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Remote Norfolk farmhouse is loved by the Queen and Prince Philip

PUBLISHED: 09:06 19 September 2020 | UPDATED: 13:25 19 September 2020

The entrance to Wood Farm, Wolferton. Picture: Ian Burt

The entrance to Wood Farm, Wolferton. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant © 2012

Tucked away down a winding tree-lined track behind the village church, it hardly seems palatial.

Wood Farm at Wolferton is a remote retreat for the Queen and Prince Philip  Picture: GoogleWood Farm at Wolferton is a remote retreat for the Queen and Prince Philip Picture: Google

But the remote farmhouse is a cosy pied-a-terre for the Queen when she wants some peace and quiet.

Wood Farm Cottage stands on the western edge of the 20,000 acre Royal Estate at Wolferton, near King’s Lynn.

The 94-year-old monarch and Prince Philip have travelled down from Balmoral, where they have spent the summer, and are expected to stay for a fortnight.

The house has been home to the 99-year-old Duke of Edinburgh since he retired from public life three years ago.

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh are spending time together at Wood Farm, at Wolferton  Picture: PA Archive/PA Images/Fiona HansonQueen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh are spending time together at Wood Farm, at Wolferton Picture: PA Archive/PA Images/Fiona Hanson

The brick-built, five-bedroom property has open fires and simple furnishings.

Overlooking reclaimed marshes and the shores of The Wash, Prince Philip is said to have spent much of his time there reading and entertaining friends.

The Duke also finds time to paint, with the dramatic skies and changing light across the estuary a perfect canvas.

The house is also close to some of his favourite shooting coverts, where wild pheasants which breed on the estate have been a favourite quarry of the royals for more than a century.

The oil painting  entitled The oil painting entitled "Mudflats at Wolferton" by the Duke of Edinburgh Picture: John Hocknell

With hunting parties granted an exemption to the so-called Rule of Six restricting gatherings, Prince Philip will be able to host shoots when the season gets under way on October 1.

While she does not normally shoot, the Queen helps out the pickers-up and breeds her own strain of black Labrador gun dogs at kennels nearby.

Wood Farm is just a short walk from part of the Royal Stud, where successive monarchs have raised thoroughbreds.

Friar Marcus Yard boasts a 40m oval horse walker, which enables up to 18 animals to be exercised by a single member of staff.

The former Royal Station at Wolferton that closed in 1969. Picture: Ian BurtThe former Royal Station at Wolferton that closed in 1969. Picture: Ian Burt

As well as checking on the progress of her young horses, the Queen will also be close to another of her passions at Wolferton.

For the monarch is also a keen pigeon fancier, with her 200-strong flock of racing birds kept in luxurious lofts near the village social club.

Built five years ago, the south-facing aviaries cater for the birds’ every need.

Up the hill from the cottage stands a former station steeped in history.

Wolferton village sign. Picture: Ian BurtWolferton village sign. Picture: Ian Burt

The Royal Station’s ornate waiting rooms once greeted visiting royalty and heads of state arriving at Sandringham on the King’s Lynn to Hunstanton line.

Now long defunct, the buildings have been preserved for posterity, unlike much of the once-thriving branch, which saw its last train in 1969.

When she catches the train to Norfolk these days, the Queen’s train terminates at Kings Lynn, from where she travels by car for the final 10 miles or so to Sandringham.

While the Queen is said to be determined to enjoy her usual Christmas break at Sandringham, it remains to be seen how it might be affected by restrictions on gatherings of more than six people - or whether the public will be allowed into the grounds to see her arrive at church.

The Queen pictured with gamekeeper Bill Meldrum  on a shoot at Wolferton in 1999  Picture: SubmittedThe Queen pictured with gamekeeper Bill Meldrum on a shoot at Wolferton in 1999 Picture: Submitted

Wolferton station pictured before its closure in 1969  Picture: ArchantWolferton station pictured before its closure in 1969 Picture: Archant


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