Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden
Published date: June 2020
This award-winning organic garden is open to the public all year round and is located in South Walsham in Norfolk, nine miles east of Norwich. Its 130 acres of cultivated, wild and natural plantings are a haven for wildlife and wildlife enthusiasts and is between Wroxham and Acle in the heart of the Norfolk Broads.
Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden has just under 4 miles of woodland pathways to explore and is home to over 95 species of birds, many of which are rare and only found in the broads, so be sure to bring your binoculars. Visitors can experience stunning views over their private broad and take a boat trip to see the area from a unique and beautiful viewpoint.
Each season at Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden has its own highlights. Springtime brings an abundance of colour, with carpets of wild primroses, camellias, daffodils, skunk cabbage and butterbur followed by spectacular displays of sweet-scented bluebells, candelabra primula, azaleas and rhododendrons. Summer is the perfect time to watch dragonflies, damselflies and butterflies that are attracted to the wildflowers, such as purple loosestrife, orange balsam, water mint and hemp agrimony. Autumn sees the last burst of colour, the once green leaves taking on fiery shades and bursts of red and purple berries and shiny acorns and nuts attracting squirrels and thrushes. Great drifts of fallen leaves camouflage weird and wonderful fungi keen to make their appearance. Wintertime is the ideal season for bird watching, with many trees having shed their leaves. Take in the idyllic views across the broad and maybe catch a glimpse of the elusive otter.
Throughout the year Fairhaven hosts a full and varied programme of events that is sure to appeal to everyone. Previous events have included bluebell guided walks, Mother’s Day treats, wildlife canoe trails, evening boat cruises, picnic and paddle events, bat nights, Sunday afternoon music and den building challenges.
Visitors to Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden can book a boat trip on their private broad. These run daily, weather permitting, generally from Mothering Sunday until the first weekend in November. The 20-minute trip around the broad is perfect for younger visitors or a relaxing 50-minute cruise can be booked and is the perfect opportunity for wildlife watching. It is not unusual to spot a variety of interesting birds and mammals including kingfishers, great crested grebes, swans, heron, water voles and maybe even otters.
Fairhaven’s tearoom, plant sales and gift shop are open to all, even if you don’t have time to visit the gardens and are approached either with level access or by wheelchair friendly ramps. Find a great range of plants, especially for those dark and boggy areas of your garden, that have been grown in their nursery or by local suppliers. The tearoom is open all year and entry is free and non-garden visitors are very welcome. Renowned for their delicious ‘Great Norfolk’ breakfast, they also serve a selection of light lunches and homemade specials. Their summer specialty of homemade scones served with jam and fresh cream are a popular choice. The gift shop stocks a wide selection of cards, books, jewellery and unusual gifts, many of which are produced locally.
There are four mobility scooters and two wheelchairs available at Fairhaven and booking in advance is recommended.
To find out more about Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden, including admission costs, opening times and special events, please go to their website.