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From rattling trains to calm tranquility...new garden opens at Pensthorpe Nature Reserve

PUBLISHED: 06:30 22 June 2012

Head gardener Imogen Checketts and Deb Jordan with the new sculpture entitled 'The Nest' inside the Wave Garden at Pensthorpe Nature Reserve. Picture: Ian Burt

Head gardener Imogen Checketts and Deb Jordan with the new sculpture entitled 'The Nest' inside the Wave Garden at Pensthorpe Nature Reserve. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant © 2012

The click clack of train wheels was once a regular sound in what is now one of the most serene and tranquil parts of Norfolk.

The Waveline Garden, at Pensthorpe Nature Reserve, opens to the public today and has been created on what used to be a railway line between Fakenham and Wells.

It was run by the West Norfolk Railway company and was in use between 1857 and 1952.

But the squeal of steel on steel has been replaced by the soothing sounds of signing birds.

The Waveline Garden is the first new garden to open at Pensthorpe since 2008 and is an extension to the already established Wave Garden.

Its focal point is the striking circular sculpture, called The Nest, created especially for the garden by Derbyshire-based artist Miles Halpin.

The idea behind the sculpture is to evoke a sense of calm and encourage people to ‘nest’ and relax in this peaceful part of the reserve.

The one-acre Wave Garden opened in 2006 and was designed by Julie Toll.

The Waveline Garden is a half-acre extension to that has been created by Imogen Checketts, head gardener at Pensthorpe.

A waving hedge line runs through the gardens, leading to The Nest sculpture at the end.

Ms Checketts said: “As this land was used as a railway line it is very dry. It has a high pH but it also quite peaty so it is an unusual mixture.

“There are a lot of wild flowers and I’ve tried to use as much as possible.

“One of the good things we do at Pensthorpe is to mix structure with wild and I think that is evident here. There certainly wasn’t a rigid plan when I set out to do this.”

The garden is structured by semi-circular sitting spaces to inspire an atmosphere of tranquillity.

Visitors can enjoy a spectacular display of spring and summer bulbs, plus oak, hazel and pine trees.

The planting is predominantly green and has a strong affinity with nature - the idea being, to reduce stress and soothe emotions.

Ms Checketts said: “I had also planned to add a few blue plants but some geese ate the bulbs! We are nature lovers here and don’t get upset about these things.”

Deb Jordan, co-owner of Pensthorpe, said: “Imogen has seen the potential for this garden and has really taken it on and done a fantastic job.

“This is a lovely calm part of the reserve and will be a great place for people to relax and have a picnic.

“The garden enjoys far-reaching views across the lakes and gardens below and it contrasts beautifully with some of the more open, wilder spaces of the reserve.”

Regular visitors to the garden include wrens, a barn owl, long-tailed tits and other members of the tit family, dragonflies and damselflies, speckled wood butterflies, a bittern, pheasants, moorhens, mallards and mandarin ducks.

The Waveline Garden can be reached by crossing the Mill Pond near the entrance.

The other side of the garden takes visitors down to the Wader Scrape.

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