December 11 2013 Latest news:
Alex Hurrell, Reporter
Monday, October 14, 2013
Pouring rain failed to stop party-goers celebrating the 20th anniversary of a north Norfolk community woodland yesterday.
More than 150 people headed for Pigneys Wood where a £2,000 Big Lottery grant had been used to provide a range of outdoor activities.
Local drumming group Trix ‘n’ Stix performed in the open-sided barn, as did North Walsham-based storyteller Paul Jackson.
Pond dipping had to be carried out from a different area as the dipping platform was underwater because of the heavy rain, according to organiser Mark Webster of The Conservation Volunteers’ group.
The Hawking Experience brought along birds of prey, there were nature crafts to try including making pine-cone animals and bird boxes, and experts led fungi and insect forays.
Many visitors made use of a free shuttle minibus service between the 58-acre woodland and North Walsham.
“The weather was pretty grim most of the day with only occasional breaks so we were very pleased that everyone seemed to enjoy themselves,” said Mr Webster who has spent the past 12 months organising activities in Pigneys Wood aimed at making it better known.
Events have included summer holiday activities for children, workshops for adults and a party of Paston Sixth Form College students have been spending Wednesday afternoons helping with tasks including cutting back scrub in the wetland area, erecting nesting boxes for harvest mice and planting about a dozen rare black poplar trees to add to only 70 in Norfolk and only 700 in the whole country.
Mr Webster said the initiatives seemed to have paid off and more people were now using the woodland regularly.
He added: “We’ve always had a lot of dog walkers but relatively few families. We’re starting to see people bringing their children to play, make dens and have picnics which is what we wanted to achieve.
“It’s great to see people of all age groups making use of this brilliant piece of green.”
The woodland was bought for the community in October 1993. Since then more than 20,000 trees have been planted and many other projects carried out to enrich it for both wildlife and people.