In Roman times, Acle was a port at the head of a large estuary named Gariensis. Acle is mentioned in the Domesday Book, and in 1253 it was granted a market charter. The livestock and local farmers’ market persisted into the 1970s, as did a nearby auction site; the latter is now a new housing estate and the former is part-occupied by a branch of Budgens, with the other part remaining a market, although essentially for tourist purposes: no livestock is now bought or sold there.
The Acle Straight is a turnpike road connecting Acle to Great Yarmouth. It opened in 1831. Acle railway station, which was built in 1883, lies on the Wherry Line from Norwich to Great Yarmouth. In 1892 a foundry was constructed that specialised in building windpumps for land drainage, including the very last windpump built for the Broads, at Ash Tree Farm. The three-mile (5 km) £7.1m dual-carriageway A47 bypass opened in March 1989; local campaigners are still pressing for the dualling of the Acle Straight, the portion of the A47 running from Acle to Great Yarmouth, which has a relatively high accident rate.
Since the turn of the century, a walkway running from the station to the Boat Dyke has been constructed by local volunteers; this walk (known as Damgate) offers an opportunity to view indigenous flora, some of which are rare. Also on the Damgate walk, there have been repeated sightings of a kingfisher, locally known as Henry, which is said to fly under the abandoned railway bridge around mid afternoon.