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Things to do at Horsey Windpump

View of Horsey Windpump, Norfolk
View of Horsey Windpump | © National Trust Images/Justin Minns

Recently restored, Horsey Windpump is the youngest and largest windpump to be found in the Norfolk Broads. For those that make it to the top, you will be rewarded with some of the most spectacular views in the area.

Climb the Windpump

Journey through the history of Horsey Windpump as you climb the stairs through the five floors of this Grade II-listed building. As part of the restoration project we've installed a new interpretation, bringing its dramatic story to life.

There are 61 steps to climb to the top of the building. These are quite steep, but most people are able to climb them.

Coming down backwards is sometimes easier but we recommend you come down whichever way you find most comfortable – just take your time.

Take in the panoramic views

The last set of steps up to the cap floor gives access out onto the fanstage and these are the most narrow and steep. You'll find a team member here to give advice.

Don't worry if you don't feel you can make it to the top, though, as the views are pretty special out of the windows on all the floors and there's a guidebook and video on the ground floor.

We advise you to wear sensible footwear if you're attempting to climb and to know your own limitations.

Visitors climbing to the top of the Windpump do so at their own risk.

Please note: dogs are not allowed inside the Windpump. Assistance dogs have access to all areas.

Planted flower borders at Horsey Windpump, Norfolk
Colourful flower borders at Horsey Windpump | © National Trust Images / Justin Minns

Explore the wildlife garden

When you visit Horsey Windpump you can also enjoy the wildlife sensory garden and orchard. They've both been designed to be wildlife friendly, with plants that attract bees and butterflies.

The garden and orchard at Horsey Windpump were first designed back in 2006 as part of the BBC ‘Breathing Spaces’ project.

Seasonal colour

In summer, the garden comes to life with bursts of colour. Look for the vivid purple loosestrife, the dainty yellow of alchemilla and the vibrant magenta of lychnis coronaria. In winter, there are hellebores and colourful cornus stems.

Architectural plants such as teasels and cardoons give height and seed heads, various grasses rustle in the breeze and honeysuckle and jasmine weave their way through trelliswork. The variety of flowers attracts a range of insects, in particular the swallowtail butterfly.

Swallowtail butterfly in flight, Norfolk Broads, Norfolk
Swallowtail butterfly in flight | © National Trust Images/Rob Coleman

Look out for the swallowtail butterfly

The swallowtail butterfly (Papilio machaon britannicus) is the UK's largest native butterfly but also our rarest, currently only found in the Norfolk Broads.

Its rare status is mainly due to the fact it lays its eggs on milk parsley, which is also rare and restricted to this area of Norfolk. Milk parsley is the sole food plant of swallowtail caterpillars and, since fenland management mostly ceased after the Second World War, much of this habitat has been lost.

But the future of the swallowtail is looking brighter, as annual or rotational conservation cutting of reed and sedge in the Norfolk Broads is now allowing other plants, such as milk parsley, to flourish.

When to look for swallowtails

The adult butterflies emerge from late May to mid-July and you'll have the best chance of seeing them on warm, still days. There's sometimes a second brood from mid-August to September. Look out for swallowtails feeding on the flowers in the wildlife garden here at Horsey Windpump.

Take to the water with Ross' Wildlife Boat Trips

Discover the 'hidden' Norfolk Broads on a wildlife boat tour from the staithe at Horsey Windpump. Ross' Wildlife Boat Trips offers an informal and relaxing boat ride across Horsey Mere on the wooden pleasure boat, Lady Ann. You'll have the chance to see the wildlife that inhabits this corner of Norfolk, including marsh harriers, swallowtail butterflies, bitterns, cranes and kingfishers.

Boat trips run from 22 April to 30 September. The Lady Ann can carry up to 12 passengers and well behaved dogs are welcome. Wheelchair access is available. Advance booking is essential. For more information and to book, please call or text Ross on 07791 526440.

Please note: this activity is not organised by or licensed through the National Trust; please contact Ross directly with any queries or concerns.

View of Horsey Windpump and its reflection in the water, Norfolk. The windpump was built in 1912 and is now a grade two listed building.

Discover more at Horsey Windpump

Find out when Horsey Windpump is open, how to get here, the things to see and do and more.

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