Bid to attract more Waxham Barn visitors

EFFORTS are being made to attract more visitors to an ancient coastal barn restored for public use at a cost of hundreds of thousands of pounds.Waxham Barn has been open to the public for five years, but visitor figures have never quite met expectations for what is one of Norfolk's finest architectural jewels and which dates back to the late 16th century.

EFFORTS are being made to attract more visitors to an ancient coastal barn restored for public use at a cost of hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Waxham Barn has been open to the public for five years, but visitor figures have never quite met expectations for what is one of Norfolk's finest architectural jewels and which dates back to the late 16th century.

Owned by Norfolk County Council and held on a long lease by Norfolk Historic Buildings Trust, the barn is one of the longest old barns in East Anglia.

The site features the barn itself, interpretation boards, an education area, a caf�, toilets and a car park.


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But more could be offered because the catering contract at the barn is up for renewal after the last one ran to a natural end.

Douglas Munro, secretary to the trust, said: 'The barn has been lovingly restored, so the more people who can come and appreciate it while enjoying the other facilities here, the better.'

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Michael Knights, heritage and landscape manager at the county council, said he was keen to see a number of new options explored on the site, possibly including growing hazel coppice and old varieties of wheat, grazing animals and an expansion of an on-site project launched two years ago to grow ancient types of vegetable - some of which can be traced back to the 13th century.

'I would like to see the appeal of the place broadened to people who are not just interested in coming to see a fascinating old barn,' said

Mr Knights.

'Put simply, I would like to see more people coming here. It is a wonderful place, with good facilities and resources - it just needs something more to offer.'

Mr Knights said the current seasonal opening did not mean the barn, which can also be booked for private events, could not be used for longer periods in the future.

Admission charges for the barn will be dropped this year because the income did not match the expense of collecting the money and producing accounts.

Anyone interested in taking on the catering contract should contact the trust at 9 The Old Church, St Matthews Road, Norwich, NR1 1SP, call them on 01603 629048 or e-mail nhbt@btconnect.com.

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