The Broads is Britain's largest nationally protected
wetland. Its rivers, broads, marshes and
fens make it a unique area, rich in rare habitats for a myriad plants
This live webcam from bbc.co.uk/norfolk is the
first time mobile camera technology has been used on the Broads
in this way.
Housed on a Broads Authority patrol launch, the
camera will offer views from Breydon Water, the River Yare and the
Adrian Vernon is head navigation ranger with the
"Breydon Water is an
inland tidal estuary. The current runs fast at the Great Yarmouth
end and there can be a large rise and fall of tide," he said.
"If there are high winds, particularly
when they are blowing against the tide, it can get quite rough.
"The launch is staffed by two seasonal Navigation
Rangers who are highly trained and particularly experienced in this
sometimes challenging area.
"Their primary job is to assist and give advice
to vessels crossing Breydon Water and those navigating the bridges
at Great Yarmouth.
"If they weren't on patrol, more vessels would
get stuck on the mud, or under bridges or stray into the commercial
port area," he added.
Senior web producer Martin Barber said it has been
an ambition to get a live webcam out on the water for some time.
"The Broads are such an important part of
Norfolk life, both in terms of the money generated from tourism
and local business'.
Web producer Martin Barber with technician David
Dodd get the camera ship-shape.
"I wanted to find a way of sharing this beautiful
part of the county with visitors to the website that went beyond
simple photographs or our 360° interactive views," he said.
"I first looked at the idea of a boat based
webcam a couple of years ago, but it's only recently that the mobile
and camera technology became available to let us take the idea from
aspiration to reality.
"Now for the first time, our mobile webcam
will let people enjoy the Norfolk Broads experience wherever they
live in the world," he added.
Managed by the Broads Authority, the Broads has
It is one of the family of National Parks - for
its blend of wildlife, distinctive landscapes and the opportunities
for people to relax and enjoy themselves both on land and on the
Breydon Water is four miles
long, one mile wide and is a site of special scientific interest.
Navigation ranger, Joan Derhé is often stationed
on the Breydon patrol craft.
"I think the webcam is a great idea,"
"We see a lot of wildlife, including seals,
on Breydon. It's also quite different from the rest of the Broads
in that's it's very open and a lot wilder than many of the rivers.
"There's a lot of river traffic here, so you'll
see a mix of hire boats, private vessels and some commercial craft.
"You'll also see lots of tourist trying to
get to grips with navigating and having fun on the waterways.
"We get the occasional hen party too, let's
just say they dress their boat in more than your regulation safety
inflatables," she added.
The webcam installation has been a collaborative
project for all concerned.
"Everybody involved has just been brilliant.
It was a new idea that needed the help of all concerned to make
it happen," said Martin Barber.
"From the Broads Authority who embraced the
original idea, to the BBC resources staff and experts who developed
the mobile camera technology.
"The final stages of the project have been
about three months in development - let's just hope we now get some
sunshine to show the Broads off at their best," he added.
The Breydon Water launch has finished for 2004.
See a gallery
of pictures taken throughout the season.
The mobile camera will return to a Broads location