A SWAN makes its nest on a semi-submerged boat just off Thorpe Old Reach. The old reach was the original course of the River Yare before the railway came to Norfolk in the 1840s – it’s the bit you see as you drive through Thorpe St Andrew. The new railway line from Norwich to Great Yarmouth bridged the river twice in less than a mile. And because the bridges were so low, engineers also dug out a “New Cut” to effectively give wherries a “Thorpe bypass”. That leaves an island in the middle – you see the other side of it if you walk along the banks at Whitlingham. Mother Swan has made her home within an even later bit of water, dug out during the height of the hire boat boom when many a Broads holiday started in Thorpe St Andrew. Hearts, Jenners and Wards were the big names here from the 1940s through – in part – to the 1990s. Now this vast basin within the island lies unused. Have a pint in the beer garden of the Town House pub to get a better view. Give or take an inquisitive canoeist with a camera, it should be a perfect place to bring up a young family.