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Go wild with TV’s Nick at Pensthorpe

TV presenter, author and naturalist Nick Baker is set to open The Pensthorpe Conservation Trust’s annual community event Wild About the Wensum on Saturday, May 12.

Intrepid explorer and natural history expert Nick, who has presented Weird Creatures (C5), The Really Wild Show (BBC One) and Springwatch Unsprung (BBC Two), will officially open the event, meet members of the public and host a bug hunt.

Wild About the Wensum, now in its 12th year, is a special one-day event held by the Pensthorpe Conservation Trust with the sole focus on encouraging people of all ages, especially families who often don’t get the chance to be outdoors, to enjoy the Wensum Valley, within which Pensthorpe Natural Park is located.

This year’s theme, Hare Today, Gone Tomorrow, takes a look at the plight of the hare in the English landscape and celebrates Norfolk as one of the last strongholds for hares in Britain.

Local wildlife groups and nature charities such as the Norfolk Wildlife Trust, Wensum Alliance and Norfolk Bee Keepers Association will be in attendance plus there will be a special trail to follow and free hands-on nature activities to try.

Deb Jordan, co-owner of Pensthorpe Natural Park said: “We are thrilled that Nick Baker, someone as passionate about the natural world as we are, will be joining us for our community day. Nick shares our enthusiasm for re-engaging with nature and nothing encapsulates our desire to inspire our visitors more than Wild About the Wensum. We want to encourage all generations to get outdoors and embrace the delights of nature – it’s accessible to all!”

Nick said: “Pensthorpe not only boasts a fabulous location within Norfolk’s environment-rich Wensum Valley but it is a great example of an attraction with a cause – keen to do nothing more than encourage visitors to reconnect with the outdoors. It’s an ethos which is very close to my heart and I look forward to joining them and being part of the event.”

Nick will be hosting a meet and greet in the picnic area at 10am, officially open Wild About the Wensum at 11am, run an interactive bug hunt for children at 2pm, and at 3pm will host a book signing and talk entitled How to Make a Naturalist.

As part of his day at Pensthorpe, Nick will also be invited to judge an art and photography competition, which 39 local primary and junior schools have been invited to take part in.

As the event is aimed at families and those in the local community, Pensthorpe reduce admission prices to a nominal fee of £2 per person for tickets booked online in advance, and £3 per person on the day. Under 3’s are free. Please note there will be an additional charge to access indoor play area Hootz House.

To book tickets or for more information visit pensthorpe.com.

Pictures: PAUL CARTER and STEVE ADAMS

 

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.