Norfolk walkers show their love of threatened wood

A group opposed to homes being built on one of the biggest areas of woodland on the outskirts of Norwich have shown their love of the beauty spot during an organised event.

Members of the Friends of Thorpe Woodlands group attended a tree wardens' walk around Belmore Plantation, which has previously been earmarked for the development of as many as 800 homes.

The Broadland Land Group held a public consultation last year to discuss developing what is known as the Plumstead/Salhouse Urban Fringe Land, but as yet no plans have been approved.

Plans were drawn up for at least 630 homes, and possibly as many as 800, in a major development for the Belmore, Racecourse and Brown's Plantations off Salhouse Road, Plumstead Road East and Pound Lane.

The group say the plans would destroy the woods and an important wildlife site, that is particularly popular with dog walkers.

About 80 people attended this week's walk, led by local tree warden Marion Amos, taking the total to more than 300 people wh have attended similar walks in the last six weeks.

Setting off from the South Hill Road entrance to the woods, the walk took in some of the less trodden parts of the beauty spot.

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It had been thought the event might be turned into a protest, but while this did not materialise, the group showed their passion for the woodland by simply taking part in the nature walk. Jason Beckett, treasurer of the Friends of Thorpe Woodlands group, said: 'We were really keen for our members to be here and show how much people love these woods.

'I used to come here with friends as a boy and make dens, and you still see youngsters building dens and making use of the woods.

'The wildlife around here is amazing and it covers more than 200 acres so it's the largest woodland in the area, bigger than Mousehold Heath, which I don't think most people realise.'

Not everyone on the walk was a part of the group, but Mr Beckett estimated that about two thirds were.

The walk took in the many different types of birch and sycamore trees in the woodland – which is owned by the Thorpe and Felthorpe Trust – and also took a look at its past.

Local resident Neil Evans took the group to two large craters in the wood. He explained how they were underground bunkers for the secret army during the Second World War that he and friends had discovered in their youth, but were dismantled in secret by people sworn to the Official Secrets Act.

Learn more about the Friends of Thorpe Woodlands group at

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