On a sunny day in December we revisited Bowthorpe to check on the young trees we had planted a year ago. We replaced any that had not survived, which may have been due to the very dry spring we experienced in 2013. Thanks again to Tree Appeal for supplying the trees which have enabled us to make a great long-term improvement to this site for wildlife and local people.
We also topped up the mulch around the trees to help the soil retain moisture in the future. The boundary hedge that was laid by TCV volunteers several winters ago now looks amazing.
A grassy section of the Lakenham Way is managed for wildlife, so volunteers have been strimming and raking grass and cutting down scrub. The grass is raked to remove nutrients, as wild flowers do best in nutrient poor soil.
Wild flowers are a great food source for butterflies, bees and other pollinating inspects. The scrub is cut back to maintain the grass, so hopefully next spring the area will be buzzing with insects.
We have worked on this ex-landfill site for a number of years, and this winter we have completed several tasks including: clearing scrub, replacing a perimeter fence, some hedgelaying and hedge planting. Like many ex-landfills the site is a haven for wildlife and enjoyed by the local dog walkers.
The volunteers did a great job with the new fence, and hopefully the newly planted hedge will look great in a couple of years time.
Luckily for us Mousehold is a site we work on regularly, the tasks change with the seasons, and it is nice to be able to see the results of past work.
This winter we have been helping Will Stewart, the Mousehold Warden, with a variety of tasks. One of these included clearing along the boundary of Mousehold, areas of grass and bracken was strimmed and raked, small trees were coppiced, and areas of bramble were cleared.
The work was done to maintain open areas of grass on Mousehold which are great for insects.
We spent an enjoyable day clearing scrub from a small island in the centre of the pond in Wensum park.
The island had become very overgrown and was no longer being used by the ducks and swans that live in the area.
Cutting down the trees will have the benefit of letting more light into the pond which will allow general pond life to flourish. There was a great turnout of volunteers that day who all had fun.
Cary's meadow is a large site opposite Broadland District Council's offices that has a profusion of wildflowers. It has a thin soil because it has been used as a rubbish dump in the past, but it is now a haven for wildlife.
The team built this boardwalk over a muddy area to give access to the riverbank. Clearing of riverbank to allow more access for the public will continue.
The team have been getting their feet wet out at Pigneys Wood near North Walsham, home of the the North Nortfolk Commuity Woodlands Trust.
Project Officer Debbie had never made a pond-dipping platform before, but the whole group was soon getting the hang of things. The platform, made of recycled plastic, will enable visting groups to explore the underwater world and see what minibeasts are lurking in the shallows.
You also see what the North Norfolk Group, who vist the site regularly, have been up to at Pigneys Wood by clicking here
Plastic. Not the kind of material you might immediately associate with conservation activity, but it's proving a hit with walkers and visitors to Marston Marsh.
When the great British Weather turned part of the marsh circular walk into more of a bog than the locals could cope with, TCV were called in to tackle the problem and turned their attention to plastic for the answer.
Now, after the extensive efforts of the Norwich Environmental Action Team, the site boats a brand new stretch of board walk - made out of longer lasting recycled plastic.
But volunteers have also been turning their hand to more traditional green tasks ranging from clearing invasive laurel from Lion Wood and birch and willow saplings threatening to take over Bryant Heath, to Hedgeplanting at Hethersett Ullswater.
They even went pond dipping at Poringland - clearing invasive Norfolk reed to keep this watery habitat in good order for the wildlife.
As well as construction projects (see above) the team also get involved in habitat management on a lot of sites in Norwich and further afield. One day it could be scraping back nutrient-rich soil to give rare heathland plants, another day it might be felling trees or mowing a meadow.
Here are a couple of volunteers clearing an area of scrub at Coopers Lane so that a Norwich scout group can use site as weekend camping ground.