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Our Nature Recovery

The volunteers of 'Nature Recovery in Harleston' held event on Saturday 21 October at St John's Church in Harleston, Norfolk to provide an update on what has happed to date and plans for the future.

Rev Nigel Tuffnell opened proceedings with his personal journey with nature recovery. Nigel now has less intervention in his garden as it evolves into a habitat for nature. He explained how the wilder garden has made a significant difference to the insects especially butterflies as well as the birds.

Ian Carstairs

Ian Carstairs, inspiration behind the concept, highlighted the many success stories of what the local volunteer groups have delivered over recent years.

One of particular note was Swift Action. This was established to help address the declining habitat for migrating swifts, by working with residents to provide nest boxes for their stay in England. It has been so successful that it has been recognised by the national Swift Conservation Society and promoted across the country.

Hai Anh and Mathew Eluwande

Milner, Mathew Eluwande showcased designs 'Inspired by Nature'.

The designs ranged from butterflies, to pollinating plants and even Hawthorne, the May flower, which celebrates the association of the town with the Pilgrim Fathers and their journey in the Mayflower ship of 1620.

District Councillor Trevor Graham explained how Nature Recovery came about through an initial aspiration defined in the Neighbourhood Plan. The model is now being considered by communities across the country and has been adopted by other parishes, as far afield as Yorkshire.

Richard Rout, Martin Wilby, Trevor Graham, Jeremy Savage

Norfolk County Councillor Martin Wilby, Suffolk County Councillor Richard Rout and South Norfolk Council Honorary Alderman Jeremy Savage were in attendance showing their support for the model.

The model is now being considered by Norfolk and Suffolk County Councils in their Local Nature Recovery Strategies as the very important 'bottom up' community element.

Ian Carstairs introduced 'A Drop in the Ocean'. For the last 50 years the local Harold Dean Charitable Trust has occupied the majority of ‘The Ocean’ the largest of a series of lakes, on the outskirts of Harleston, developed from local gravel extraction. Occupation has been through an informal agreement with the owners. During this time the site has been managed for quiet recreation, mainly fishing and sailing.

The owners now wish to sell the property and the Trustees wish to acquire their part of the lake and the fringing woodland. Ownership would enable the Trust to continue the established management and uses and enhance their nature conservation work, including improved access for appreciation of wildlife.

The butterfly wave

The concluding message of the event, emphasised that 'Our Nature Recovery' is quite simple.

Parish councils are being asked to endorse the concept, encourage participation, and support delivery.

The Council gains the 'badge' for joining the scheme and helping set up a local nature recovery community group. Importantly, delivery is through the community. We all do what we can to help nature.

We work together and share ideas. We put the ‘badge’ to our actions. While we may be in many places across the counties, we are making a collective statement. A loud statement. By coming together, we can make a difference.


Photographs courtesy of Lisa North Photography


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