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 by searching for application number 22/00879/F
or by email

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.

Bridge hazard warning

We have received numerous reports of the hazardous state of a bridge that takes the Yare Valley Walk across a small brook immediately upstream of the Cringleford Flyover. The hazard has been reported to the City Council and it is looking into what might be done. It seems likely that the bridge is not safe to cross at present because of the possibility of other timbers giving way, and so the link between Cringleford Meadow and UEA has, in effect, been broken.

Damaged bridge with missing and sagging timbers.
Photo: Rachel Hore

Updates on Progress:

Matthew Davies of the Norwich Fringe Project has asked the property services team at Norwich City Council to price up the cost of replacing the middle rotten beam with a metal one and replacing the wooden decking boards with plastic. The Norwich Fringe Project had already had to do some remedial work to the decking boards, covering them, temporarily, with plywood.

The Yare Valley Society is posting warning notices about the bridge at the Cringleford Meadow car park and at the Strawberry Field with directions for alternative routes.

Alterative Routes are:

From Cringleford Meadow car park go up Eaton Street to the cross roads and turn left along Bluebell Road, continue past McCarthy Stone development, and then cut down across Strawberry Field on your left to the river. Or instead, at the broken bridge turn right on to the path alongside the flyover and then turn left on reaching Bluebell Road to reach the Strawberry Field.

From Strawberry Field head up to Bluebell Road and turn right towards Eaton Village then
turn right onto Eaton Street and the Cringleford Meadow car park is just
beyond Waitrose on the right.

Bridge now given a temporary repair, see above News item.

Second try at Yellow Rattle Seed Collection

The collection of Yellow Rattle Seed planned for the 23rd of July had to be postponed because of unsuitable weather. A second attempt will be made this coming Sunday the 30th July 10 – 12 am, when the weather is looking dry. Its likely to be soggy underfoot, please wear appropriate foot wear. 

Please come along if you can.

Meet at Marston marshes – at the bottom corner (go down church lane past Eaton Vale Scout Centre and take the footpath on the left, running parallel to the train track and enter the marsh).

Please don’t go to Strawberry Field for this one. 

Development proposed in Yare Valley Corridor

Planning applications have been submitted to Norwich City Council, South Norfolk District Council, and Broadland District Council for the development of the Deal Ground at Bracondale. The Yare Valley Society is concerned about any development that could impact on the effectiveness of the Yare Valley green corridor, from Bawburgh Lakes to Whitlingham Country Park, in its roles of sustaining biodiversity, combatting and mitigating the effects of climate change, and providing a green space for informal recreation.

The Application Number for Norwich is 23/00774/RM. The proposal is for “Reserved Matters of appearance, landscaping, layout and scale of outline planning permission 12/00875/O ‘Outline planning application (full details of access) for a mixed development consisting of a maximum of 670 dwellings; a local centre comprising commercial uses (A1/A2/A3): a restaurant/dining quarter and public house (A3/A4); demolition of buildings on the May Gurney site (excluding the former public house); an access bridge over the River Yare; new access road; car parking; flood risk management measures; landscape measures inc earthworks to form new swales and other biodiversity enhancements including the re-use of the Grade II Listed brick Kiln for use by bats.”

“The Consultation Expiry Date is 12 August 2023”

You can view comments from the public and other consultees as they are added to the application file throughout the assessment process on the council’s planning website. Search for application number 23/00774/RM and select the Comments tab. You can use the same website to make your own comments, or you can make them by email to

To view the application made to Broadland and South Norfolk Council please visit their planning website and search for application number 2023/1825

The Yare Valley Society will be examining the application carefully, and will respond as appropriate, particularly in relation to:

Yare Valley Green Infrastructure Corridor and Parkway.

It will look for an easing of the pinch point in the valley green corridor at Lord Boswell’s Green. The pinch point section has recently been further degraded by the removal of mature trees along the drainage channel between the Green and the development. To what extent will the proposals compensate for this damage?

County Wildlife Site

The present County Wildlife Site is outside of the development area. To what extent will the integrity of the wildlife site be protected? How might its biodiversity be improved? How might public access be restricted to safeguard wildlife?

