Revival of 'ghost' ponds project and switched-on pupils scoop top county awards
PUBLISHED: 21:00 19 November 2018 | UPDATED: 07:16 20 November 2018
From bringing 'ghost' ponds back to life, to environmentally switched-on schoolchildren and energy-efficient social housing - projects in Norfolk have been celebrated with awards.
Monday night saw the Campaign to Protect Rural England Awards handed out to recognise significant achievements in buildings and landscape.
The awards ceremony was held at The Hostry at Norwich Cathedral, with Charles Barratt, chairman of city-based stockbrokers Barratt and Cooke, the guest of honour. Winners were:
Green Build Award: Goldsmith Street development, Norwich City Council – a brownfield development of 105 dwellings for social rent, built to high PassivHaus and design standards, making it the largest PassivHaus scheme for social rent in the country.
Joint runners-up: Hill Farms Barns on the Holkham Estate – derelict cattle barns converted into eco-efficient offices, using local labour and recycled materials, and keeping the vernacular to blend in with its surroundings.
Now used by a local company and providing the headquarters for the Holkham Nature Reserve.
Barley House, Rockland St. Peter – a large family home built to PassivHaus standards, using local and recycled materials, including a large oak frame, straw bale walls, with lime render.
Special mention: Biergarten, Caston – a timber-clad PassivHaus making the best use of a tight, awkward setting.
Thriving Countryside Award: North Walsham Conservation Group – a group of volunteers look after hay meadows and woodland, have unearthed Honing Railway Station from under years’ of debris, to make it part of Weavers’ Way and brought delicate wildflower habitats at Knapton and Felmingham railway lines back to life.
Runner-up: Returning Grazing to Whitwell Common – a project to bring Highland cattle to graze Whitwell Common. By eating up the nutrient rich grass and choking weeds, the eco-system of the common, rich in rare and delicate bog-plants is once again thriving.
Engaged Youth Award: Colby Primary School Eco Hub – largely run with ideas from the children themselves, designed as a resource for exploring the natural world, understanding eco-technology, innovative recycling ideas, raising their own vegetables, fruits, hens and insects, sharing their knowledge with other schools at workshops, acting as eco-ambassadors, building relations with local businesses.
Runner-up: Felbeck Trust Outdoor Classroom – works with children from Aylmerton Field Studies Centre, and further afield from deprived urban environments, to provide a beautiful oasis in a relaxing atmosphere, which is often a new experience for some children.
Successful Campaign Award: Norfolk Ponds Project – A collaborative project with organisations and farmers to recover silted-up, lost or ‘ghost’ farmland ponds across Norfolk, of which there are 23,000.
Volunteers have cleared ponds, allowing species to thrive and encouraging back great crested newt, crucian carp, water vole, stoneworts, and several farmland birds and pollinators, plus rare wetland plants.
Runner-up: Brecks Bat Project – a five-year project of large numbers of volunteers in a ‘citizen science’ experiment to record bat movements using equipment supplied by Norfolk Bat Survey resulting in hugely increased knowledge of the movements and species of Norfolk bats.
Special mention: Assist Trust – a litter-picking campaign helping adults with learning difficulties be mobile, build up confidence and teamwork skills, and feel a valuable part of their community.
Helen Leith, CPRE Norfolk branch director, said: “All our short-listed projects are worthy winners and the CPRE Norfolk Awards are our way of saying thank you and well done to so many people who work so hard to make Norfolk a beautiful and special place to live.
“We have seen some really wonderful things happening out there and the dedication, enthusiasm and expertise of so many volunteers and professionals is very encouraging and exciting.”