During Autumn 2021, our Trustees have been working almost every Saturday, contributing a total of 139 volunteer hours, clearing brash wood, coppicing wood and preparing a network of paths, that will lead visitors on a journey along the boardwalk, down into the Dingley-dell, past a new wildlife pond and back up Haul Road to where their journey began.
First volunteer litter-pick day
On Saturday 25th September 2021, we held our first local volunteer litter-pick day, where our Trustees were joined and helped by three local volunteers. Three hours later, seventeen wheelbarrow loads of rubbish had been retrieved from deep within the site and transferred into a large trailer ready for transfer to the disposal site.
Building a path network
With the assistance of Mark Dugdale and his digger in November, we levelled ground along the marked out path network, removing large dead tree roots and other buried rubbish that lay in the way. Suitable branchwood is used to edge the paths, utilising existing site materials.
A new pond
A digger on site was too good an opportunity to waste – so a pond site was excavated. This is situated in at the lowest point within the site and will enhance the environment for existing and future wildlife. The excavation of the pond provided a significant tonnage of good quality gravel/sandy material (remembering that this was an old gravel pit, dating back to the 1700’s) that will be utilised to form a base on the main Haul Road.
Finances up to December 2021
Grants from Necton Parish Council (£2,000) and Breckland Council (via Norfolk Community Foundation) (£1,914) provided the starting funds for clearing the site and making it ready for open access. Local donations of over £2,200 and general fundraising via Breckland Lottery and SmileAmazon has resulted in just over £400, enabling us to expand on our initial clearance activities and develop the Boardwalk, a new wildlife pond and enhance the path network.
Next Stages - looking ahead to 2022
In the new year, we will be holding further volunteer events and undertaking activities such as litter-picking, coppicing, developing path surfaces and completing the wildlife pond.
Early spring, we anticipate completion of the tree survey, which will identify and record tree species, size and health with recommendations on best practice for their management.
In March 2022, we plan to have an open day for local residents, where Trustees will be delighted to chat about the work and future ideas for the woodland. We will be working with the Parish Council towards enabling permanent public access.
Anybody looking to help this project or NAT work generally, please chat to us. NAT has signed up to Breckland Lottery and SmileAmazon, and is also registered with HMRC for GiftAid, ensuring every eligible donation can go that extra mile for Necton.