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English Heritage published a survey of gardens in Norfolk of outstanding interest. This draws on the research done by local volunteers and was collated by the Centre for East Anglian Studies at the University of East Anglia. Although the major garden sites in the county are well documented, sadly many of the smaller and less celebrated gardens have still not been researched. Norfolk Gardens Trust is committed to carrying this out, and has an ongoing programme of research.

In 1997/8 the Trust commissioned surveys into the town gardens and public open spaces in 19 Norfolk towns. Attleborough, Aylsham, Cromer, Diss, Downham Market, East Dereham, Fakenham, Great Yarmouth, Hingham, Holt, Kings Lynn, New & Old Hunstanton, North Walsham, Norwich, Sheringham, Swaffham, Thetford, Watton, and Wymondham were included. There is also a separate survey on Wymondham Cemetery. The surveys now form an essential reference for planning applications, and in the drawing up of local plans.

One of the outcomes of the surveys was to highlight the importance of The Walks at Kings Lynn. This is one of the earliest specially created areas for public promenading in the country. It has led to it being placed on the English Heritage Register of Parks and Gardens.

Copies of all the Trust’s surveys have been lodged with Gressenhall Museum of Norfolk Life, and also with the Norfolk Studies Library, The Forum, Millenium Plain, Norwich.

The Norfolk Gardens Trust has published a comprehensive work ‘Norfolk’s Gardens and Designed Landscapes’ documenting the history, evolution, architecture, horticulture and design of Norfolk gardens. The research was done utilising both volunteers from the Trust and working with the University of East Anglia. This critically acclaimed book incorporates details of 330 gardens and landscapes and includes over 300 photographs. The book was successfully launched in November 2013 and to date has sold over 2,000 copies, in October 2017 it was re-printed in paperback. The book was co-authored and edited by NGT Committee member Roger Last.

Copies of the book can be obtained from major local bookstores such as Jarrolds and via Amazon.

The Trust has a major new project, assembling a Visual Archive of Norfolk Gardens and Designed Landscapes. There is already a substantial body of illustrative garden material for example in the Norfolk Record Office. However we believe that there could be many further examples in private hands that would be invaluable as historical sources. For further information please email the Honorary Secretary Roger Lloyd.

Vice Chairman Sally Bate co-ordinates our research group made up of NGT members whose investigations, since 2013, has resulted in two books on the work of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown and Humphry Repton in Norfolk.

For their first book, Capability Brown in Norfolk, published on 30th August 2016 (300th birthday of Brown), the group spent two and a half years visiting the three privately owned Brown parks in Norfolk – Kimberley, Langley and Melton Constable – recording, measuring and evaluating the landscape and associated features, architecture and planting, with the help of Professor Tom Williamson of the UEA. Public and private archives were searched and many plans, documents and works of art were photographed and are reproduced in print for the first time.

Buoyed up by the success of this book, the research group’s attention turned to self-confessed Norfolk man, Humphry Repton. They studied 23 sites in Norfolk with links to, or commissions by, Repton, along with other parks and gardens being developed by his competitors in the same period (Loudon, Haverfield and the Kennedys). Their findings and conclusions were published in May 2018 to coincide with the national Repton 200 festival. Humphry Repton in Norfolk features all the images from this county’s seven Repton Red Books, and accompanies the many other Repton paintings and sketches, that are included amongst the 305 illustrations.

Details of how to obtain these books can be found on our Publications Page.

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