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Chance to protect the River Mun in north Norfolk

08:00 03 March 2014

Eddie Anderson pictured at the River Mun, Northrepps.
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Eddie Anderson pictured at the River Mun, Northrepps. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2014

A private woodland could be opened up to the public for the first time so the community can take charge of preserving Norfolk’s second shortest river.

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Landowner Eddie Anderson speaking to potential nature reserve volunteers at the River Mun community day.Landowner Eddie Anderson speaking to potential nature reserve volunteers at the River Mun community day.

Volunteers gathered for the first time at a Templewood House, Northrepps, near Cromer, on Saturday to learn about how they could get involved with the planned River Mun Community Nature Reserve.

The Norfolk Rivers Trust’s (NRT) idea is to bring the river, just over five miles long between Northrepps and Mundesley, back to its natural state which will increase biodiversity. It has been backed by former ITV producer Eddie Anderson, 65, who lives at Templewood and owns the first mile of the river which would be the focus of the reserve.

Jonathan Lewis, catchment planning officer for NRT, said: “People can get involved and enjoy the river. The river is really important for wildlife and is historically important.

“Previous management of the river hasn’t always been sensitive for wildlife. The reserve will be community run and driven.”

River Mun history

■The River Mun, officially known as the Mun Beck, flows through seven parishes – rising in Northrepps and ending at the North Sea in Mundesley.

■Geologically the river is about 450,000 years old and was created when the Anglian glaciation threw up the eastern end of the Cromer ridge. A river valley was formed to the south by fast-flowing glacial melt waters, depo-

siting gravels and clay.

■The first written references to the river appear in 1082 when William the Conqueror drew up the Domesday Book.

■Four mills were recorded in Northrepps, Gimingham and Mundesley, which could only have been powered by the river.

■Water from the river has always been an inportant source of clean drinking water for people and their livestock.

■Flowing water was also an essential

source of power for corn grinding mills. The exact location of two mentioned in the Domesday Book in Northrepps is lost.

■Many archaelogical finds from the Mun valley reveal there was human occupation in the area since the Neolithic to the

Bronze Age and

through the Roman, Saxon and Medieval periods to present day.

Most of the volunteers who attended the weekend session visited a River Mun drop-in community day in January.

“The main problem was people didn’t have access to the river and many didn’t realise it existed,” Mr Lewis added.

Volunteer work on the 12-acre wet woodland area would include creating a path/boardwalk; managing the river to improve the water vole and kingfisher habitats; and tree thinning.

Over the past several hundred years the river has been straightened for mills.

Mr Anderson, who fondly calls the river the mighty Mun, said: “Whether a river is big or small, it is part of natural life.”

Access to the reserve would be off the Sidestrand to Southrepps road. Funding, plus muscle power, is needed to make the reserve a success.

To volunteer email jonathan
@norfolkriverstrust.org.

Do you know of an interesting plan to help nature in north Norfolk? Email sophie.wyllie@archant.co.uk.

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