Volunteers help restore River Bure’s St Benet’s Abbey

The late september light at St Benet's Abbey. 
Photo: Simon Finlay The late september light at St Benet's Abbey. Photo: Simon Finlay

Tuesday, June 10, 2014
11:01 AM

Roughly 200 people have volunteered at a beloved abbey on the River Bure as the project to restore it comes to an end.

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St Benet's Abbey takes on a new temporary look as it is clad in scaffolding during the restoration work on behalf of the Norfolk Archeology Trust.
 Photo by Simon Finlay.St Benet's Abbey takes on a new temporary look as it is clad in scaffolding during the restoration work on behalf of the Norfolk Archeology Trust. Photo by Simon Finlay.

The Norfolk Archaeological Trust is reaching the conclusion of its two-year project to conserve the remains of St Benet’s Abbey in the heart of the Norfolk Broads.

The Heritage Lottery Fund granted money towards the Conservation, Access & Community Project 2012-2014, and enabled over 40 free workshops and day schools offered by the Norfolk Archaeological Trust, in addition to the repair works to the abbey itself.

The workshops explored all aspects of St Benet’s Abbey, encouraging and educating people on topics such as understanding historic landscapes, flint knapping, the architecture of monasteries, the life of monks, how to survey for butterflies and dragonflies, and recognising bird song.

Caroline Davison, project manager for the trust, said: “It was clear right from the start how much the abbey is loved and cherished by local people, as well as visitors.

“This was reflected in the number of volunteers who have dedicated time and effort to the project over the last two years.”

More than 300 people attended the free workshops with almost 200 of those deciding to carry out voluntary activities which included surveying historic graffiti, molehills and wildlife. This was in addition to clearing scrub, stewarding events and writing content for the website.

“We wanted to get people engaged and involved with Benet Abbey and monitor how we were managing the biodiversity of the site. This allows people to be involved in the future of St Benet’s Abbey.”

A private reception to celebrate the conclusion of the project with representatives of the main funders, the Heritage Lottery Fund and other guests, will take place on June 16.

Norwich-based group Voice Project, who performed at the abbey last year, will be singing with community choirs from around Ludham and Horning at Horning Church on June 17, starting at 8pm.

• The Friends of St Benet’s Abbey group will be launched on June 24 where people can join to volunteer or receive newsletters.

• Tickets are available online here.

• Are you involved in a heritage project? Email newsdesk@archant.co.uk



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