Mustard video: Can you help refurbish one of the last remaining wet boathouses on the Norfolk Broads?

Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden is launching £35k restoration project of old boathouse that dates back to 1880.
(Left to right) Truda Craig (correct) Gordon Craig,Lucie Ruddock, Alex Howe and Peter Howe. Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden is launching £35k restoration project of old boathouse that dates back to 1880. (Left to right) Truda Craig (correct) Gordon Craig,Lucie Ruddock, Alex Howe and Peter Howe.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014
3:19 PM

Sponsoring a sheaf of reed and sedge could save a 19th century boathouse on the banks of a Norfolk broad.

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Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden is launching £35k restoration project of old boathouse that dates back to 1880.Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden is launching £35k restoration project of old boathouse that dates back to 1880.

Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden in South Walsham is calling for help as it launches a public appeal to restore its 130-year-old thatched boathouse, one of the last remaining traditional wet boathouses on the Broads.

From the day Major Henry Broughton, later the 2nd Lord Fairhaven, purchased land on the South Walsham Estate in 1946, enthusiasts have worked tirelessly to transform the private woodland, water garden and inner broad into a green haven.

And today, staff and supporters of the Fairhaven Garden Trust unveiled plans for members of the public to continue Lord Fairhaven’s good work.

Visitors and friends can get involved by sponsoring a sheaf of local Ranworth reed, a sheaf of sedge, or a hazel brooch pin that will hold the refurbished boathouse together.

Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden was created by Major Henry Broughton. The hall, woodland, water garden and inner broad were all part of the South Walsham Estate, which he purchased in 1946.

The house and formal gardens had been used as a convalescent home and the woodland and water garden as a training ground for the home guard during the Second World War. Pleasure boats were sunk in the inner broad, which was also covered with barbed wire, to prevent flying boat landings. Tanks were hidden in the garden and some of the tank bays can be seen in the garden today. The house had fallen into disrepair and the garden had become a jungle.

Initially, efforts were concentrated on restoring the house. The family moved into South Walsham Hall in 1947. The second Lord Fairhaven was an active and enthusiastic gardener and designed the garden himself. He had a team of seven gardeners and two woodmen to assist him in clearing the dense jungle. He gradually introduced shade and water loving plants, the most spectacular being the candelabra primula.

Thousands of these colourful plants flower during May and early June. Other plants were imported from around the world, such as the skunk cabbage (Lysichiton Americanus) from North America and camellias and rhododendrons from the Himalayas.

It took 15 years to create the garden. Many of the trees were grown in a dedicated tree nursery and huge greenhouses meant that more than 90pc of the plants could be grown from seed.

In 1963 Major Broughton became the second Lord Fairhaven, receiving the title as his elder brother had no heirs. Lord Fairhaven died in 1973. He had requested that the garden be left in trust for the public to enjoy. The title of Lord Fairhaven passed on to his son Ailwyn, the 3rd Lord Fairhaven who is chairman of the Fairhaven Garden Trust. The garden opened to the public on April 18, 1975.

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Structural work on the building and thatching will cost £35,000. The trust, which opened the woodland and water garden to the public after the 2nd Lord Fairhaven’s death, has already raised £20,000 for the project, including a £4,000 donation from Geoffrey Watling Charity.

A further £15,000 is needed to complete the restoration.

In terms of material, Fairhaven needs 1,500 sheaves of reed and 100 sheaves of sedge to complete the roof, along with 2,000 pins; £7 will buy a sheaf of reed, £10 a sheaf of sedge and £1.75 a brooch pin.

“We have been planning the restoration of the boathouse for a number of years, gradually raising funds, but a recent structural survey has shown that we need to act soon to save the building,” said Louise Rout, garden manager.

“We will keep a record of all reed, sedge and brooch pin donations and are planning a Facebook gallery of donors with their sheaves.”

To sponsor a sheaf or pin, visit www.totalgiving.co.uk/mypage/fairhaven or call into Fairhaven on School Road, South Walsham.

For more information call 01603 270449 or visit www.fairhavengarden.co.uk.

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