Uncovering the past
A mysterious ruin has made a comeback in Norwich, thanks to the hard work of BTCV’s Green Gym volunteers.
Amidst woodland at the back of County Hall in Martineau Lane is a stone archway. Marked on the map as a chapel, it is believed to have been part of a folly built in the grounds of a grand house formerly occupying this area. Understood to have been a stand-alone structure, is believed to have been built from stones taken from the remains of Carrow Priory.
Working with Norfolk County Council, Norwich Green Gym cleared out of control holly undergrowth to open up the site, both to find the missing landmark, and to tidy up the woodland to allow a greater range of native plants to thrive there.
Ed Stocker from the County Council, who has been working alongside Norwich Green Gym on this project explained they hoped to discover more about the site’s heritage, but also to save the carpet of bluebells –struggling to survive because of lack of light.
Ruins uncovered earlier in the project are believed to have been a building built using materials from a chapel demolished to allow widening of the Prince of Wales Road. It was destroyed when the site was used by the Royal Engineers during WW1.
The knucklebone floor rumoured to have been on site was part of a third building with a thatched roof that was built as a summer house or reading roof for Russell Colman. No evidence of this structure has been uncovered.
See the Norwich Evening News story about the mysterious arch here
Green Gym's Poplar Challenge
Norwich Green Gym volunteers have been turning ‘nursemaids’ with a difference – looking after a batch of rare tree cuttings.
The group have joined forces with Norfolk County Council in a regeneration initiative to secure the future of native black poplars, one of the UK's most endangered tree species.
Of the 7,000 trees remaining nationally, 70 are in Norfolk – but only 1 of these is ‘female’ which (together with increasingly unfavourable changes to weather and habitat and distance between trees) gives little chance of natural seed pollination and germination.
To counter this, during the autumn, cuttings were taken from identified existing specimens and planted at one of the Green Gym allotment sites which BTCV Project Officer Mark Webster described as offering open and moist conditions deally suited to the young trees.
Norwich Green Gym will look after the cuttings, hopefully producing a stock of rooted ‘clones’ which can be planted across the county.
Springwatch Action Team
Forget Trinny and Suzannah - the new BBC make-over experts in Norwich are BTCV volunteers.
Armed with spades and board edgings they set about tranforming Catton Park as one of the BBC Springwatch Action Team events while Radio Norfolk and their audience listened in.
By the end of the two-day exercise the team had completed a new pathway around the unusual bric-lined pond.
What do you get if you combine the Norwich Fringe Project with a group of BTCV volunteers?
A whole bunch of Green Heroes.
Collaboration between NFP and the city's Environmental Action Team has reaped so many benefits it was deemed a working model to be proud of - becoming a joint winner of the Eastern, London and South East region's Green Heroes 'Partnerships' category.
Funded by Norwich City Council, Norfolk County Council, South Norfolk and Broadlands District Councils and the Broads Authority, NFP was established in 1990 to protect and enhance wildlife areas and encourage visitors to enjoy the varied green spaces that ring the fringe of the city.
One of the ways they have achieved this is by working alongside dedicated BTCV volunteers.