Best View In Broads Gets Even Better
May 13th, 2019
It has often been claimed that the view from How Hill is the best in the Norfolk Broads.The house sits at the summit of a mighty hill (rising some 16m above sea level) with views out over the river Ant, marshes, woods, meadows and windmills.
But an even loftier viewpoint is afforded from the scaffolding which currently wraps around the north side of the house. Thatcher Mick Aldred last replaced the sedge ridge on the thatched roof twenty years ago, and now he’s back to do it again. He says this is the highest roof he has ever worked on, and on a fine day “it’s like heaven up there.” With binoculars it is even possible to see the spire of Norwich Cathedral, nearly eleven miles away.
Mick’s dad and brother are also thatchers. Once when they were cutting reed on the marsh beyond Turf Fen Mill their reed cutting machine fell into a hole. They later heard that the hole is one of several craters made by bombs dropped during the second world war.
The locally grown sedge, secured with a lattice of brotches (short lengths of split hazel wood) is only expected to last around twenty years, whereas the reed which makes up the majority of the roof lasts much longer – in this case sixty years and counting. By the time the work is finished in July the scaffolding will have been erected in three different positions and over nine hundred bunches of sedge will have been used.Read More
New Year, New Sofas
January 8th, 2019
Thanks to funds donated by the Friends of How Hill we have started 2019 with some brand spanking new leather sofas in the Sun Room. The old sofas had served us well for many years. Originally donated from various sources, and not the smartest furniture in the first place, they were starting to look decidedly shabby. That’s when the Friends came to the rescue. We now have five smart new leather sofas, two pleasingly chunky new coffee tables and seven lovely new cushions with Robert Gilmore nature prints.
Slowly but surely we are working our way around the house; repainting, renewing and updating as we go. Come and visit us this year and see what we’ve been up to…Read More
Polecat Found In The Garden!
November 27th, 2018
Everybody was surprised and delighted yesterday when Chris The Gardener found an unexpected animal in one of his live rabbit traps. It was the unusual smell which first alerted him as he approached the trap, which was in the corner of the walled garden in front of How Hill house. Closer inspection revealed an extremely cute and incredibly stinky European polecat – what a catch! The polecat was understandably quite jumpy and keen to be on its way so it was immediately released back into the garden. Chris hopes that it will help to keep the rabbit numbers down, many of which rudely ignore the rabbit-proof-fence which surrounds the How Hill gardens.
Polecats were once common in the area but were almost wiped out by hunting because of their appetite for chickens and game birds. This is the first confirmed sighting of a polecat at How Hill for many years, although during the summer one school’s nocturnal camera traps did capture footage of a ‘mystery animal’ which now seems likely to have been a polecat. It is believed that polecats first returned to the Thetford area of Norfolk in 2010, and they have been slowly extending their range ever since.Read More
Friends of How Hill Craft Fair – A Great Success
October 29th, 2018
Last Wednesday the Friends of How Hill (the brilliant band of volunteers who support the charity) put on another excellent craft fair, which raised a triumphant £2254.26 for the How Hill Trust. Once again it was a lovely sunny day and several hundred visitors came to browse the varied craft stalls, enjoy the demonstrations and treat themselves to homemade soup and cakes. The crafts on display included metalwork, weaving, spinning, stained glass, stencilled and painted artwork, beading, all sorts of exciting jewellery, wickerwork, wood turning, quilting, pottery and many more. As it was a day at work for me I didn’t intend to buy anything…but the pull of the stalls was too strong to resist! I came away with ten wool and felt jellyfish/octopus Christmas tree decorations, a dress made from upcycled tablecloths, several pounds of Ivor’s legendary raspberry jam and four giant leeks!
