Millennium Wood, North Burlingham – Woodland thinning

Friday 20th January 2017

When we gather on a Thursday or a Friday morning in a location where Matt’s work program takes us in and around Norwich; we are all (now how can I put this without upsetting some peoples sensibilities) – of a certain age (with a few exceptions, of course) or as I sometimes say, ’’The government now pays us to stay at home’’. It is refreshing then to see a new face joining our happy band of volunteers today who did not fit into that category. The latest addition to our numbers was in fact a young man of sixteen.

Now in fact, this is not such an unprecedented event as I may be alluding to because he is not the first young person to swell our ranks in this way. Young Ben is in fact a student at Easton Agricultural College (or to give its proper title ‘Easton & Otley College’) and is studying Arboriculture. Part of his course is to undertake work experience relevant to his chosen subject, so one day a week for the next two years he will work with Matt alongside us volunteers gaining experience in the type of work that we do with ‘The Norwich Fringe Project’.

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Thursdays group making a start with the coppicing and pollarding of the woodland.

As it was Ben’s first day out with Matt, just before lunch, I asked him what were his initial thoughts so far, about the people he had met and spoken to and the work we were doing. His response was nice to hear in that he said that everybody had been very welcoming to him, offering advice, and also that he thought we were a very happy group of people. Ben also remarked that he could see the improvements that we had made to ‘North Burlingham Woods’ (where we were working today), thinning the woodland out over the last three years of conservation work. That was a gratifying remark to hear after all the work we have done here (He’ll go far that lad!!).

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Friday group continuing the great start made by the Thursday group and a big welcome to our new colleague Ben.

Looking around this site in North Burlingham today, and seeing what the appearance of the woodland is from where we have done the thinning work, and comparing that to the areas that are still to be thinned, they are both such different places.  On our first visit, just over three years ago, we had to fight our way into the woods from the perimeter path, which is much used by walkers, and now you can see the beginnings of pathways within the site, possibly trodden down by dog walkers following their pets through the now light and airy parts.

So far, I would say this is one of our success stories but still a work in progress.

Written by Alan Rae, Norwich Fringe Project Volunteer.