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An attractive market village situated at the gateway to the northern Broads


Acle Bridge
Village Green
Calthorpe Cottages
The Street
Parish Church
Acle is an attractive market village, situated beside the lower reaches of the River Bure. The traditional character of the village has not been lost and a market is still held here.
Acle means "a clearing in an oak forest" and in Tudor times, hundreds of oak trees were felled here for timber to construct warships. In Roman times Acle was an important port on a giant estuary, when Great Yarmouth did not even exist and all the area between Acle and Yarmouth was under the sea! In 1086 when the Normans arrived, the Domesday book records that Acle had 23 villagers, 38 smallholder's and 3 slaves! In 1101 Acle bridge was opened as the port began to gradually silt up and the river Bure was formed. Despite the decline of the port, Acle continued to be an important trade centre, with regular markets since the 13th century, with livestock sales being a central part of it. Today, Acle has grown to a population of about 2,700, attracted by its friendly character and the fact that it sits conveniently midway between Norwich and Great Yarmouth. To the visitor, Acle has much to offer, from plenty of facilities to glimpses of its historic past.

The village sign

Family butchers in Acle
Several bridges have stood on this site with the first reference to a river crossing back in 1101. Until its replacement in 1931, Acle bridge was a three arch stone bridge with two piers supported on oak piles driven into the river bed and built in the 1830s. The three narrow arches would have proved a barrier to any vessel other than keels and wherries. A single-span concrete bridge built in 1931 was subsequently replaced by the current bridge in 1997 due to the increase of road traffic volume and heavier loads carried, plus the bridge was showing signs of subsidence. Adjacent is a couple of boatyards hiring cruisers to visitors and The Bridge public house.

The pretty shop adjacent to Acle Bridge

Acle Bridge

Enjoying a pint in the riverside beer garden of The Bridge Pub

Paths along the river bank near Acle Bridge
The village green is surrounded by shops and businesses, many in attractive 17th and 18th century buildings. For example, Calthorpe Cottages are four 18th century cottages named after the Calthorpe family when in the 17th century Henry Calthorpe was Lord of the Manor (now Solicitors) and the 17th century Manor House (now a bed & breakfast).

Calthorpe Cottages
The village green is home to the village sign and the Jubilee Memorial, the later erected to commemorate the Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1887. Each face shows the distances to nearby places, including Norwich and Great Yarmouth (both exactly 11 miles). The village green was once home to a famous old tree, which is known to have existed at least from 1815. Sadly the old tree had to be cut down in 1979 after it developed Dutch Elm disease.

Acle Memorial
The main road running from the village green through Acle is called simply The Street, which also contains shops, businesses and some 18th and 19th century buildings. Ivy House was originally called the Blue Bell and was once the location for bull baiting (baiting of a bull by dogs) before this became illegal in 1835. Auctions were held in the Queens Head during the 19th century.

Ivy House
Acle village church is dedicated to St Edmund, who was king of East Anglia from 855AD. The church mainly dates from the 13th century, but the round tower is of Saxon origin and pre-dates the rest of the building from about 900AD. In 1912 an inscription was uncovered in the chancel, dating from the 15th century. The inscription gives details of the terrible plague and how quickly it spread. Other highlights of the interior include a 15th century screen, a stone font dating from 1410 and a brass plaque commemorating a long serving priest who died in 1627.

Acle Church

Inside Acle Church
Visitor Information
Car-parking can be found at the top end of the village, near the library (free).
Acle has a railway station on the Wherry Line, between Norwich, Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft. For train times and fares call the Network Rail National Helpline: 08457 11 41 41

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