Lengthy project restores moat of stately home to its former glory

Oxborough Hall. 
Pictures:Sonya Brown
Copy Oxborough Hall. Pictures:Sonya Brown Copy

Tuesday, March 4, 2014
8:36 AM

A project to restore the water levels that have helped to keep Oxburgh Hall, near Swaffham, standing for more than 500 years has been completed successfully in time for the new season.

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The house, completed in 1482, is surrounded by its original moat, which provides protection for the foundations.

During 2013 staff noticed that the water levels in the moat were dropping at noticeable levels.

The River Gadder, which feeds the moat, has lost water due to leaks in its man-made engineering structures in My Lady’s Wood, which have helped manage the water levels in the past.

The work, which took nearly three months, involved repairs to the river’s brick weir and sluice, and the removal of 1,000cu m of silt from the river bed.

It has also enabled the National Trust, which owns the Oxburgh estate, to partly restore My Lady’s Wood to more like its original
19th century design – including opening more breathtaking views of the hall.

The improvements have also provided a water-way for otters to visit Oxburgh, as well as a backdrop for stunning displays of snowdrops.

Helen Gregory, Oxburgh’s outdoors manager, said: “What a fantastic outcome.

“We now have a river full of water and not full of silt, with water flowing into the moat and maintaining higher water levels than we’ve ever had.”

Oxburgh Hall is now open, from Saturdays to Wednesdays, (seven days during school holidays) until November 2. See the website http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/oxburgh-hall for detailed opening information.

What’s your favourite Norfolk stately home and why? Write to EDP letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR 1 1RE giving your full name, address and contact details.

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