Mark Webster, Project Assistant
It’s been a very busy first six months for me working in the Delivering Living Landscapes pilot project areas of the Gaywood Valley near Kings Lynn and in the Bure and Ant Valleys of the Broads. Two contrasting areas in many ways, although both are packed with wildlife – we have had no problem finding plenty of places that we can improve for wildlife outside our nature reserves!
We have been seeking out places where wildlife can spread out into the wider landscape – buffer zones around sites which are already good for wildlife; corridors for species to disperse along; and stepping stones amidst areas that are currently not so wildlife-friendly.
My personal highlights so far include:
- Planting 750 mixed native trees at the spectacular historic site of St Benet’s Abbey, which will provide nectar sources, berries, nesting sites and shelter along a 200m long section outside the boundary, linking existing small copses to form a liner corridor for wildlife. Existing excessive growth of hawthorn was also cut back where it was at risk of damaging the heritage value of this 1,000 year old archaeological site.
- Establishing a brand new wildflower area at Sutton Staithe in a popular recreation area, with over 20 species of native wildflower planted into a section of amenity grassland. Birdboxes were also installed, and we will continue to work with the parish council to advise them on how best to manage the area.
- Digging new pond in a neglected wet area of Filby, with a pathway established alongside. The area is adjacent to the local school and it is expected that they will use this for environmental education work.
- Planting poppies to commemorate WW1 at the Rookery, Kings Lynn, in an amenity area between the local schools and an ancient woodland
- Helping to develop a new wildlife-themed garden being established at Kings Lynn Arts Centre, with bird-boxes, insect boxes, bird-feeders. This is right in the town centre of urban Kings Lynn, surrounded by concrete, but already has a resident blackbird!
- Making a new circular woodland path around Reffley Spring Wood, enabling local people to explore the site and enjoy all-year-round access to nature right on their doorsteps.
But as well as these, we have also been working to improve habitats in South Walsham, Stalham, Roydon, Wroxham... the list goes on.
Over 100 people have been involved so far, but we are still keen for more to join us. So if you would like to get some free exercise in some of the most beautiful places in Norfolk, please contact Gemma and me via firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 01603 598333. Or you can just turn up and join in – click here for Bure Valley tasks, and click here for the Gaywood Valley. See you soon!