The History of Limes Farm

Limes Farm was fully refurbished over several years and completed in 2012. When we bought the property a few years ago it was in quite a state of disrepair.

The house has a rich history and is one of the oldest buildings in Ludham (eighteenth century for the most part, if not earlier): it has seen many changes over the years. Limes Farmhouse is the original part of the property (one of the bricks is dated 1758). Limes Farm Cottage was probably an add-on but still early Georgian. The Limes was added early in the Victorian era, which has initially confused many people, as the design is in what many people would consider a typically ‘Georgian’ style. The Conservation Officer made us laugh with his response to the puzzle - "well after all this is rural Norfolk, they tend to lag behind a bit."

For at least the last half-century before we arrived in 2009, the property had been lived in but was gradually falling into a state of increasing disrepair. Most of the fabric of the building was in a very poor condition. The Broads Authority Conservation Officer said at one point, as he was admiring the work so far, "we did wonder if it was worth saving". We were faced with the interesting challenge of trying to restore the house to something akin to what it had been like in its heyday, yet incorporating the benefits of modern living and also suitable for holiday letting - all on a fairly modest budget for this type of project.

We began with a complete re-thatch; many timbers were replaced (though some very old beams have been treated and retained), various walls were moved or added (in some cases bringing things nearer to how they had been many years ago) and completely replastered, the floors were dug up and foundations and damp-proofing added and of course we needed new windows and doors (though there are some old and in some cases original doors, that we’ve managed to retain).

The great advantage to doing all this work has been that we were able to incorporate a great many touches which lessen our environmental impact, such as solar panels and ground source heating - underneath most of the ground surrounding the accommodation is a maze of heat pipes.

As a result of its many and varied occupants and uses, the building had been ill-treated at times over the years, and much had been destroyed; but wherever possible we’ve retained original features and where this hasn’t been possible we’ve sourced appropriate reclaims or modern equivalents to make up for the deficits. There is rather a mixture of styles throughout the property as a whole, but this reflects its development and hopefully gives an idea of how the building evolved. The restoration as a whole has been quite a journey, and not your average retirement plan, but we are very pleased with the end result and hope you will be too.