Pedestrian and cyclist links through the site

How might the pedestrian and cycle links through the site contribute to the long-term aim of a Yare Valley Walk from Bawburgh Lakes to Whitlingham Country Park. Will there be a link over Yare linking the development to the Whitlingham Country Park? How will it link with the cycling and walking routes into the City?


Will the development increase or decrease the likelihood of flooding upstream and downstream in the Wensum and the Yare? What safeguards are being put in place?

Please have a look at this application and comment on the proposals, perhaps bearing in mind the questions raised above, as well as your own questions.

Yellow Rattle Seed Collection

Sunday the 23rd of July 10-12am

Meet at Marston marshes – at the bottom corner (go down church lane past Eaton Vale scout centre and on reaching the railway crossing take the footpath on the left, running parallel to the train track, and enter the marsh).

Matt writes: “We have permission to collect Yellow Rattle seeds from Marston Marshes. These will be vital for us to continue to enrich the UEA meadows and it was a great success last year. However, many more are needed this year. Please come along if you can. Please don’t go to Strawberry Field for this one.” 

“Everyone is welcome, I will bring coffee and biscuits dates”.

Please support Matt’s important work on improving the biodiversity of the Yare Valley.

Yellow rattle encourages other wildflowers Photo: June Gentle

Why Yellow Rattle?

Yellow Rattle has a role in creating and sustaining wildflower meadows.  As the Yellow Rattle roots develop, they spread out, and seek out the roots of plants nearby, particularly coarse grasses, and take water and nutrients from them. The growth of the grasses is supressed, and this gives room for other wildflowers to flourish. In addition, the Yellow Rattle is valuable in itself for its nectar rich flowers that sustain pollinators such as bees and butterflies.

Monitoring the Meadow: Big Butterfly Count

Matt Tomlinson of the Friends of Strawberry Field and UEA Meadows is organising another of his events to promote interest in the developing meadows of the Yare Valley:

The Big Butterfly Count

and use of a bird song id app.

Saturday the 15th of July 10-11am

Meet at the Strawberry Field top gate (or find us on the top of the field if running a bit late).

Matt writes: “Roger Carter from our group has kindly agreed to do the Citizen science project – The Big Butterfly count, on Strawberry Field. This will simply involve recording butterfly species seen in a 15 minute time window, we will likely use the 2 patches of wild marjoram to do this.”

Will you see this one? Photo: Kate Stephenson

“I thought that after that we could use a great little app to see which bird species are around the field margins by recording 10 or 20 minutes of bird song using the merlin bird id app, the app will identify which species are heard. If you would like to do this please upload the app and test that it’s working. It’s really a great app to have!” 

More about the big butterfly count is here.

The Merlin Bird app is here.

Conservation Volunteers Welcome

The YVS regularly gets enquiries about opportunities for active conservation work, and so it is pleased to report that the Norfolk Environmental Action Team (NEAT) is looking to recruit volunteers. Their work has included improving parts of the Yare Valley green corridor.

Mark Webster of the Team writes: [Here] … is July’s programme*.  We will finally be free of the dreaded Balsam scourge after the chance to explore a new section of riverside near Drayton, and then it’s on to tackling bracken to rescue our precious heaths at Mousehold and East Ruston.  85% of Britain’s heathland has been lost over the last 150 years, so we can’t afford to lose any more, but we have now done over 500 task days on Mousehold since 2005 (when our digital records began)!  We have an intriguing new site to work on in Diss, and we will also be weeding wildflower meadows in the centre of the city at Rouen Road and on the Marriott’s Way.  If you get the chance, walk along the river at Wensum Park to see how spectacular our swathe of cornfield wildflowers looks there!  I am also delighted to say that part of the Oulton Broad site will be open to the public soon, so we need to get ready for that too.

Please do send us anyone that you can think of, they will always be made welcome.  Did I mention that we have nice biscuits, with a coolbox to stop the chocolate melting!”

July’s Programme and more details about volunteering are here.