Volunteers hope to turn a neglected city woodland into a haven for families living nearby.

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The Friends of Woodlands Park held their first meeting yesterday afternoon to work out how to improve the woods off Dereham Road, near the roundabout with Guardian Road.

About a dozen volunteers came to the first meeting, while 60 people in the area have said they would like to help make the park better.

Paul Holley, Norwich City Council’s natural areas officer, told the group that Woodlands Park was one of the few green spaces in the city with large trees.

“It is a very interesting site,” he said. “Over the years it has not had a lot of help.

“This is something we are hoping to turn around.

“We can do it by involving people like yourselves.”

The group will form a committee, as well as a task force to clear the woods and litter pick, and volunteers will also keep an eye on any problems in the park.

Mr Holley added: “The big stumbling block is money.

“The city council doesn’t have a lot of money to spend on sites like this.

“It is in the hands of you folks. It is your wood and your site.”

He said that by applying for grants, volunteers could fund their work.

Robin Woodruff from the Friends of Marlpit Woods, where a similar scheme was carried out with huge success, said grants could come from a variety of sources.

Neil Blunt, Green Party councillor for Wensum ward, who organised the meeting with fellow councillor Caroline Brimblecombe, said the group also wanted to hear stories from people in the area about Woodlands Park.

They hope to build signs and placards with information about the area’s history.

Mrs Brimblecombe said: “I’d like to appeal to everyone to get in touch if they want to be part of the group or know anything about the history of the wood.”

If you are interested in joining the group contact the Friends of Woodlands Park on 07808 236483 or email wensumcaroline@gmail.com.

Are you taking part in a conservation project? Contact reporter Tom Bristow on 01603772313 or email tom.bristow@archant.co.uk




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