Visit the Wildlife Garden

a photo of the wildlife sensory garden in the sun,blue sky with a few fluffy white clouds in the background. A mix of purple, yellow and white flowers are in bloom

Visitors to Horsey Windpump can also enjoy the wildlife sensory garden and orchard, both of which have been designed to be wildlife friendly, with plants that attract bees and butterflies. Both areas are perfect for a moment's sit, a picnic or to watch the world go by.

The delightful garden and orchard at Horsey Windpump were first designed back in 2006 as part of the BBC ‘Breathing Spaces’ project. In 2008, following a successful Lottery grant, National Trust staff worked together with members of the Norfolk National Trust Volunteers (NNTV), and local children to create not only a wildlife and sensory garden to attract bees and butterflies but also an orchard planted with wildflowers.

The garden initially comprised four flower beds and two raised ponds and plants were carefully chosen for their ability to attract wildlife.  The orchard was planted with wildflowers and ten apple trees which are all Norfolk varieties.

Over the years, the planting has changed a little and continues to do so as some plants die off and are replaced though not always with the same plants. In the summer months, the garden really comes to life with bursts of colour from the vivid purple loosestrife to the dainty yellow of alchemilla and the vibrant magenta of lychnis coronaria. There are architectural plants such as teasels and cardoons which give height and wonderful seed heads, various grasses which rustle in the breeze and honeysuckle and jasmine which weave their way through trelliswork. In the winter months, there are hellebores and colourful cornus stems to give interest. The variety of flowers attracts a variety of insects, in particular the swallowtail butterfly.

A Swallowtail Butterfly feeding on Red Valerian in the Horsey Windpump Wildlife Garden
a yellow and black swallowtail butterfly feeding on a purple flower
A Swallowtail Butterfly feeding on Red Valerian in the Horsey Windpump Wildlife Garden

Sadly, one of the ponds has had to be dismantled and a new flower bed has been created in its place. The remaining pond, however, is full of plants and water creatures. 

The garden and orchard continue to be maintained by volunteers and National Trust rangers and over the years have been enjoyed by many visitors for whom it has been an added bonus when visiting Horsey Windpump.

Plants growing in the garden include:

Alchemilla mollis (lady’s mantle)
Geranium (various)
Grasses (various)
Hesperis matronalis (Dame’s violet/sweet rocket)
Honey spurge
Lemon balm
Lythrum saucaria (purple loosestrife)
Ox-eye daisy
Stachys (lamb’s ear)

Apple tree varieties:

Happisburgh (dessert apple)
Norfolk Beauty (culinary apple)
Norfolk Royal (dessert apple)
Winter Breedon (?)
Norfolk Green Roland (?)
Admiral (dessert apple)
Jordan’s Weeping (dessert apple)