The Minstead Trust and Thatch

We recently visited the Minstead Trust in Hampshire and were so impressed with not only the great work that this charity does but also the fact that one of their sites has a lot of lovely thatch.  Their grounds at Furzey Gardens, Minstead, New Forest has some great thatched buildings of varying ages and uses.  So, in our usual spirit of working together, we thought we would tell you a bit more about Minstead Trust and its Thatch.

Minstead Trust Logo for Thatch Advice Centre

What is the Minstead Trust

Minstead Trust, established in 1986, is a New Forest-based charitable organisation whose aims are to support adults with learning disabilities to achieve greater independence, lead fulfilled lives and live as full citizens in society. The Trust currently supports nearly 200 people across Hampshire, Wiltshire and Portsmouth offering individuals the opportunity to develop skills for work and skills for life whilst improving their health and well-being.

Furzey Cottage

Through a range of day opportunities, community groups, supported living and residential care the charity focuses on:

  1. Work-based skills: training in practical skills in a range of workshop and land-based activities, and the expectations of a workplace such as time management and health and safety
  2. Health and well-being: a range of physical and creative activities to promote health and leisure skills
  3. Life skills: practical training in the skills of everyday living, both in the home and out in the community

The charity operates a number of local social enterprises including conference and venue hire space at Minstead Lodge, events venue at Hanger Arts Centre and Furzey Gardens, an informal 10-acre woodland open to the public.

The Minstead Trust  – Furzey Gardens and Thatch

There are a number of thatched buildings and structures at Furzey Gardens.

The Tea Rooms

Offering training and work experience opportunities to people we support and honing their catering and hospitality skills, the Furzey Gardens’ Tea Room offers a wide variety of hot and cold snacks, delicious cakes and cream teas. The tea rooms offer unrivalled views over the sloping lawns down to the gardens and provides the perfect spot to take friends and family whatever the weather.

Furzey Tea Room

Furzey Cottage

Dating back to 1560, Furzey Cottage is constructed from ancient ship timbers and floorboards that originate from the Tudor boatyards at Lymington.  Thought to have once housed a family of 13 children, this quaint little house still boasts an original fireback and bread oven. Today, the cottage garden is tended to by staff, volunteers and students all cultivating to a wide variety of home-grown vegetables.

Furzey Cottage 2

Furzey House

Furzey House situated within the grounds of Furzey Gardens is available for private hire to enjoy a secluded break in the heart of the New Forest. The property offers a fitted kitchen, a snug and large lounge with plenty of space to seat up to 10 guests. There is a second lounge which opens straight onto a private garden complete with outdoor furniture. The house offers six bedrooms which have all been redecorated in Spring 2019.

Furzey House

Furzey Barn

The Furzey Barn used to be a stable area for Furzey House, but these days is it used for children’s school visits, parties and school holiday activities.

Furzey Barn

Typhoon Tower

Typhoon Tower was built in 2007 and named this due to a typhoon plane that had crashed in paddock below.  The Tower provides one of few long distance views in the area (on a clear day you can see the Isle of Wight 20 miles away).

Heaven’s Gate

A delightful haven at Furzey where you can escape on a hot day into the cool shade. This structure was initially built for star gazing, but is now enjoyed as a quiet hideaway by many visitors during the daytime.

Giants Table

The Giants Table is an astonishing example of the finest carpentry, with the 5m long table carved out of a singular piece of Elm. This open-air structure is ideal for a quick sit-down to consult the map of the gardens before setting off to find all 40+ hidden Fairy Doors, or alternatively take a seat at the table and spread out your picnic and refuel.

Giants Table

The Round House

Situated in our children’s play area, this thatch-topped timber place of exploration and imagination is a popular spot with the younger visitors to Furzey Gardens. Suitable to play around in any weather, rain or shine, it’s the perfect woodland hideaway!

Scarlet Malachite houses

For the rare Scarlet Malachite beetles to successfully breed, they need a safe haven in the form of preferably-old thatch with herb-rich meadows within a short flying distance. Furzey Gardens was discovered in 2011 as one of the UK’s two strongholds for this vulnerable 8mm insect and these special beetle houses were built below the azalea gardens to encourage them to settle.

Scarlet Malachite House

The Minstead Trust – a charity worth supporting.

If you are looking for conference, venue or events hire or want to visit some gorgeous gardens or stop off for some tea in a beautiful setting, think about supporting the Minstead Trust. Why not attend one of the events at Hanger Arts Centre?  A trip to Furzey Gardens will not only be a great way to spend time in a stunning setting but also gives you the opportunity to see some lovely thatch.  From enjoying  the Tea Rooms to staying at Furzey House or just having a picnic on the Giants Table and more, there is a lot to do and see and it is all for an extremely good cause.  Well worth a visit.

Our thanks go to the Minstead Trust for providing us with all this information on what is an excellent charity.  We hope that you may be supporting them in some way or another and wish them continued success for the future.

Share this article