Skip to content

A new green bothy provides rest and refuge for the gardeners of Felbrigg Hall, Gardens and Estate

Exterior of new gardener's bothy at Felbrigg Hall
Exterior of new gardener's bothy at Felbrigg Hall, Norfolk | © National Trust Images/Rob Coleman

Coinciding with the arrival of spring, a new gardeners bothy has emerged in the Walled Garden work yard at Felbrigg Hall, Gardens and Estate in Norfolk.

The new bolthole matches the footprint of a second-hand portacabin which was the previous gardener’s hut, improving welfare facilities for staff and volunteers who care for the gardens at Felbrigg.

The enhanced building is an embodiment of sustainability with a host of environmentally friendly features, including blackened timber cladding, an air source heat pump and top-notch insulation. A living roof planted with sedums tops off the structure and compliments the textures and colours of the Walled Garden’s beautiful old flintwork and nearby Nuttery.

sedums grow on new gardeners bothy roof at Felbrigg Hall Norfolk
Sedums grow on new gardeners bothy roof at Felbrigg Hall Norfolk | © National Trust Images/Rob Coleman

Serviced with two landscaped ramps and a large accessible toilet, the new bothy is accessible for wheelchair users, which means it’s a welcoming and functional space for all. An electric vehicle charging point will be added to the work yard, in addition to the two public charging points and one for staff already on the estate.

The bothy provides shelter and a place for respite for the hard-working team of staff and volunteers who care for Felbrigg’s innovative and engaging gardens, which are full of sensory experiences and often chosen as a highlight by visitors. The space is also an inspiring environment to hatch plans for the gardens’ future, such as the reimagining of the Victorian-era Pleasure Ground behind the hall. A new ‘green walk’ will be developed over the coming years, containing five ornamental groves of evergreens and plantings better adapted to cope with drier summers.

Head Gardener, Tina Hammond Liew-Bedford, said:

“The new bothy is a wonderful facility for the existing team and those who join us in the future. With the growth of our volunteer numbers over the last 15 years, we had certainly outgrown the old portacabin and are thrilled to now have space for everyone. Fibre broadband is the cherry on top and a vast improvement to the dial-up speeds we were working with before.”

Garden volunteers are looking forward to using their light and bright haven on cold and wet days to warm up and dry out. The new bothy is an investment in the team’s welfare and a sign of appreciation for the fantastic work that it does.

The bothy project was brought to fruition by the National Trust’s building surveyor David Mizon, designed by Whitworths Architects and built by Bawburgh Installations Ltd. It was made possible thanks to a generous gift left in a will, specifically for use in the gardens – a lasting legacy to help look after a much-loved place.

In spring, the polytunnels and nursery at Felbrigg are buzzing with activity as the garden team sow seeds, prick out seedlings, grow cuttings and start to harden off young plants. Visitors to the Walled Garden can immerse themselves in blossom season with ‘little beauty’ tulips, ‘fragrant cloud’ and ‘great white’ cherry trees blooming in abundance. Fruit trees trained along the walls explode in a succession of frothy displays, starting with apricots and peaches in March, followed by the plums and pears in April and apples flowering in May.

Inside the new Gardeners bothy at Felbrigg Hall, Norfolk
Interior of new Gardener's bothy at Felbrigg Hall, Norfolk | © National Trust Images/Rob Coleman