Birds of prey are stars of the show at Norwich’s Grapes Hill Community Garden’s celebration of nature

Handler Simon Rouse from Norfolk Wild Encounters, with Loki a two-year-old ferruginous hawk at the G

Handler Simon Rouse from Norfolk Wild Encounters, with Loki a two-year-old ferruginous hawk at the Grapes Hill Community Garden. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

Visitors to an urban oasis in the heart of Norwich got the chance to get up close and personal with hawks and owls during a special event celebrating the natural world.

The Grapes Hill Community Garden is a lovingly tended green space, which has been created by volunteers, just a stone's throw from the city centre.

The focus for a free event yesterday was Nature in the Garden, with plenty on offer for people keen to discover more about the world around them.

The stars of the show were the magnificent hawks and owls which were swooping about, courtesy of Norfolk-based Wild Encounters and volunteers from the Norfolk Master Composters were on hand to give people tips and advice on how to get the most out of composting,

The Friends of Train Wood were also there to discuss their project to protect woodland off Barn Road.

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Medical herbalist Alex Hobbs, who will host a separate workshop in the garden on Saturday, June 11, talked about how to grow and use herbs, while people who fancied a tipple could try organic wine, thanks to Tom Loudon of The Greenhouse Trust.

And homemade cakes baked by the community garden's volunteers were sold, along with plants, to raise money for the project.

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Fran Ellington, Grapes Hill Community Garden secretary, said: 'This is the third year we have held this event and last year it rained from 9am for three hours, so it has been great to have the sunshine this year. It's brought everybody out.

'It's about community cohesion and giving people a day out.

'It's been so nice to be able to offer something to people who might not be able to get out to the coast on a sunny day like this.'

The community garden group was set up in 2008. Volunteers converted a run-down disused area into the community garden, which was opened in 2011.

Are you involved in a new community project? Call reporter Dan Grimmer on 01603 772375 or email

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