Strumpshaw Hall Visit | Stalham Farmers' Club | Leading speakers from the agricultural industry.

Splendid summer visit - 

An 80-strong party enjoyed a memorable summer evening at the Strumpshaw Hall Museum and tour of the estate.

Henry Alston, chairman, organised the joint visit with the East Norfolk branch of the National Farmers’ Union. It took place by invitation of the Strumpshaw Hall estate.

And the hosts, Kiki and Kurt Angelrath, family and volunteers, also opened the museum to visitors too..

The trailers, provided by Richard Hirst and Simon Daniels, were driven around the contract farming operation, run by Mr Alston since 2007. Cropping included cereals, parsnips, potatoes and peas. Mr Alston explained that sugar beet was no longer grown despite proximity to the Cantley beet sugar factory, partly because of historic headaches with weed beet.

Then, the party went on a walking tour of the RSPB’s Strumpshaw reserve with Tim Strudwick and three colleagues.

The reserve, which has been much expanded over the years and now extends to some 800ha or 2,000 acres, was established in 1975 with the support of the late Jimmy Key, of the Strumphaw estate, and Martin George in 1975. The estate still leases some 300 acres to the RSPB.

It now attracts 27,000 visitors a year and is home to some 4,000 wildlife species including plants and birds. Mr Strudwick explained that removing scrub and encroaching trees to the flood prone marshes was a major initial challenge. But now one of the biggest threats to the reserve’s vulnerable eco-system is posed by more frequent incidences of salt-water flooding – with fish kill and loss of nesting habitat for birds.

On the return to the Strumpshaw Steam Museum, which is also open on Sundays until early October, many members rode the diesel locomotive, Jimmy, around the park.

The splendid collection of steaming traction engines, plus early tractors and other machinery was a further draw. And Steve, on the Art Deco Christie cinema organ, was another hit.

A number including Christopher Deane, retiring group secretary David Faulkner, and the club secretary, Michael Pollitt, enjoyed the thrill of the fairground and a ride on The Ark. One of only five in the world and built in 1934, this fairground ride can achieve speeds of more than 30mph as it rises and falls on the “five hill” track.

A hog roast, provided by James Cawdron, of Stalham, was the fitting end to a glorious evening. Chris Borrett gave the vote of thanks.

The Autumn Steam Rally, which takes place on Saturday and Sunday, September 1 and 2 - (9am to 5pm). Admission £5. Postcode NR13 4HR or