Our efforts at halting the relentless march of blackthorn with fire and the sword (well, bowsaws and loppers and a bonfire) caught the attention of the Norwich Evening News Paddleboarding and planting: Hobbies to try in Norwich | Norwich Evening News (eveningnews24.co.uk).
It is very satisfying so see the new open spaces we have created for widflowers to colonise at this interesting wetland/grassland site.
Some of us love getting stuck into a pond, others prefer to stay dry on the bank…but between us we cleared out huge amounts of bullrushes, silt and duckweed from this village pond, which should enable it to come back to life now that the rotting material is no longer using up all the oxygen in the water.
This is just one of several ponds we have restored recently, including two at Longham Claypits and one at Great Dunham where we pulled a wide variety of objects out of the mud, including tyres, various bits of metal and an old hoover!
Last summer we raked up the meadow areas to ensure that the nutrient levels do not build up too high, as this can mean nettles and thistles out-competing the rarer wildflowers.
This winter we have been cutting back brambles which threaten to overwhelm the historic grave monuments, uncovering a grand obelisk (see photo) and a mosaic as we did so. It was great to reveal these for what may have been the first time in years.
We were also accompanied by a very friendly cat as we went about our work – always a bonus!
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, including fighting back against the gorse which had grown over the precious areas of heather heathland during the lockdowns.
Bunkers Hill Woods
As part of a wide-ranging Norwich City Council project to restore and improve the woodland at Bunkers Hill in West Earlham, we planted 2,000 trees around the fringes of the site this winter.
The new trees, including hawthorn, dogwood, spindle, hazel, and many other native species will add nectar for insects and berries for birds, thus improving the biodiversity of the site which is currently dominated by hawthorn.
Now local people will be able to enjoy the chance to get closer to nature for generations to come.
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.