Thank you to all the Friends who helped out, especially Chief Organiser Bella. You did a grand job.Read More
Hathor Sails Home For The Winter
October 18th, 2018
Wherry Hathor has had a busy summer moored down at the staithe, where she has welcomed over eight thousand visitors on board. It is lovely having Hathor at How Hill. She makes the riverside even more picturesque than usual, and even from the house her mast and Jenny Morgan (wind vane) can be seen poking up above the trees. Hathor’s skipper Peter Bower becomes an honorary member of the How Hill team and can be found most mornings drinking coffee in the office with Sam the dog at his feet. But like the swallows which circle over Fisherman’s Field, Peter and Hathor are seasonal visitors. On a quiet Saturday in late September she sailed off down the river and back to her permanent moorings at Wherry Yacht Charter’s base in Wroxham.
It takes a lot of work to keep a historic boat like Hathor afloat and this winter she will be pulled out of the water for some essential maintenance. A team will clean the hull and scrape off the zebra mussels which have attached themselves. Any decayed planks will be replaced and then the whole boat will be prepared and treated with fresh coats of paint, varnish or linseed oil. Luckily Wherry Yacht Charter have a fantastic team of volunteers who seem to revel with sandpaper in hand!
Hathor will return to How Hill next May – September when she will be open for public viewing, chartered sailings and school visits.
Pleasure Wherry Hathor Returns to How Hill
May 10th, 2018
The beautiful Edwardian pleasure wherry will spend the summer moored up at How Hill staithe, where she will be open to the public for much of the time. Hathor (pronounced “heart-or”) was built in 1905 in Reedham. She was designed by Edward Boardman, who also designed and lived in How Hill house.
Hathor is now owned and maintained by Wherry Yacht Charter. For more detailed information about her history please visit their website.
If you enjoy Hathor then you would love Ardea – the largest and most magnificent wherry ever built! This August the How Hill Trust is running a unique holiday break. Stay at How Hill house and sail on board Ardea from Wroxham to Norwich stopping at How Hill, Womack, Great Yarmouth, Cantley and Brundall. Full details here.
Spring Cleaning Fever Hits How Hill
April 5th, 2018
It all started when we decided to repaint the office. How Hill is a busy organisation and the office is a place for planning, eating, working, filing, storing equipment and collecting craft materials. The walls showed at least three different colours and bore the scars of many past fixtures and fittings. Over two hectic days the office was transformed in a frenzy of ruthless de-cluttering, filing, sanding and painting and it is now a serene haven of organisation and productivity. Well, it is at least all the same colour.Read More
2018 Events Programme Out Now
January 19th, 2018
There are so many fantastic public events happening at How Hill this year. Download a printable version of our events brochure here or visit our events pages to find out more, check availability and view pictures.
Beware! Some events sell out extremely quickly so book early to avoid disappointment.
We have an exciting new telescope
January 15th, 2018
Thanks to a kind donation from Saffron Housing we have been able to buy a super duper new computerised telescope. It’s so new we haven’t had the chance to play with it yet, but we are looking forward to discovering the wonders of the universe alongside children from visiting schools.
As we are so far from any large settlements the skies around How Hill are wonderfully dark. The telescope will be set up in our sunroom and it will display its images on our tv so everybody can enjoy the view.Read More
Christmas is happening…
December 14th, 2017
Sometimes people ask us what happens during the winter at How Hill, and whether we still have schools staying. Well, for most of the winter months we do continue with all our usual school activities. The house is very cosy and we make sure that every child is weatherproofed and well wrapped up, with regular top-ups of hot chocolate.
However, in December school visits finish for the year and Christmas begins! We cover up the displays about food chains, decorate the house with lots of festive loveliness, bring in a Christmas tree and put Father Christmas hats on the taxidermy Chinese water deer. We know how to throw a party!
Throughout the festive season we host Christmas lunch gatherings for all sorts of different groups. People come and have a feast with their friends or family then walk it off around the How Hill gardens and nature reserve – just like Christmas day but without the washing up. Our Christmas lunches are good fun and really good value. Please contact us if you would like to make a booking for 2018. Merry Christmas!