Hear stories of land girls during the wars at walk around Redisham

Land girls employed on local farms during the war. Picture: Waveney and Blyth Arts.

Land girls employed on local farms during the war. Picture: Waveney and Blyth Arts. - Credit: Archant

As part of their programme of walks this summer, Waveney and Blyth Arts are organising a tour focusing on the land girls and conscientious objectors employed on local farms during the two world wars.

The walk will take place on Sunday, July 9, in the Redisham area, near Beccles.

The celebrated Suffolk author Adrian Bell, farmed at Redisham during the Second World War and in The Budding Morrow, and other writings refers to the land girls he employed to assist with farming employment when most men were engaged in combat abroad.

The walk, led by Ivan Crane, will be a short distance of two and a half miles from Redisham Hall to the church, where Netta Swallow will present readings from a volume of poems written by land girls and edited by Vita Sackville West.

One of the poems will be read by former Second World War Land Army veteran, Angela Ottaway. Local historian Christopher Reeve will talk about the two Bloomsbury conscientious objectors, Duncan Grant and Bunny Garnett, both friends of Vita Sackville West and employed on a farm at Wissett in 1916.

He will also read extracts from Adrian Bell's 1940s memoirs, which describe the problems of having to teach young women from urban backgrounds how to drive a tractor, milk a cow, and kill rats, and the problems their inexperience posed for him. In addition to the girls he also employed a conscientious objector, and two Italian prisoners-of-war, Toni and Carlo, and comments: 'As the POW's were due to work in the same field cutting the kale I guessed that fraternisation with the girls would hold up both their jobs.'

Following the readings, walkers will return to Redisham Hall to enjoy its open gardens day, with tea and cakes.

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The walk will run from 2pm to 5pm and anyone who would like to join in is asked to meet at Redisham Hall car park.

Tickets are £6 or £5 for Waveney and Blyth Arts members, and there is also a £4.50 charge per person for entrance to Redisham Hall gardens.

Booking is essential as places are limited. To book your place email bookings@waveneyandblytharts.com or call 07415168806.