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Dilham Islands opens to the public

PUBLISHED: 14:56 20 May 2009 | UPDATED: 09:42 13 July 2010

Tucked away in a north Norfolk village, a former playground for a wealthy Victorian family is to be opened to the public for the first time this weekend.

Tucked away in a north Norfolk village, a former playground for a wealthy Victorian family is to be opened to the public for the first time this weekend.

The Dilham Islands were created more than 150 years ago by Shephard Thomas Taylor, a land owner who lived at Hill House in the village.

He transformed the 25 acres of former bog just off Honing Road into six islands surrounded by man-made waterways which were accessible only by a series of ornate swing bridges.

James Paterson, the current owner, says: “People had money and time but no ferries and yachts to spend it on. You didn't travel so you created something you could enjoy on your door step. It was a pleasure garden.”

Sadly, a combination of nature reclaiming the land and a programme of planting poplars in the 1960s means the islands have lost much of their splendour, with the summer house in ruins and bridges beyond use.

But now, following a tidy up by a group of volunteers, the 19th-century gardens are to be opened to the public for the first time to give a glimpse of their former beauty - and raise some money for the village hall.

The Dilham Islands will be open between 10am and 4pm tomorrow. Tickets cost £4 and will be on sale at the Village Hall, The Street, where an exhibition will also be on display.

Visitors are advised to wear wellies or strong walking boots and children, who can join in for free, must be accompanied. It is not suitable for wheelchair users.


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