Gooderstone Water Gardens is beautiful gardens set among ponds and streams, situated near Swaffham in Mid-Norfolk. Visitors are offered a stroll along paths and over bridges that take them on a journey through an enchanting garden where they can experience beautiful views, nature and wildlife, plus homemade cakes in the tea-rooms!
The gardens were created by Billy Knight, who was a retired farmer during the 1970's. The site was too wet to graze cattle, so he was inspired to create a water garden, which he enthusiastically worked on during his retirement for over 20 years until his death at the age of 93. Both Billy and his wife Florence, enjoyed sharing their garden with others, so in memory of her parents, Coral Knight set about upgrading the garden so it could be opened to the public. This dream was achieved in 2003 and the gardens have since been enhanced with the planting of many native trees and shrubs, a bamboo grove, plus the creation of a bird hide and the roundhouse. The gardens have a tea-room and plant sales. Dogs are welcome.
We start our tour of Gooderstone Water Gardens at the entrance which overlooks one of the ponds. Paths go in all directions, with bridges taking the paths over the various waterways. Adjacent to the entrance is a tea room and plant sales.
A typical view at Gooderstone Water Gardens
A beautiful view from one of the bridges
Another beautiful view over one of the 4 ponds
Visitors enjoying the views from one of the garden benches
Reflections in the water
The Water Gardens at Gooderstone contain four ponds - Monet Pond, Island Pond, Otter Pond and East Pond. Various waterways join the ponds and 13 bridges take a network of paths over the water. Monet Pond takes its name from its similarity to the famous "Water Lilies and the Japanese bridge", painted by Claude Monet in 1897-1899.
A seat overlooks East Pond
The gardens at Gooderstone are spread out around the waterways and ponds. At the centre is a Roundhouse, where visitors can take a rest and just enjoy the peace and beauty of the garden. Planting is varied with many native shrubs and trees.
The Roundhouse in the middle of the garden
Bridges over the stream and ponds
Flower borders in the gardens
The Kingfisher Bird Hide
Situated at one edge of the garden is a bird hide allowing visitors to hopefully, catch a glimpse of a Kingfisher. The hide overlooks a pond where Kingfishers dive from the surrounding trees to catch fish.
Kingfishers are small to medium sized birds that are coloured bright blue and orange. They live in the trees surrounding slow moving or still water. Kingfishers dive, hover and fly low over the water in an attempt to hunt and catch fish from the water.
To capture a photo of a Kingfisher, you will need some luck, a lot of patience plus a camera with a good zoom lens!
The River Gadder flows adjacent to the far edge of the garden. The River Gadder is a tributary of the River Wissey and several species of fish enjoy swimming in its crystal clear water, such as Brown Trout. The river walk is a path adjacent to the river that leads to a nature trail around the adjacent fen.
The River Gadder and riverside walk
A stream tumbles over rocks
Paths go in all directions, but are well signposted
10 Things to SEE & DO at Gooderstone Water Gardens
Find Monet Pond and enjoy the view of the bridge, similar to Monet's famous paintings.
Explore the paths around Island pond and find the newly planted Bamboo Grove.
Look out for the Roundhouse and take a seat inside to enjoy the peace at the centre of the gardens.
Explore the walks, including Fern Walk, River Walk, Boardwalk and the Nature Trail (dogs welcome).
Enjoy the views over East Pond from one of the many benches or the Summerhouse.
Try and spot a Kingfisher from the Kingfisher Hide.
Explore the River Gadder and see the clear water tumble over rocks from the wooded riverside path.
Enjoy the garden trees, plants and shrubs that continually change during the various seasons.
Bring your camera or painting equipment to capture the beauty of the gardens.
Visit the tearooms to enjoy a relaxing cup of tea or coffee, with a slice of home-made cake!
If you like views of ponds surrounded by shrubs, the sound of streams tumbling over rocks and the smell of fragrant flowers in a beautiful garden, then Gooderstone Water Gardens is for you! Enjoy a gentle stroll, enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of this beautiful garden, followed by a delicious slice of home-made cake with tea or coffee. Thoroughly recommended!