Friday 7th July 2017
We had a bit of a departure from our usual conservation work today; installing bird boxes for a residents’ association. Yes, we have installed bird boxes in the past but these have been in public access spaces which NFP (Norwich Fringe Project) manage.
NFP had been asked by the Norwich City Council’s housing services to install ten new bird boxes which the ‘Mousehold Tenant and Residents’ Association’ had bought (having consulted the City Council about the types of boxes to purchase). This work would normally be carried out by ‘Norse’ (who carry out housing maintenance work on behalf of the City Council) but they were unable to install the boxes at this time (keep up at the back there!!). 😥🙄
So, this morning we met just off Barrack Street in Norwich to install the bird boxes at Cannell Green residential housing, which is managed by Norwich City Councils Housing Services. The central part of this housing area is traffic free and is criss-crossed by a series of footpaths and has extensive grassy areas on which are growing a number of large semi-mature trees in which the bird boxes were to be sited. Most of the trees would have been planted when the original housing estate was built in the 1970’s onwards. The trees and other planting schemes have created a rather tranquil ambience so close to such a busy road interchange on the inner ring road.
A bit of history now, this part of Norwich and the housing off Mousehold Street close to Cannell Green was once home to the ‘Steward and Patterson Pockthorpe Brewery’. Sadly, the brewery was demolished in the 1970’s and all that remains of it today is what was once the main brewery office at the junction of Silver Road and Barrack Street. If you walk down to Brewers Court off Mousehold Street and look to your left you will see the remains of part of the old brewery in the form of white tiles on what is now a retaining wall. The old brewery was replaced with sheltered accommodation and new residential housing in the 1970’s. 🍺🍻🍾😏
On one of the greens, we had a welcoming party from the resident’s association, plus Anne from the City Council’s housing department and Kevin, a director of ‘Norse’. The work of fixing the bird boxes into the trees was a fairly easy job and under the expert eye of ‘Fireman Chris’ who supervised the Health & Safety work of young Ben (our work experience student) whilst he was up the trees on the ladder fixing the boxes to the trees, we were soon finished. We’re no slouches you know, installing ten bird boxes before tea break we take in our stride. 😉😊
While we did the work, Matt did the easy bit and talked to the residents in the welcoming party about NFP and what we normally do on our volunteering days. He obviously painted such a spirited picture of our voluntary work that as he was addressing them, would you believe it, one of the residents came over and wanted to join the working party for the rest of the morning. 😜
NFP has taken on the management of Norwich City Councils Natural Areas and one of the new sites is ‘Kett’s Heights’ which is only a short distance away from where we were. Matt is currently working with ‘The Friends of Kett’s Heights’ to produce a management and work plan for the site. As we had finished the installation of the bird boxes early, Matt asked us if we would be interested in seeing a new site and took us up to ‘Kett’s Heights’ for a look around. It also enabled Matt to do another site visit and fact-finding mission, to produce the management plan.