Photo gallery: Much-loved wildlife reserve in Bayfield celebrates 25th anniversary

25th anniversary of Natural Surroundings Wildflower Centre at Bayfield. Founder Anne Harrap.
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY 25th anniversary of Natural Surroundings Wildflower Centre at Bayfield. Founder Anne Harrap. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Friday, June 20, 2014
4:05 PM

A wildlife haven celebrates its 25th birthday this month and is marking the occasion with an ongoing project to return the site to its former glory.

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25th anniversary of Natural Surroundings Wildflower Centre at Bayfield. Andrew Cannon with Colkirk Primary School pupil Jessica Fisher, 8, and Sammy the Hedgehog. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY25th anniversary of Natural Surroundings Wildflower Centre at Bayfield. Andrew Cannon with Colkirk Primary School pupil Jessica Fisher, 8, and Sammy the Hedgehog. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Natural Surroundings in Bayfield was founded by Anne Harrap, who has come back on board to help with the anniversary projects.

Current owner Andrew Cannon said: “After Anne founded the centre it changed ownership several times.

“I took over three years ago and I’ve managed to persuade Anne to come back, she’s very involved with the centre.”

Over the years, the large pond which had once been bustling with wildlife had dried out and become overgrown.

Work began on the pond earlier this year and a team of friends and volunteers replanting the area are already reaping the rewards of their hard work.

Andrew said: “Yesterday we saw an Emperor Dragonfly laying eggs in the pond which is great, wildlife is returning to the pond.”

While the centre has had its share of ups and downs, Andrew firmly believes the anniversary marks the start of a new chapter and credits local people with helping turn the centre around.

He said: “There’s so much love for this place locally, its been much loved for 25 years and people who came here as young children are now bringing their young children to visit.

“People have adopted several of the little gardens and we have a weekly garden club for people who perhaps only have small gardens at home.”

A former professional ornithologist, Andrew had retired when he saw the centre was in need of attention.

Having previously helped out in the café under a different owner, he felt he had to return.

He said: “When we came here it was going through one of its downs and was in something of a sorry state.

“In its prime it was magnificent, it had many friends, ran a lot of events, and above all it was a haven for schools.”

The centre is also focussing its attention on the large wet fen and the meadows in a bid to properly manage the land and bring wildflowers back to the wildflower centre.

Andrew said: “We’re all here because we love the place, it’s been here for 25 years and it’s very much back on its feet.

“The challenge is to get more people involved, it’s a community enterprise and it lives or dies on its friends.

“We’re very much on the up, it’s survived, it’s here and onto a new chapter.”

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