Enjoy the Plantation Gardens, Norwich
If you are already familiar with the plight of the Plantation Gardens then you can scroll down to the final paragraph of this post to find a link to the petition currently on 38 Degrees in support of keeping access to the gardens open.
If you would like to find out more about the history of the gardens and the challenges that they are currently facing then please keep reading.
Nestled just off a busy main road, on the edge of Norwich city centre and in the grand shadow of a Catholic Cathedral, lies the secluded Victorian gardens known as the Plantation Gardens.
The Preservation Trust that manages the gardens charges a small entry fee of £2 and, once you have stepped inside the garden walls, you will find yourself whisked away from the surrounding hubbub of Norwich.
The site of the plantation gardens sits over a former chalk quarry and the grounds themselves were lovingly transformed into the Victorian spectacle that can be seen today by an affluent local man, Henry Trevor, over a period of time during the mid-late 1800s.
The gardens lay abandoned after the Second World War but have slowly but surely been restored to their former glory.
These days the gardens boast a zig-zagging Italian terrace which, once climbed, provides sweeping views of the verdant lawn below, dotted and fringed with colourful flower beds.
There are also unique features such as the towering gothic fountain and winding woodland paths that are concealed along the fringes of the grounds and provide endless opportunities for exploring every bespoke angle of the tranquil gardens.
As well as being a veritable idyll right on the outskirts of the thriving heart of Norwich city centre, the Plantation Gardens also (during the warmer months) put on various events that can be enjoyed with such a special and distinctive backdrop.
My personal favourite memory is enjoying an open-air screening of Jaws on the lawn of the garden one Summer’s evening a couple of years ago. But if that’s not to your liking there has always been a variety of musical, literary and educational events hosted in the gardens too.
Help Support the Plantation Gardens
Due to that pesky chalk quarry I mentioned earlier, access to the Plantation Gardens is currently under threat. Entry to the gardens is gained via the grounds of a local hotel; because of long forgotten chalk mines that are hidden underneath the surrounding area both the hotel and the gardens have been effected by subsidence and sporadic sinkholes over the years (the gardens themselves being closed briefly during April 2016 because of a sinkhole that emerged on the perimeter of the adjacent hotel).
The hotel owner, citing health and safety concerns and the entry route becoming un-insurable, has threatened to close off all access to the Plantation Gardens before the end of January 2017. If an agreement about access cannot be reached this could spark legal proceedings from the Trust as they claim a permanent legal right of access to the gardens.
The latest update from the Plantation Gardens Preservation Trust’s website states that solicitors for both parties are in talks about the issue and how best to find a resolution. Undoubtedly visitors to the gardens need a safe route into and out of the site, but to lose access altogether would be a travesty for the enjoyment and heritage of Norwich.
There is a petition on 38 Degrees that you can sign to support the Plantation Garden’s right to access and will hopefully help to keep them open for all to enjoy.
For further updates on how the legal talks are going and the overall fate of the Plantation Gardens, you can also check the Preservation Trust’s website.