Rowes Flashe Boathouse, Winkworth Arboretum

Boathouse Autumn Reflection – © National Trust Carol Sheppard

The historic and beautiful boathouse at the National Trust’s Winkworth Arboretum in Surrey has just undergone a very unique restoration.

Previously the backdrop for weddings and film and television productions, given its placement on the picturesque Rowe’s Flashe Lake, the arboretum’s iconic boathouse required fundamental structural support reinforcement works due to the effects of water ingress and vegetation growth over the years. However, what made this project even more unique than its stunning backdrop was the several thousand local residents which needed to be relocated as part of the restoration efforts, as over the years the walls of this structure had become thick with tens of thousands of bees and their hives.

Experienced contractors completing the restoration Greenford Ltd had to admit that even they had never seen this particular sort of restorative works in all their years of performing civil engineering projects across the country. Greenford Director Simon Rogers said “This project was unique and challenging in many ways. Working for the National Trust is always an incredible honour and responsibility, especially given the history of this boathouse, however the added challenge of the bees made this project especially interesting. They were very carefully removed and relocated and the boathouse is as good as new – if not slightly quieter.”

Rowes Flashe Boathouse, Winkworth ArboretumThis delicate restoration of Winkworth Arboretum’s boathouse was years in the making, the careful and considered plan of the National Trust to ensure these essential works were completed as timely and financially efficiently as possible all while minimising the impact to the arboretum’s visitors. The boathouse is a huge draw to the 140,000 people that visit this site every year, and the Trust worked very hard to ensure the closure period was as short as possible – with Greenford Ltd completing the works in just 5 short weeks. The National Trust put years of planning and thought into the update of this iconic part of the arboretum, even including a time-capsule into the build as a snapshot of 2017 for future generations. Sophie Clarke from the National Trust said “It’s a very exciting time for Winkworth, and we’re really happy to have been able to secure the future of Rowe’s Flashe Boathouse for our visitors to enjoy.”

Built 100 years ago, Winkworth’s iconic boathouse has long provided a place of beauty and tranquility for visitors. The Arboretum itself was gifted to the National Trust in 1952 by Dr Wilfred Fox and spans over 120 acres of incredible Surrey landscape for the public to enjoy. If you would like to find out more about the scheme or plan a visit to the boathouse and grounds for yourself see the National Trust’s website at

Rowes Flashe Boathouse, Winkworth Arboretum

To view the full works gallery visit the gallery on the Greenford Ltd website