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Fairhaven Woodland

and Water Gardens

May 2018


Ian Guest


Fairhaven is located in the Norfolk Broads and covers an area of about 130 acres, accessed by nearly 4 miles of pathways. The Head Gardener, Ian Guest, gave us an informative guided tour.



The gardens now occupy what was once ancient woodland, mentioned in The Doomsday Book. At around that time most of this woodland would have been coppiced to provide timber, but as this particular area had been reserved for hunting by, among others, Henry VIII, some trees survive untouched. Two magnificent trees, the King and Queen Oaks, are about 950 years old. There are many water-filled dykes, dug in the 1200s to provide access for hunting. Boardwalks provide access to those wetter areas. The garden lost many trees in the storm of 1987. Some areas were replanted while others were left clear for picnics and more formal functions.



Major Henry Broughton, who later became the 2nd Lord Fairhaven, created the garden. His title and the name of the garden come from Fairhaven, Massachusetts where Henry’s father, Urban Hanlon Broughton met and married his mother, Cara Rogers. In 1963 Henry became 2nd Lord Fairhaven as his elder brother left no heirs. He died in 1973 requesting the garden be left in trust. The current 3rd Lord Fairhaven, Ailwyn, is chairman of the Fairhaven Garden Trust. The garden was opened to the public in 1975.



The area is tidal with a winter range of about 18 inches and parts of the boardwalk have had to be raised to provide better access for visitors. The tide has also affected the Candelabra Primula by washing away the nutrients. To combat this there is an ongoing strategy of creating raised beds to keep the plants permanently above the water. The autumn leaf fall is collected, processed and provides fertilizer for the cultivated areas. All weed control is by hand without the use of any chemicals.


As is customary at these gatherings, the visit was rounded off by depleting the cafeteria of its excellent selection of cakes and beverages.

Our next meeting is on Wednesday 13th June to Humbleyard Vineyard, Norwich Road, Mulbarton, NR14 8JT. Leave Hockham village green at 13:00.























Page Last Updated - 24/05/2018
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