Great Massingham Biodiversity Project

Great Massingham, Norfolk

Your story

Volunteers turn unloved corner of village into haven for wildlife.

Group introduction

Great Massingham is a Norfolk village of about 1000 people set in an area of intensive arable farming that no longer sustains the diverse flora and forna of earlier times. To help counter this decline, a hitherto neglected part of the village (about 2.5 acres) is being renovated to create a species-diverse woodland, meadow and pond area that is attractive, informative and encourages local people to take responsibility for their natural environment.

The site is run by a group of 16 volunteers who meet regularly to maintain and develop the site and enhance their own knowledge and interest in local wildlife. The site is proving useful to the nearby primary school for nature studies. The wood, and wildflower meadow areas have recently been linked by an all-weather path, making the site a popular and informative walk for local residents of all ages (including wheelchair and pushchair users). Talks and articles in the village newsletter raise interest in the Project and the local environment more generally.

How would this funding have an impact on your community?

A prominent feature of the Biodiversity Site is a sizeable pond that holds much promise for encouraging diverse plant and animal life. However, at present it is clogged by willow trees and Norfolk reed. Removing these invasive species to create open water and a perimeter suitable for wetland plants, newts, toads, dragon flies etc., is beyond the physical capability of our volunteers. The work requires specialist outside help. A £500 grant from the Grassroots Giving Team would pay for outside contractor to remove the trees and reeds. Once the earthworks are completed, our volunteers would introduce aquatic and marginal plants chosen with guidance from a Norfolk County Council ecologist. When completed, visitors will enjoy a diverse range of aquatic plant and animal life to add to that contained in adjacent meadow and woodland areas.

The appeal and benefit to our village (1000 residents) can be expected to last for many years and offer the opportunity for future generations of local people to engage in a practical way with caring for local wild life. The site lies 250 metres from the local primary school and acts as an outside classroom for biology lessons.

"The Great Massingham Biodiversity group is steadily transforming a once neglected and unloved area of the village into an attractive and varied nature reserve that can be enjoyed by everyone thanks to its central position and to the its easy-access pathways. The planned overhaul of the pond area will add considerably to the appeal of the overall biodiversity site and create a valued asset for our village that will also be useful to the nearby school . The assistance you may be able to give through your Grassroots Giving Scheme will be most gratefully received by the Village.

Geoffrey Randall, Chair Norfolk Wildlife Trust Local Members Group and Trustee of the Norfolk Wildlife Trust. Beverley Randall, Chair of the Governors of Great Massingham and Harpley Church of England Schools Federation."

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