South Walsham gardens to help special events to mark great storm of 1987

Ian Guest, Fairhaven Garden Head Gardener (far right), leading an autumnal guided tour. Picture: Jam

Ian Guest, Fairhaven Garden Head Gardener (far right), leading an autumnal guided tour. Picture: James Bass Photography - Credit: JAMES BASS PHOTOGRAPHY

It was a storm that killed dozens, ripped down countless trees and famously left weatherman Michael Fish red-faced.

The great oak. Picture: Fairhaven Garden

The great oak. Picture: Fairhaven Garden - Credit: JAMES BASS PHOTOGRAPHY

The Great Storm of 1987 ripped across this country on the night of October 15 and among its victims was Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden at South Walsham.

The storm felled 2000 trees, including more than 100 mature oak trees that had been planted in the 18th century.

George Debbage, who was head gardener at Fairhaven Garden in 1987, remembers the morning after the storm.

He said 'We couldn't find the paths.

Ranworth Walk Fairhaven Garden after the Great Storm. Picture: George Debbage

Ranworth Walk Fairhaven Garden after the Great Storm. Picture: George Debbage - Credit: JAMES BASS PHOTOGRAPHY


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'It was a different world. I thought, 'is Fairhaven finished – everything is destroyed'.

'Our instructions had been to protect and preserve the 2nd Lord Fairhaven's garden; that morning it was no longer there.

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The trees he loved were flattened.'

Fairhaven Garden is staging two events to mark the 30th anniversary of the Great Storm.

Head gardener, Ian Guest will lead a guided walk in the garden on Sunday, October 15 from 11am to 12.30pm.

Storming Changes will look at how the woodland has recovered and the garden has developed over the last 30 years.

The walk is included in garden entry: adult £6.75, concessions £6.15, child £3.85, under 5 free (free to Fairhaven members), no need to book.

Then on Monday, October 16, at 11am, there will be some Survivor's Surgery.

The King Oak, one of the oldest trees in Norfolk, survived the Great Storm, but needed surgery to secure its continuing good health.

Join Matt Jordan, head forester and his team, as they give the King Oak its annual health check and 'haircut'.

The foresters will be demonstrating their tree surgery skills and explaining how they look after the woods. The King Oak is believed to be more than 950 years old and was a sapling at the time of the Battle of Hastings. The tree surgery event is also included in the garden entry charge.

There is wheelchair access throughout the garden. Visitors requiring special facilities are advised to telephone in advance, mobility scooters available.

Dogs are welcome on leads; small charge to cover poop scoop

For further information on the events and the attraction call 01603 270449 or visit www.fairhavengarden.co.uk

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