the village, the Butcher's Arms is facing difficult times. During the COVID-19 pandemic the pub sold take-away meals only. When government regulations relaxed in September 2021, the landlady of 30 years explained to locals why the pub was not reopening, posting on the village web site:

"I am no longer the owner of the Pub, merely a caretaker awaiting the new owners to finalise their plans for her."

It appears likely the pub will not reopen and continue to offer take- away meals only, but check the Butcher's Arms Facebook Page for the current position on opening hours and services available. The Ownbers of The Old Vicarage Gardens

You can tell from the photograph of the flamboyant owners, Alan Gray and Graham Robeson, that a visit to East Ruston's Old Vicarage Gardens will be worthwhile. Set on high ground about a mile and a half east of the village centre, the house was bought by the pair in 1973. They started by cultivating two acres of three foot high tufted grass that then grew round the house. The gardens now extend to more than 30 wonderful acres. St Mary's Church

Near the Old Vicarage, on the A1159 that runs between Stalham and Mundesley, is the village church, St. Mary's. If old churches are your thing, it shouldn't be missed. It boasts an impressive 15th Century chancel screen with its lively lions and unspoilt contemporary paintings of the evangelists and others. There's a 12 page Guide to St Mary's you can download that was published by the The Churches Conservation Trust in 1996. The Common

The Parish has an extensive area designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (PDF, 5.9KB). Much of it known a East Ruston Common, the remnant of the land allotted to the poor of the parish at the time of the Enclosure Act in 1806. Those who enjoy wildlife will find of interest as a good number of acres is designated Public Access land under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, often termed the "CRoW Act. You can find out exactly which areas are which at DEFRA's Interactive Map. On the menu that you use to select the layers to display, under:
Designations > Land-Based > Statutory
select the "Sites of Special Scientific Interest" check box
and under: Access
select "CRoW" land

Weaver's Way

Walkers, and those who cycle, will enjoy much of the Weaver's Way. This long distance footpath, much of it designated a bridleway, passes through East Ruston a hundred yards south of Ruston Reaches.

Most of the route between North Walsham and Stalham runs on the old Midland and Great Northern railway line, providing very easy walking for those with normal mobility and certainly the most direct route into Stalham. Both cycling and horse riding is allowed as far as Stalham and for a worthwhile distance towards North Walsham. Download Access Tested reports for the route to Stalham and Honing (towards North Walsham) that were published in 2017. There are also maps for circular walks available that take you around Honing Lock and East Ruston, the latter covering some of the same route.

Those with an interest in history will find it worth reading an Analysis of the 1851 Census returns (PDF, 73KB) for East Ruston and a description of the Poor's Allotment in East Ruston (PDF, 664KB). Copies of the Enclosure Maps, which defined the Poor's Allotment, along with Tithe and First Edition Ordnance Survey maps are available at the County Council's excellent Map Explorer site. This allows you to to view any combination of these maps superimposed over each other together with 1946 and 1988 aerial surveys of the parish (and many others across the County).

Stalham

Stalham, only four miles from the nearest sandy beach, is "The Northern Gateway to the Broads". So says a sign outside the local branch of Tesco. The same sign points out the the High Street is home to almost 100 businesses...


		Stalham Visitors Guide A Farmer's market is held in the Town Hall on the first and third Saturdays of each month in the Town Hall (seen below). A medium sized Tesco store stays open till 22:00 on Monday to Saturday. Until very recently the town retained the old ways of retailing. Wednesday used to be "early closing" day. Stalham DIY, a hardware store, will still sell you the exact number of screws you want, not just a packet of ten!

Town Hall

Not mentioned on the sign are the significant number of independent traders. As you might expect in a town catering for the holiday trade, there's a host of places to eat in or buy a take-away.

Fire House
		Museum

Also on the High Street, in the corner of the St Mary's church yard, is the Old Firehouse Museum. This tiny building with a distinctive red door is the second oldest firehouse in the country. It holds many old photographs and artefacts and an original 1902 horse drawn fire engine. Entrance is free, but you will need to check when it will be open, especially if visiting outside the summer months.

On the outskirts of the town is the boatyard of one of the largest holiday hire fleets on the Broads. There are also smaller yards around Stalham Staithe that cater for day hire - as well and the fascinating Museum of the Broads.