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Our Garden History

Fairhaven was created by Major Henry Broughton, who later became 2nd Lord Fairhaven. The hall, woodland, water garden and inner broad were all part of the South Walsham Estate, which he purchased in 1946.

The house and formal gardens had been used as a convalescence home and the woodland and water garden as a training ground for the Home Guard during World War ll. Pleasure boats were sunk in the inner broad, which was also covered with barbed wire, to prevent flying boat landings. Tanks were hidden in the garden; some of the tank bays can be seen in the garden today. The house had fallen into disrepair and the garden had become a jungle.

Initially efforts were concentrated on restoring the house. The family moved into South Walsham Hall in 1947. Major Broughton was an active and enthusiastic gardener and designed the garden himself. He had a team of seven gardeners and two woodmen to assist him in clearing the dense jungle that had grown up in what is now the main garden. He gradually introduced shade and water loving plants, the most spectacular being Candelabra Primula. Thousands of these colourful plants flower during May and early June. Other plants were imported from around the world, such as the Skunk Cabbage (Lysichiton Americanus) from North America and Camellias and Rhododendrons from the Himalayas. It took 15 years to create the garden. Many of the trees were grown in a dedicated tree nursery and huge greenhouses meant that more than 90% of the plants could be grown from seed.

In 1966 Major Broughton's elder brother Huttleston, the first Lord Fairhaven, who lived at Anglesey Abbey, Cambridgeshire, died leaving no heirs, so the title transferred to Henry making him 2nd Lord Fairhaven. Upon his death in 1973 and following Henry’s wishes, the garden became a Trust so that it could  be open for the public to enjoy. The title of Lord Fairhaven passed onto his son Ailwyn, now 3rd Lord Fairhaven.  George Debbage, the Head Gardener became Manager of the Fairhaven Garden Trust which was opened to the public on 18th April 1975.


Since 2007 the garden has been managed by Louise Rout.


The family are still very much involved with the Trust and our board of Trustees is now chaired by Melanie Broughton, granddaughter to our creator, the 2nd Lord Fairhaven and younger daughter of the current Lord Fairhaven. Melanie's eldest brother James, and sister-in-law Angela are also members of the board and her elder sister Diana is Secretary to the Trust.

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