Ground-breaking wildlife project calls on South Norfolk communities

Launch of Claylands Project

Claylands Project Launch. - Credit: Rachael Murray

Norfolk Wildlife Trust is working with Norfolk County Council, supported by People’s Trust for Endangered Species, Norfolk FWAG and the RSPB, to kick-start major nature recovery networks in three hubs located south of Norwich, north-west of Bungay and around Diss.

The Claylands Wilder Connections project is bringing together conservation experts, local communities and landowners to develop much-needed new areas for wildlife in the South Norfolk Claylands.

Great crested newt

Great crested newt at CWS Heydon Park. - Credit: Rob Peacock

Matt Jones, Norfolk Wildlife Trust Living Landscape officer explains: “We’re inviting our communities, including landowners, to play a key role in supporting wildlife across the iconic Norfolk countryside. At the heart of this project is the need to create and connect important places for wildlife by bringing data, mapping and people together. It’s exciting to be trialling innovative ways of working and showcasing new approaches to delivering nature conservation at a landscape scale.”

Gemma Walker, Norfolk Wildlife Trust senior community engagement officer, adds: “There will be a variety of opportunities for communities to get involved, from learning about nature recovery networks, helping with wildlife surveys, mapping key species, and carrying out habitat management."

Communities are invited to find out more about how they can get involved through three ‘Making the Connection’ events taking place this January.

Owl flying in the evening light

An owl flying in the early evening night. - Credit: Elizabeth Dack

Making the Connection events

Tuesday, January 18, 7pm – 9pm

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Bracon Ash and Hethel Village Hall, The Street, Bracon Ash, NR14 8EL

Monday, January 24, 7pm – 9pm

Diss Methodist Church Hall, Victoria Road, Diss, IP22 4EY

Saturday, January 29, 10am - 12 noon and 1 - 3pm

Earsham Wetland Centre, Old Harleston Road, Bungay, NR35 2AF

The events will be hosted in community venues and wild spaces within each ‘hub’ and will include a 45 minute presentation on the habitats and landscape history of the Claylands, and why connectivity is important for nature conservation. After the presentation there will be a mapping session where landowners and community members can plot areas identified as potential sites for habitat enhancement under the Wilder Connections project.

All events are free, but booking is essential. Please note that events may be delivered online should Covid restrictions require. All those booked onto events will be informed of any changes.

Gemma adds: “We’d love to see you at one of our Making the Connection events in January if you’re interested in gathering vital information about important places for wildlife in your area, identifying opportunities to join existing wildlife hotspots together and planning new spaces for wildlife in the best locations.”

Norfolk Wildlife Trust are also asking South Norfolk communities to share their winter owl sightings through an interactive digital map, as part of the project’s first online species survey.

To find out more about how to get involved in the project, including taking part in the first online species survey, and to book for the forthcoming ‘Making the Connection’ community events, email wild@norfolkwildlifetrust.org.uk or visit www.norfolkwildlifetrust.org.uk/wilderconnections

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