Norfolk Nature Project will rejuvenate riverine wildlife

Published:
17:27 May 26, 2022



An ambitious project to create and revitalize habitats for Norfolk’s favorite wildlife has become a national sign for a “landscape-scale” nature recovery.

The Wendling Beck Media Project is one of five schemes across the country that will share an initial £ 2.4m of funding from Defra and Nature England for a major program to protect wildlife and improve public access to nature.

The partnership of farmers and conservation bodies is working together on land along a tributary of the River Wensum near Dereham – with the ambition of moving habitat connectivity across the wider collection.


One of the ponds created as part of the Wendling Beck Environment Project at Gressenhall

One of the ponds created as part of the Wendling Beck Environment Project at Gressenhall
– Credit: Denise Bradley

They aim to restore prairies, heaths, woodlands and wetlands to improve habitats for rare wildlife including gray partridge, dove and the green-winged orchid.

As well as opening up corridors and “steps” for wildlife, it will also provide permitting routes for walkers and cyclists, along with links to the Norfolk Trails network.

This would benefit the health and well-being of the surrounding community and also offer educational opportunities for visitors, the partners said.

Helen Dixon, area manager for Nature England, said the project “takes an ambitious step towards nature recovery in Norfolk”.

“The energy and enthusiasm of the project partners enabled a rapid delivery of work to create heaths and meadows, as well as restore a piece of Cretan stream to a more naturalized canal,” she said.

“We hope that the funding we have been able to provide will enable a wider change of land as this project evolves, and that learning can be shared across the mid-Norfolk landscape.”

The project also seeks to inspire the adoption of more sustainable agricultural practices and improve the landscape’s resilience to climate change, by reducing carbon emissions and managing flood risk.


The dove is one of the species that could benefit from the Wendling Beck Environment Project

The dove is one of the species that could benefit from the Wendling Beck Environment Project
– Credit: Ian Burt

Rosie Begg, one of the farmers working on the project, said: “Natural England funding helps transform our land to create an ecologically and financially sustainable heritage for wildlife and local people.

“We are all excited to be involved in a project that will give other landowners a blueprint for a new model of land use that has habitat creation, nature recovery and people at heart.”

The development of the project will be overseen by the Wendling Beck Alliance, which consists of four farming owners, Norfolk Wildlife Trust and Norfolk County Council along with four key advisors – the Nature Conservancy, Norfolk Rivers Trust, the Norfolk Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG) . ) and Anglian Water.


The Wendling Beck Environment project at Gressenhall

Andy Millar, second right, Natural England senior adviser for nature recovery in Norfolk and Suffolk, with landowners Rosie Begg, and Glenn Anderson, left, and Ezra Lucas, chief adviser for the River Wensum collection, at the winding chalk creek created as part of the Wendling Beck Environment project at Gressenhall
– Credit: Denise Bradley


One of the ponds created as part of the Wendling Beck Environment Project at Gressenhall

One of the ponds created as part of the Wendling Beck Environment Project at Gressenhall
– Credit: Denise Bradley


Bells in the 40-acre forest, within the Wendling Beck Environment Project

Bells in the 40-acre forest, within the Wendling Beck Environment Project
– Credit: Joe Thompson


Wetland creation within the Wendling Beck Environment Project

Wetland creation within the Wendling Beck Environment Project
– Credit: Joe Thompson

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.