Volunteering in September

The September Programme for the Conservation Volunteers is now available here.

Mark Webster writes:

“Well, September is here, back to school and college for some and back to the rake (rather than grindstone) for us, as meadow management season is in full swing.  Since the Second World War, Britain has lost 97% of its wildflower meadows, making the fragments of this habitat that we still have all the more precious.  Make hay while the sun shines, as they say, and in our case there will be a lot of haymaking this month, as we cut and rake up a variety of different grassland sites all over Norwich: this management is vital in order to keep the meadows from being taken over by nettles, thistles, brambles and scrub.  We have also got a bit of bracken bashing, and another trip out to the fine old town of Bungay.

While I think about college, I would also like to announce an additional minibus pick-up point near UEA: if anyone would like to meet us at the Triangle Car Park here https://gridreferencefinder.com?gr=TG1838507940|Point_s_B|1&t=Point%20B&v=r [ what3words: risky.froth.study ] at 9.15am, please contact me via 07740 899 691  mark.webster@tcv.org.uk to confirm your place on the bus.

For those enthusiasts of the bad puns and film/tv/pop culture references with which I try to liven up these programmes (no, honestly, some people are) this month is something of a song lyric special, thanks largely to one volunteer (you know who you are) who got me thinking how many songs have hey (hay) in the title, perfect for this month.”

Sustainable links to the Yare Valley

A planning application has been submitted to Norwich City Council for the Carrow Works, King Street, Norwich.

You can view everything submitted as part of the application online on the Carrow Works Norwich City Council website.

Public comment on the application should be made before 15th September 2023. You can comment in the following ways:
online at planning.norwich.gov.uk by searching for application number 22/00879/F
or by email planning@norwich.gov.uk.

The Yare Valley Society has an interest in this application because of the development’s outstanding potential to deliver safe means of sustainable travel from some large residential areas of Norwich to and from the Yare Valley Green Infrastructure Corridor (GISC), and, in particular, to and from the Whitlingham Country Park.

Cycling and walking routes in the development, properly implemented, should reduce vehicular traffic in the GISC. The resulting reduction in noise and pollution should benefit the wellbeing of wildlife and of all who use the GISC for informal recreation.

The Society will be putting the case that, in the interest of safety of walkers and cyclists, and to best encourage a modal shift to sustainable people movement, the cycling routes should (a) be segregated from the walking routes, and (b) follow the recommendations contained in the Department for Transport, publication Cycle Infrastructure Design LTN 1/20 July 2020.

Please give your support to the parts of the application which will improve walking and cycling to and from the Yare Valley corridor.

Mowing the Meadows

Refuges for insects. Photo: Matt Tomlinson

Matt Tomlinson of Friends of Strawberry Field and UEA Meadows writes:

“UEA meadows had their annual cut and collect this week – important to deplete soil nutrients and control grass vigour. Arisings are being left under the tree belts, which make good habitat piles (for breeding grass snakes especially).

Creating Habitat. Photo: Matt Tomlinson

For the first time you will see uncut strips on the meadows, which act as refuges for over wintering insects. These will be moved every year.

Refuge for insects. Photo: Matt Tomlinson

Big thanks to Norfolk wildlife trust who have been down to Broad Hay Meadow this week to spread some green hay from their roadside nature reserve at Shotesham. A big square has been cut short, by UEA estates, to allow the seeds to have good contact with the soil and to keep the grasses in check. This will be a big boost to the meadows biodiversity and we look forward to see what comes up in the spring !

Thanks also to UEA estates for all their hard work in preparing the area at short notice.

We will be down at UEA in late September to get some more yellow rattle sown.”

NEAT Conservation Volunteering Programme August

Mark Webster writes:

“Summertime, and the Himalayan Balsam is all behind us now – but we won’t look back, instead we are looking forward to a month of making hay, possibly whilst the sun shines, or maybe with scattered showers, but hopefully no more thunderstorms!

This month we will keep caring for our newly planted trees at Bunkers Hill and Netherwood Green, as well as tackling invasive bracken on Mousehold Heath, but mainly we are all about gorgeous grasslands in August, sometimes cutting and always raking up.  This is a vital part of habitat management for wildflowers, keeping nutrient levels low to stop nettles and thistles pushing out the beautiful mix of our rarer species which make up a healthy and diverse meadow.  Locations include lovely quiet Barmer (out in the wilds), the fine old town of Bungay, and two of Norwich’s most special green lungs, Rosary and Earlham Cemeteries.

If you know someone who could join us for a summer holiday in Norfolk (well, a day out anyway) at some point this month, please let them know.”

The Programme for August is here.