Bid to revitalise Norfolk beauty spot

Beautiful wildflowers may once again populate a patch of south Norfolk common land after a community group was awarded money to revitalise the natural beauty spot.

Boyland Common, which sits on the borders of Shelfanger and Bressingham, near Diss, has gradually deteriorated over 20 years.

Now the Friends of Boyland Common have been granted �17,894 from the Big Lottery Fund's Community Spaces programme to reinstate the site's ditches and provide access to create an open public space where wildlife can flourish.

Pam Foss, parish councillor and chairman of the group, said: 'The idea is that we are regenerating the common which has fallen into a terrible state over the last 15 to 20 years.

'Two local farmers used to take hay off the common, but they stopped and there was no management of the common, and it has been left to its own devices.'

The Friends group was formed about two years ago due to concern about the common's worsening state.

The ditch system had been gradually filled in, leaving soil on the three-acre site very compact and damp, resulting in the loss of its rich biodiversity.

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Now, thanks to the grant, the ditches have already been dug out and work is under way to create public walkways and seating.

It is also hoped to place posts on the site so temporary fences can be constructed when animals graze on the common and a small parking area for two or three cars will be created.

The project has the backing of the Environment Agency and the Norfolk Wildlife Trust – the latter of which is working with the Friends of Boyland Common to devise a management plan for the site.

Mrs Foss added: 'It has been quite a lot of work and we are delighted to secure the funding.

'This is really the beginning, and at some point we will be having a launch party.

'People can remember when it was a beautiful place with orchids and lots of species of wildflower.

'We know the seed bank is still there and it can regenerate itself with the proper management.'

After the launch, the Friends hope to encourage more visitors to the area with special community days and will apply for further grants to ensure its continual maintenance.

Community Spaces is a �50m grants programme managed by Groundwork UK to help community groups improve green and open spaces.

For more information, visit www.community-spaces.org.uk

stephanie.brooks@archant.co.uk

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