The Grounds

When we moved to The Old Rectory in 2005, we were determined to make it a nicer place to live not only for ourselves, but also for the local wildlife-sometimes we find this frustrating when they eat our flowers or vegetables, but also it brings our guest and us a great deal of interest and pleasure. So this is what we have done so far:-

The Traditional Orchard

In our first winter at The Old Rectory, we started planting an Orchard in our one acre field. Whilst not perhaps as well known as the West Country as an apple growing area, Norfolk and Suffolk have a long history of making cider or as it is called locally 'cyder', which is made using a mixture of cooking and eating apples. Our orchard consists of over 150 trees grown on MM106 rootstock which means that they will grow to approximetly 12 feet high making them fairly easy to pick. The orchard consists of apple, pear and plum trees – all of the apple varieties originate from Victorian times or earlier and many are local varieties such as St Edmund’s Russet. Lord Stradbroke, Norfolk Beefing and Adams Pearmain. We are growing the trees without the use of chemicals.

The Orchard now provides food and a home for wildlife as well as a source of fruit for our guests and us. 2017 will hopefully see our first batch of Old Rectory Cyder. During July, there is usually a good show of Bee Orchids & Pyramidal Orchids.

Our Wildlife Pond

In the Winter of 2009, we had a large wildlife pond dug – for once the fact that our soil is heavy clay played in to our hands as instead of the need for a pond liner, we were able to have it “puddled” - clay is the traditional and most eco friendly method of lining ponds. The clay was compacted on the inside of the empty pond to remove all the air spaces and to break down the structure. The pond is some 80 feet from side to side and has deep, shallow and boggy areas which we have planted so that it provides habitats, cover, food and perches for a wide range of creatures such as newts, dragonflies and house martins.

Hedges & Trees

As well as our orchard we have also planted a large number of Native trees – Oak, Silver Birch, Hazel, Ash, Beech and Hornbeam and Hedging such as Wild Cherry, Wild Pear, Blackthorn, Quickthorn and Field Maple . Much of the hedging has edible berries or fruit to provide the birds with food.

As well as the trees that we have planted we have also inherited some beautiful mature trees – Oak, Yew, Silver Birch and a magnificent 85 foot Horse Chestnut. We have under-planted these with bulbs such as Aconites and Snowdrops.


We are beginning to develop an area of the field as a wildflower area and in our field & orchard we try to follow a mowing programme that is sympathetic to plants & wildlife.

The native flowers & grasses in the field include Birds Foot Trefoil,Black Knapweed, Bladder Campion, Common Knapweed, Greater Knapwood, Black Meddick, Common Vetch, Cowslip, Field Scabious, Hemp Agrimony, Ladies Bedstraw, Meadow Buttercup, Musk Mallow, Ox-Eye Daisy, Ribwort Plantain, Red Campion, Wild Red Clover, Rough Hawkbit, Sainfoin, Self Heal, Small Scabious, Tufted Vetch, Red Campion, White Campion, Wild Carrot, Wild Marjoram, Yarrow, Yellow Rattle

As for Grasses-Meadow Fecue, Smooth Stalked Meadow Grass, Crested Dogstail, Sheeps Fescue, Red Fescue, Browntop Bentgrass, Hard Fescue, Chewings Fescue can all be found

What animals & birds might you see during your stay at The Old Rectory?

All of the following are seen quite often at The Old Rectory – A Barn Owl, Muntjac Deer, rabbits (in abundance!),Squirrels, and many birds including Thrushes, Blackbirds, Swallows, 2 types of Woodpecker, Swifts, House Martins, Robins, Treecreepers, Chaffinch, Rooks, Dunnocks, Tits, Finches, Pheasants & Buzzards.

Wild Rabbit Muntjac Deer Grey Squirrel Barn Owl Bulbs Robin in tree Tree Creeper
The Old Rectory,
Abbey Road,
NR35 1NL

Tel: 01986 893133

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