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Special plant day at Pensthorpe

Some of Norfolk’s top nurseries will all be in one place and giving expert gardening advice as the annual Specialist Plant Day returns to Pensthorpe Natural Park on Sunday (September 10) between 10am and 5pm .
Organised in conjunction with the Norfolk Nursery Network, visitors will be able to purchase rare and unusual plants alongside traditional favourites, as well as getting inspiration from Pensthorpe’s own stunning gardens.
In addition, the day provides the perfect opportunity for visitors in need of an autumnal pick-me-up and garden refresh to get advice from Norfolk’s top garden experts.
Deb Jordan, co-owner of Pensthorpe Natural Park said: “We’re delighted to host this event for the Norfolk Nursery Network again this year. They will be ready to give visitors a helping hand and offer their advice alongside our own head gardener, Jonathan Pearce, so it’s the perfect opportunity for garden lovers to get some top tips from the professionals.”
The event also offers the chance for guests to experience Pensthorpe Natural Parks famous Millennium Garden , designed by world renowned plantsman Piet Oudolf , in full autumn colour.
Entry to the plant fair is £1 per person (children free/small donation) with money raised being donated to The Escape Project – Family action. Those attending the fair can also take advantage of a some reduced admission into the reserve and the Pensthorpe Explorer.
The Escape Project is a small local charity run by Family Action which promotes wellbeing through community gardening.
Visit www.pensthorpe.com for more details.

Pensthorpe in line for major national award

The transformation of five former farmworkers’ cottages and the creation of an indoor adventure play centre at Pensthorpe Natural Park, near Fakenham, are in the running for a national award.
Pensthorpe’s management team has been invited to the grand final of the Local Authority Building Control Awards at London’s Westminster Park Plaza in November, having won Best Inclusive Building at the East Anglian regional finals.
“It is thrilling to learn that one of our projects has been honoured by judges in the LABC Awards – the largest business-to-business awards in the building control sector,” said Pensthorpe’s commercial director, Drew Payne. “We are all delighted – and all the more so because we were not expecting it.”
The project was nominated by Peter Wearmouth, district building control surveyor at North Norfolk District Council, who said: “Hootz House and Five Cottages is a scheme North Norfolk can justifiably take pride in.”
Conversion of the five cottages has taken place alongside the £1m Hootz House, a  nature-themed indoor children’s play area, designed to inspire and engage the next generation of nature-lovers, teaching them to care for the environment and providing  Pensthorpe with an all-year, all-weather day visitor attraction.
Built from sustainably-sourced timber, the cladding of Hootz House is perforated, to create a habitat for bird and insect life, and has already won other awards for Pensthorpe.
Parts of the building date back to the 18th century and gained nationwide TV exposure as home to the popular BBC Springwatch series for three years between 2008 and 2010.
Five Cottages houses the Pensthorpe Natural Park and Pensthorpe Conservation Trust offices and will also be used as an event, conference and wedding venue.
It is also home to Creative Chiropractic, which offers chiropractic care, sports and therapeutic massage and reflexology and rehabilitation therapy in a soothing, natural setting. Verbatim, which offers psycho-therapeutic services, education assessments, consultancy and training has also joined the Five Cottages family.
“Promoting wellbeing is integral to all we do at Pensthorpe; belief in the healing and restorative value of the natural environment is a core part of our ethos and co-owner Deb Jordan’s vision for Pensthorpe to be used for holistic healing,” said Mr Payne. “The Five Cottages and Hootz House project was conceived as part of that philosophy. It is pleasing not just to win the regional award, but to know that award recognises the inclusive nature of the development.”

Our picture shows  Drew Payne (left), commercial director, and Deb Jordan, owner of Pensthorpe Natural Park, receiving their latest award from Peter Wearmouth, District Building Control Surveyor at North Norfolk District Council.