To the west of Ludham on the bank of the River Ant is the How Hill estate. It is a pleasant place summer and winter and is a magnet for visitors to the area.
The picture above shows How Hill house. It was built in 1904 as a holiday home for the family of Edward Boardman, an architect from Norwich. In 1916, the house was extended and the family moved there as their main home. It stands in formal gardens and has an excellent view over Turf Fen and the River Ant.
The house is now a study center for schools in term times and for adults at other times when you can go there for various courses. It is not normally open to the public except on special occasions and fund raising events. Behind the house is a lovely water garden, known as the Secret Garden, which is open to visitors free of charge. The formal gardens round the house can be visited when there are no schools in residence. You can become a friend of How Hill and thus get special access. There is a tea room and cafe open in the summer months.
The estate which surrounds the house belongs to the Broads Authority and is open all the year round to the public at no charge. (There is a small charge for the nature trail). There are excellent walks in the area and the lawn below the house is ideal for picnics and games. More information about walks is on our walks page.
The photograph above shows the view from the lawn just below the house. It is one of the best views in Broadland.. In the photograph below, you can see the moorings at How Hill staithe. How Hill staithe is a public staithe with plenty of free mooring. To the north, the riverside path takes you to two preserved windmills of the skeleton type. After this, the path follows an interesting circular walk through the marshes to Sharp Street. The riverside path to the south connects to various walks and to special habitats created for bitterns and other water birds.
Next to the staithe and not far from the house is Toad Hole cottage. The cottage is preserved as a museum and shows the life of a marshman living and working in this area. Well worth a visit and free. There is also a nature trail which starts from the museum. There is a small charge for this. It is a good trail and in early summer you may well see the rare swallowtail butterfly, the largest in Britain. The museum and nature trail are closed in winter, but the estate is open all year round.
There is a car park close to the house, so access to the site is easy by both car and boat.
The pictures above show the How Hill water gardens in spring. (Sometimes called the Secret Garden). These gardens are open all year round and are free to visit.
The entrance to the Secret Garden can be a bit of a secret in itself. To find it, follow the track behind the house until you almost reach the road. The entrance is a small gate on the left into the wood. It has a signpost. Near here you will find the tea room and also the Olympic Oak carving.
The Olympic Oak behind How Hill House near the tearoom and entrance to the Secret Garden.
You can walk into Ludham Village from How Hill and the walk takes about 25 mins on interesting footpaths. See our walks page for details of all the walks from How Hill.
For a history of How Hill and the Boardman Family in pictures just click here.