How to enjoy some of Norfolk’s most beautiful gardens

West Lodge, Aylsham: The first of nine gardens to open for St Johnh Ambulance in Norfolk this year.

West Lodge, Aylsham: The first of nine gardens to open for St Johnh Ambulance in Norfolk this year. - Credit: Archant

Some of Norfolk's loveliest gardens will be opening their gates in 2017 to help local St John Ambulance vcolunteers.

Part of the gardens at Besthorpe Hall, Attleborough.

Part of the gardens at Besthorpe Hall, Attleborough. - Credit: Archant

Some of Norfolk's most beautiful gardens will once again be opening to raise funds for the county's St John Ambulance team.

Part of the garden at Manor Farm, Coston.

Part of the garden at Manor Farm, Coston. - Credit: Archant

This year's open gardens programme – which has been running since 1996 – will begin on Sunday April 9 with West Lodge at Aylsham. The Georgian property, which is in Rawlinson Lane, has nine acres of lovely gardens to explore and will be open from noon-4.30pm (admission £4, dogs on leads).

It is one of nine gardens which will be opening for the charity this year. Others include: Manor Farm, Coston, Barnham Broom (NR9 4DT, April 23); The Old Rectory, Whissonsett (NR20 5TF, May 14); Stody Lodge, Melton Constable (NR24 2EW, May 29); Thorpland Hall, Fakenham (NR21 0HD, June 11); Hoe Hall, Hoe, near Dereham (NR20 4BD, June 18); Besthorpe Hall, Attleborough (NR17 2LJ, July 9), Chestnut Farm, West Beckham, Holt (NR25 6NX, August 6); and The Old Rectory, Morley St Botolph (NR18 9DB, September 3).

Georgina Holloway, County President, said: 'We are so grateful to the owners of the lovely gardens who allow them to be opened, as well as those who pay to visit them, and the money we raise is vital to St John Ambulance. Over the years they have raised thousands of pounds for the charity.'


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Proceeds from this year's open gardens will help with the conversion of a decommissioned ambulance to a logistics vehicle to support the delivery of event first aid across the county.

In addition, each unit covering the first aid duty, providing teas and volunteers on the day keeps some of the proceeds for their own use. Every other year the money goes to help support Marlene Katanasho, the 'Norfolk Nurse' at the St John Eye Hospital in Jerusalem.

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'There are about 800 adult and cadet St John volunteers in Norfolk, fully qualified to provide public first aid covering events such as Cromer Carnival, King's Lynn Festival, Thursford Spectacular and Sandringham Flower Show as well as many fetes, riding events and local shows,' Mrs Holloway added.

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