The Norfolk Wherry Trust is the owner of the wherry Albion and has been since we rescued her over 70 years ago. The Albion was built in 1898 and is a 24 ton, 60 foot long, traditional Broads trading barge. Having no engine, she is is propelled by quanting, or by her iconic black sail. Although she belongs to an earlier age she is now a perfect example of Eco-boating! Albion is available for school parties to charter at a considerable discount of 33% on normal rates.
Albion ticks lots of boxes on the school curriculum; whether you are interested in biodiversity and conservation, tourism pressures or local history. So many areas of fieldwork can be enhanced by our experience. Visit the Broad Futures section of the Norfolk County Council schools website for more ideas! Come out with us as valuable fieldwork experience or as part of an end of term activities week.
Albion sails through some of the most scenic waterways in the country and the marshes are teeming with wildlife. The beauty and peace of the environment, coupled with the inescapable benefits of physical exertion and team building, has been shown to have an amazing effect on pupils of all abilities and backgrounds. Many teachers have been surprised and impressed by the way their pupils took responsibility for themselves and others, a valuable outcome whatever the objective.
The Albion Experience – What we offer
For Secondary Schools we continue to offer, at a reduced rate, the opportunity to charter the Wherry for groups of up to twelve (including staff) to experience life aboard and help the experienced crew of three sail the boat. A three to four hour trip has been found to work best fitting in with the normal school day.
For top primary school children we are able to welcome classes of up to thirty to join “wherrymen” from the past, to experience, in rotating groups, the cuddy where the crew lived, the hold where the cargo was carried and the bow area where the sail is raised and the mast lowered. Ashore, groups also have practical sessions learning something of other aspects of sailing the wherry. In the shore base, there is time for singing songs of the wherries, an area to eat packed lunches and a toilet.
What do the children (and adults) get out of the experience?
Visits to the Albion are much more than simply history coming alive although the culture and history of this primary source of transport for all sorts of goods around the Broads are at the core of much of what the Trust provides. To sit on the bunks in the small space which provided the living space for the crew and hear about their exploits from the past stimulates creative writing. To see the huge black sail raised and lowered as it has been for over a century and to admire the construction of this beautiful old craft has provided inspiration for some great photographs and some outstanding artwork. Practical exercises in knot tying, in the use of the large blocks that house the pulleys and very basic sailing principles provide welcome additions for those who like using their hands and also help introduce some basic science during the visit. Learning and singing some catchy wherry shanties has proved to be a very popular session towards the end of each visit. A specially produced attractive and informative souvenir booklet about the Albion and various sheets about some of the activities are given to each pupil to take home and prove to be a great reference for a variety of activities following the visits.
Proven track record !
The following are quotes from the visits to date :-
“Thank you very much for a wonderful visit.”
“We would like to book again for next year following our informative and entertaining visit.”
“From all of the children and staff at [deleted] Primary School, a huge ‘Thank you’ to members of the Trust for their invitation to visit Albion yesterday. The children were enthralled by the visit and thoroughly enjoyed learning about life on a wherry. Their comments, following the visit, included ‘History really came to life’, ‘The best visit ever’, ‘Wow’ and ‘Learning is fun here’. One child decided to award five stars instead of making a comment! The passion you all share for promoting learning about Albion and wherry history was very evident and this was a key factor in how well you taught the children – who say thank you for their pencils and knotting ropes. We all felt very welcome and would be happy to further support the development of your venue.”
“I am writing on behalf of staff and year 5/6 pupils to thank you and everyone from the Norfolk Wherry Trust who made our visit yesterday so enjoyable. It was an extremely well organised visit and we all had a great time visiting and learning all about the history of Albion. Thank you once again to everyone who helped to make our visit to the Albion so exciting and memorable.”
Health and Safety
We have a licence from the Adventurous Activities Licensing Authority. We have a Health and Safety Policy with strict procedures for wearing life jackets, which are supplied.
See our Health and Safety Procedures and Guidance for School and Youth Groups on board Albion (opens in new tab).
Want to come and see us ?
If you’d like to arrange a school visit to our base or need further information, please contact us by email (this link takes you to the relevant contact form).
Please note that key times of the year get booked up early.
If you’d like to listen to the songs we offer and see the words and music, click here.