In just five months the new owners of Reepham Fishery have already completed an extensive programme of improvements, offering a popular venue for day-ticket fishing and corporate events, as well as holiday accommodation.
In a major lifestyle change, Rick and Kellie Broadway gave up their well-paid jobs in London to purchase this long-established business in January, which now has two additional employees.
Together with daughter Alex, a year 10 student at Reepham High School, the family made an instant decision to move to Reepham late last year having seen the idyllic setting of the wildlife haven and its business potential, as well as the delights of the town and surrounding district.
Behind the modest frontage on Norwich Road, the nine-acre Beck Farm fishery was originally a trout farm established around 30 years ago. The four spring-fed lakes accommodate 90 “swims” or “pegs” (locations from which to fish) and are well-stocked, mainly with carp, roach, rudd and tench.
Long Lake and Main Lake are joined together, providing three acres of water with a total of 65 pegs; Silver Lake is for the exclusive use of guests staying at the fishery; while Bungalow Lake has several pegs offering easier access for disabled anglers.
Managing the fishing side of the business, one of the first tasks for Mr Broadway, a former self-employed courier, was to prune and chop back the trees to open up the space and generally tidy up the grounds; the fishery rules have also been updated.
With fishing now all year round, another major change has been the introduction of weekend match fishing, as well as week-day twilight fishing during the warmer months.
An Environment Agency rod licence for coarse fishing is required (currently £27.50 for adults), and anglers must use the landing mats and unhooking mats supplied to reduce the risk of diseases and cross-contamination, and protect the wellbeing of the fish, Mr Broadway explained.
Reepham Fishery has plans for a fishing festival and will also hold a charity match on August Bank Holiday Monday to raise funds to buy a defibrillator for the site.
It is working closely with local schools, including Reepham High School, and will sponsor the Reepham Music Festival in August, offering weekend accommodation during the event.
A priority has been to get the fishery known amongst other angling clubs in the region, said Mr Broadway, highlighting the generous assistance of Daniel Brydon of Wensum Valley Angling.
Mrs Broadway, who worked in real estate in central London, said she has fully adapted to the laid-back, slower pace of life in a place “where I can move about”.
“The aim of the fishery is to provide customers with a quiet undisturbed and safe environment which is as close to nature as possible,” she said. “We understand that the needs and requirements of our guests can vary and as such we offer a whole range of accommodation, including wheelchair-friendly units.”
Just a short walk to Reepham town centre, the fishery has a range of self-contained holiday accommodation overlooking the fishing lakes, offering weekly, short-break and one-night stays, and also available to non-anglers.
Each of the four lodges can accommodate up to four people in two bedrooms; the new 12-foot caravans comprise two or three bedrooms, sleeping four or six, respectively; while a further six people can be accommodated in the main bungalow.
All the accommodation (non-smoking) is comfortably furnished, with a lounge area with a television; free Wi-Fi; bathrooms with fitted showers, WC and hand basin; and a kitchen inclusive of oven, hob, microwave and fridge, cooking utensils, crockery and cutlery. All bed linen is supplied and fitted on arrival, and pets are by arrangement.
Fishing fees for guests on all lakes are included in the cost of the accommodation; a bed-and-breakfast option (fishing not included) is also available.