Haddiscoe Cut

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(tidal - 3ft rise)

The Haddiscoe Cut or New Cut is a canal in the English county of Norfolk and in The Broads National Park. The cut was conceived as a way to provide a more direct route from Lowestoft to Norwich, and was opened in 1833.



Prior to the 1820s, Norwich was served by vessels using the River Yare, which flows through Breydon Water before joining the River Bure and then the North Sea near Great Yarmouth. Breydon Water is a wide expanse of shallow water, and therefore required cargo arriving at Yarmouth to be trans-shipped into smaller vessels which could then reach Norwich. There was discontent among the merchants of Norwich at the cost of trans-shipment, and allegations of systematic theft of cargo, which resulted in a court case in 1820, when 18 men were convicted of taking the goods and another of receiving it. Against this background, William Cubitt was asked to investigate possible solutions in 1814.[1]

Cubitt's first plan involved general improvements to the River Yare, and the dredging of a deeper channel along the southern edge of Breydon Water. He estimated that this would cost £35,000, and his plan was published in 1818, but there were immediate objections from the Corporation of Yarmouth, who called on the engineer John Rennie for advice. Rennie concluded that the plan would lead to the silting of Yarmouth harbour. Cubitt therefore looked at alternatives, and produced a plan to link the Yare to Lowestoft, which would cost over £70,000. Yarmouth again objected, but a bill based on the new plan was put before Parliament in 1826. It was defeated, but a second bill was presented, which was passed on 28 May 1827, despite vigorous campaigning against it by Yarmouth.[1]


The new Act of Parliament created the Norwich and Lowestoft Navigation Company, and authorised them to raise £100,000, with an additional £50,000 if required. The scheme involved dredging of the River Yare from Norwich to Reedham, to make it deeper, construction of the 2.5-mile (4.0 km) Haddiscoe cut between Reedham and Haddiscoe on the River Waveney, enlarging of Oulton Dyke, between the Waveney and Oulton Broad, and linking of Oulton Broad to Lake Lothing by a channel which was 0.25 miles (0.40 km) long, and included a sea lock, so that it could be used at all states of the tide. Work began on the Lake Lothing link, with most of it completed during 1829. The lock was 150 by 50 feet (46 by 15 m), and included a system of sluices, which used water from Oulton Broad to clear a channel to the sea through Lake Lothing. A demonstration of this was given on 3 June 1831, when it was estimated that 3,000 tons of stones and shingle were carried out to sea.[1]

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