Friday 27th November 2015
Millennium Wood, North Burlingham, as the name suggests was planted at the turn of the Millennium on land that was once part of the Burlingham Estate but is now owned by Norfolk County Council.
The wood itself is an integral part of a circular walk which has been created since the Millennium and follows a route that starts at St. Andrews church North Burlingham, then on to South Walsham and back to the start via Hemblington Church. On this route several new woods have been created between 2002 and 2008.
The wood itself is a popular area for dog walkers who invariably follow the bridle path that forms its perimeter, as the center is very densely planted. This is the area in which we are working today, to remove the willow scrub, which is taking over within the woodland. Our work will allow more light in, which will encourage more plant, insect and bird diversification. We did our first five days’ work here last year, and to see the amount of new growth since then, shows how beneficial woodland clearing is. Although with 2.9 hectares (7.25 acres) to manage this is going to be a long project.
Work had begun yesterday (Thursday 26th November 2015) on the clearing work, with Paula’s gang managing to clear and burn a sizeable amount of ground. They had started two fires yesterday, this morning the embers were still hot so lighting fires again was an easy matter; soon we had both fires in action again. With all the wet weather we have been having recently, the ground underfoot soon became soft and slushy with some people complaining that their favourite jeans were getting muddy. Despite all the careful ‘treading’, we still managed to clear a good stretch of woodland and burn all the brash.
At the end of the day, a favourite pastime of ours is to stand around the remains of the fires and watch the flames die down to glowing embers. Each of us then, seem to take it in turn to pick up the pitch fork and throw onto the fire the unburned bits of wood lying round the edge, trying to create a pyramid of the embers. Watching flames is like watching a flowing stream, it’s hypnotic. In this way the day ended, but we will be back here for several more days work before the years end and then again in 2016.
Written by Alan Rae, Norwich Fringe Project Volunteer