ludham archive

Ludham Manor Bird Sanctuary
and The Fairy Garden

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At the Ludham Archive, we often meet people who tell us that they have memories of visiting The Broads on holiday in the 1960s or before and having a strange notion that there was some sort of mysterious Fairyland in Ludham. Usually, they want to know if was real or maybe just a dream as there is no sign of it now. We can reassure them that they were not dreaming and The Fairy Garden and Ludham Manor Bird Sanctuary really did exist.

There was a time when there was a bridge over the dyke at the side of Horsefen Road which allowed access into the Manor Grounds. Here you found yourself in The Fairy Garden and you could wander through a collection of stone animals, model flowers, toy tea parties, wishing wells and other odd buildings looking for fairies. Eventually, the trail led to the tea rooms at the Manor where some exotic birds were kept and you could have a word with a cockatoo. The tea room had glass cabinets with soft toys and teddies, all with little signs, some having their own tea party. Some people report that the Fairy Garden was rather scary and not quite as much fun as it might have been.

Sadly, the Fairy Garden is long gone and although many people remember it, it is very difficult to find any photographs.  If you have any information, please let us know.

For now, here is a collection of pictures. Enjoy your visit to Ludham Manor in the 1950s and 1960s.

Bird sanctuary card
A postcard showing the Bird Sanctuary

Bill the cockatoo, always ready for a chat.

fairy garden
Above - part of the Fairy Garden
Right - A wishing well with a bad man falling in
wishing well
fairy garden
Above- Is that me?
Right - One of the odd buildings in the garden
odd building
entrance to sunken garden
The entrance to the sunken garden. This is now a lake.
Part of the Manor Gardens

The Old World Garden

Part of the gardens with St Catherine's Church in the background


This car was one of the exhibits. It was called "A Visit to Yarmouth" and had dummy passengers.

Part of the gardens with a war time Nissen hut in the background. The Manor Grounds had been part of the Army Camp in WWII.

by the sign
By the sign post. This way to Bill.

mardling seat
The Mardling Seat just outside the entrance.

in garden
walking through the garden.
looking in the well

Here is a video taken in the 1960s showing holidaymakers visiting the Fairy Garden

Janet Reynolds-Spark remembers....  The fairy garden, or fairyland as I knew it, was exactly as the video above portrays. The children in the video were doing as my sister and I did, looking for fairies! I remember following the signs and clues. Some of the things in fairyland could be deemed to be a bit scary (although I was never scared). The tea room had glass cabinets with soft toys and teddies, all with little signs, some having their own tea party etc. My grandmother was a big fan of fairy folk and instilled a belief in me (I still love fairies !) It's just a cherished childhood memory.

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