Water reed (Phragmites Australis) is known to most of the public as Norfolk Reed from the great reed beds of Norfolk. However it is a wetland plant grown in other parts of England albeit in smaller quantities than in Norfolk. It is also imported into this country from many European countries, (Austria, Hungary, Turkey, France and Poland among others) to supplement the U.K. crop.
In the past, harvested by hand, the vast majority is now machine cut and then bundled. Often fifty or so individual bundles will be bound together with wire strapping to facilitate handling and delivery to the thatcher.Water Reed requires no preparation other than sorting and grading before being fixed to the roof.Simple Water Reed roof with block ornamental ridge.
A complex roof being rethatched with Water Reed. Note unusual dormer windows with rafters tapering up to the ridge. These architect-designed roofs were relatively common in the 1920′s and 30′s there being a fashion for new build thatch at the time.
The finished roof. Note how the window structure has distorted the ridge line above above both windows. It’s a shame the architect didn’t talk to a thatcher before designing the roof!
A barn rethatched with Water Reed. This roof has a flush, wrapover type ridge and only the ridge is netted.