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Watton (Loch Neaton) Lawn And Short Mat Bowls Club


Bowls is the oldest documented sporting activity in Watton when a visitor to the town in 1681 recorded that 'there is a fine new bowling green at the George Hotel'. It was common in those days for bowling greens to be located alongside or behind public houses and hotels.

When the Loch Neaton Pleasure Grounds were created in 1892, a bowling green was incorporated in the layout and games were played between townsmen from that time. It was not until the 3rd April 1900 that the Loch Neaton Bowls Club was officially formed. We are often asked how come we have a 'Loch' in the middle of Norfolk? When the Watton to Swaffham railway was built in 1875, an embankment was constructed to take the line over low laying land in the hamlet of Neaton. The soil for the embankment was dug from two pits one of which  filled with water. This pit was subsequently turned into a lake for boating, swimming and fishing and called 'Loch Neaton'.The bowls green , complete with bandstand, was located on a piece of land overlooking the Loch. The Loch Neaton Bowls Club thrived for many years at this location , winning many league and knockout competitions. The Loch still exists as a local beauty spot.

In August 1968 plans were made for a new  Sports Centre for the town on land adjoining the Loch Neaton site, it was opened in 1974. In 1980 it was decided by the members of the bowls club that a new full size new bowls green with  clubroom was required. Money for the new green was raised by the members and it was opened in 1982 as part of the Phase 4 developemnt of the Centre. The Loch Neaton Bowls Club was disbanded and the Watton Town Bowls Club formed with most of the members transferring to the new club. In 1995 it was decided that , because of its history, the club should be renamed 'Watton(Loch Neaton) Bowls Club'. 

The Club badge depicts a tree underneath which are seated a girl and a boy, this represents the legend of 'The Babes in The Wood' which is said to have taken place in the nearby Wayland Wood.