Hindringham Hall Gardens & Tea Room
The moat dates form 1200 and is one of only a handful of complete moats in Norfolk. It originally enclosed a number of wooden medieval buildings and a community working for the Prior of Norwich to produce fish from the adjacent fish ponds. The outlines of the medieval fish ponds can still be seen. The moat still contains carp and eels. The moat is crossed by a brick and stone bridge to the south and a wooden bridge to the north. In the 18th century there was an earth causeway instead of the wooden bridge and the tunnel which had been under the earth to permit the free flow of water can still be seen. The moat is mainly revetted on the inner walls and partially revetted on the outer walls. It has a natural white clay base and is mainly fed by springs, but a system of sluice gates in the south east corner permits the topping up of the moat from the river Stiffkey in hot weather.
The south east wing dates from the 15th century (Henry VII) and the remainder is Elizabethan (16th century). It is virtually unchanged from when it was enlarged by Martin Hastings in 1562. It remained in the ownership of the Church until 1880 being let on long leases together with many acres comprising the manor to gentlemen farmers. By 1880 it was virtually derelict due to the slump in farming and in multiple occupations by farm labourers. It was then acquired by Gerard Gosselin whose arms appear above the 15th century front door. Gerard Gosselin repaired the house over a period of 15 years and his widow lived there until 1947. The outlines of external projecting medieval garderobes can still be seen at first floor level at the back of the house. The entrance porch is built from stone taken from Binham Abbey after its dissolution by Henry VIII. The rest of the construction is of medieval brick and flint. The stepped gables show the Flemish influence.
A guided tour of the house and its history is available to parties of 20 or more by prior arrangement.
The gardens lie within and without the moat. Entrance to the gardens is from the paddock to the east of the moat. All are welcome but most of the paths are of pea shingle and unsuitable for navigation by wheelchairs. This is a working garden supplying fruit and vegetables for the house. All the paths are edged with box and at the centre there is an herb parterre. This organic garden is on a southerly slope to maximise production and abuts the moat. Vegetables include artichokes, asparagus, beans, carrots, parsnips, peas, spinach, salsify, beetroot, potatoes, onions, sweetcorn, lettuce, radish and rocket. Herbs include rosemary, thyme, sage, marjoram, mint, chives and angelica. Fruit includes apples, pears, plums, cherries, grapes, blackcurrants, redcurrants, blackberries, jostaberries, teyberries, raspberries and figs. Some fresh produce is available for sale when in season.
The Victorian Greenhouse is a working greenhouse where cuttings and seeds are propagated. It also contains several varieties of tomatoes to produce fruits from August to November. Please enter if you wish. Continue alongside the moat to the Iris and Delphinium Walk. The bearded irises ate at their best in May. The Delphiniums are at their best in June and July. This leads to the Copse. This comprises mainly chestnut, evergreen oak and hornbeam. In spring it is a mass of snowdrops; from May a mass of bluebells. In autumn the base of the chestnuts are alive with cyclamen.
From the copse turn left alongside the moat into the Daffodil area. As its shape suggests this is actually a roadway between the moat and medieval fish ponds whose outlines can be seen through the gap in the hedge. It was here that the carp and eel were loaded into carts for the Prior's table ion Norwich or Binham. Today it is an unbroken mass of 32 verities of daffodil (best seen in April), followed by a white carpet of cow parsley. Note also the beautiful views of the house. At the end of the daffodil area is the bog area. Tread carefully if you venture onto the wooden walkway into the reeds beside the weeping willow. Note the giant gunnera manicata, the yellow water iris and the water lilies.
This leads to the water garden. This lies alongside the northern bank of the moat and is bisected by a stream - one of the upper reaches of the Stiffkey River. It is mainly planted with primula, hellebores, hosta and day lilies. At their best in May, June and July. Take your choice of cool meandering paths. Note also the orange water trickling from a spring rich in iron and the strange lump of medieval brickwork thought to be the remains of a Mill.
The water garden leads to the bridge over the moat. Cross the brick and stone bridge to the inside of the moat and the house. The house is covered with Wisteria followed by a succession of climbing roses.
The West Lawn is bounded on 3 sides with formal herbaceous borders giving a mass of colour from April to September. A path alongside the moat is screened by a pergola of scented roses and clematis. The Victorian nutwalk becomes a dark and cool tunnel from July to September.
The Wild garden is best in April and May when it is a mass of primroses, daffodils, wild geranium, anenomes and lucojum (like giant snowdrops) beside the moat. Help yourself to the dark red fruits of the Mulberry tree in August.
Along the gravel drive is a pergola planted with climbing roses and clematis. Bounding the moat is a carpet of daffodils followed by colchiums (autumn crocus) in August.
Coffee and tea is available from 11-4pm in a paved courtyard on the east side of the house.
All plants for sale at the entrance gate have been propagated from the plants you have seen in the garden.
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VenueHindringham Hall Gardens & Tea Room
Hindringham, Norfolk, NR21 0QA
Map reference: TF 978366 Lat: 52.89045 Long: 0.93878
Parking : free