The ruins of a romantic lodge could become a holiday accommodation

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Published:
11:28 a.m. February 4, 2022



Norfolk holidaymakers may soon be able to stay in a charming pre-Victorian lodge on a country estate, if restoration plans are approved by the local council.

All that remains of Taylor’s Lodge, on the grounds of Gunton Park, is a chimney stump and the remains of some walls, but the landowner – architectural designer Kit Martin CBE – wants to restore the small building exactly as it once was.


All that remains of Taylor’s Lodge is a chimney stump and some of the masonry around the perimeter of the small cottage.
– Credit: Daniel Connal Partnership

The estate’s mansion, Gunton Hall, was nearly destroyed in a fire in 1882 and lay derelict until Mr Martin bought it in 1980.

“Inside some parts of the mansion there were very tall trees growing,” said Mr. Martin, who restored the building and turned it into several apartments.


Gunton Hall, near Suffield.  PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Gunton Hall, near Suffield. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY
– Credit: © ARCHANT NORFOLK PHOTOGRAPHIC

Over the decades that followed, Mr. Martin and several neighbors worked to restore the surrounding landscape to how it was originally envisioned.

“This little cabin is in a rather interesting area of ​​the park,” Martin said.


Gunton Park, GuntonKit MartinFor:Edp Copy:EdpArchant © 2007(01603) 772434

Kit Martin CBE
– Credit: Colin Finch

“It was created by William Sawrey Gilpin, who was one of our great landscape architects in the 1820s and his idea was that the landscapes should be…romantic and picturesque and dotted with many small buildings like pavilions, which are in themselves picturesque”.


The beautifully restored lookout tower at Gunton Park, near North Walsham, features in Enticing Paths

The beautifully restored Gunton Park lookout tower
– Credit: Roger Last

One of these buildings, Taylor’s Lodge, is believed to have been built between 1825 and 1835 and was inhabited by the estate’s head gardener, Mr. Taylor. According to plans submitted to North Norfolk District Council (NNDC), it would be rebuilt using historic materials and reference photographs.

“What we’d like to do is actually put up various maps and prints etc that relate to the history of the landscape…so that inside Taylor’s Lodge we can have a little history of the landscape. ‘place,” Mr. Martin said.

His hope is also that once restored, the one-bedroom cottage can become a small holiday accommodation along the lines of those offered by the Landmark Trust, a national charity that renovates historic buildings and makes them available for independent stays.


An elevation drawing, showing how the lodge could be restored.

An elevation drawing, showing how the lodge could be restored.
– Credit: Daniel Connal Partnership

Mr Martin said the lodge was likely inhabited until the late 1960s, but had fallen into its current state of disrepair by the time he acquired the park.

Another, much larger, of the estate’s pavilions has been restored to become the Gunton Arms pub.

The NNDC is due to issue its decision by March 23.

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