Group helps North Cove reserve flourish

Quietly tucked away in the valley of the River Waveney you can find a haven of natural wildlife.

Marshes, pools and a wildflower meadow just north of Barnby and North Cove, near Lowestoft, play home to a huge variety of birds and insects in a treasured corner off the beaten track.

And among the creatures and flowers at the North Cove reserve, you can find a committed band of volunteers who work hard to keep it special.

The group, which varies between six and eight, goes every Wednesday morning throughout the year, and every third Sunday of the month during winter, to spend hours maintaining the 38-acre patchwork of wetland habitats. A number of them have been helping since the 1980s.

Each meeting brings with it a different task and on Sunday they were clearing the wildflower meadow to open the way for ragged-robin, yellow rattle, and bog pimpernel to flower in June. The site used to be a game reserve, but although it has a private owner the work of the volunteers is overseen by Suffolk Wildlife Trust and Beccles Bird Society.

George Batchelor, along with fellow wardens John Morgan and Jim Armes, also visit the reserve and the nearby Castle Meadows reserve regularly to make sure the paths are clear and the bird feeders are full.

Mr Batchelor, 71, said: 'There is a basic love of nature that inspires us all. It is just lovely to get down here.'

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He said that the site is near to the railway line and is not easy to stumble across when out walking, making it a hidden gem.

'We are getting more and more people finding the reserve and it is so quiet that when they find it they love it,' he said.

Matthew Gooch, Broads Reserves warden at Suffolk Wildlife Trust, said the group do an excellent job allowing visitors to enjoy the site.

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