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Norfolk Wildlife Trust at 90

At times in history seemingly small decisions make great changes in society. Such a decision was made on 6 March 1926: to buy Cley Marshes, create a trust to manage the reserve, and - here is the stroke of brilliance - continue purchasing important sites for Norfolk’s wildlife, for their permanent protection and the enjoyment of people.

In 2016 NWT reaches the 90th anniversary of its commitment to the conservation of Norfolk’s wildlife: a commitment expressed in land acquisition, advocacy, education, habitat restoration and a passionate belief that the wildlife of Norfolk deserves a healthy landscape in which to thrive and that the people of Norfolk deserve the same.

Throughout the year we will be celebrating our 90th anniversary with events, activities, editorials, broadcasts, memories and milestones. You can find information on all of our activities here on Wild at 90, plus, as the year goes on, a growing archive of articles, films and your own reflections on our history, our achievements and our future.

Visit often during the year, share your own experiences of Norfolk Wildlife and help us celebrate our anniversary in wild style.

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Norfolk Wildlife Trust Timeline

It is 90 years since Sydney Long and his friends bought Cley Marshes and created what has become Norfolk Wildlife Trust: 90 years of land acquisition, fundraising, education, habitat restoration, publication, daring and imagination.
 
Here, in words and pictures, are 90 years of what we owe to those visionary men. Explore the timeline by scrolling right or clicking on the year markers below.
Submit Your Timeline Item

6 March 1926

Twelve gentlemen subscribers led by Dr Sydney Long bought 435 acres of marsh at Cley. In a m…
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1926

Robert Bishop was appointed Watcher of the new sanctuary, beginning a long relationship betw…
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5 November 1926

Legal formation of Norfolk Naturalists Trust.
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1928

NNT acquired 26 acres at Starch Marsh, Martham, which were loved by Sydney Long ‘as a …
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1930

NNT’s holdings in Broadland expanded to the Ant Valley with the purchase of Alderfen B…
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1930

NNT published its first fundraising Christmas card, featuring a watercolour ofa bearded tit …
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1932

This move bestowed commoners’ rights over Lakenheath Warren on NNT and in theory meant…
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1937

Robert Bishop was succeeded as Watcher of Cley Marshes by his grandson Billy. The same year …
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15 January 1939

Sydney Long died, having become seriously ill in December. NNT’s Christmas card for 19…
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1939

NNT’s presence in the Brecks was cemented with the purchase of East Wretham Heath, inc…
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I remember clearly during the early years of the second World War (circa 1940), I was about …
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1941

Christopher Cadbury, of the chocolate dynasty, began his role as one of NNT’s most gen…
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1945

As grand events unfurled on the world stage, NNT purchased 715 acres of the Whiteslea Estate…
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1945

Land acquisitions continued in Broadland in 1945 with the gift of part of Barton Broad by Ca…
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1949

As reported in The Times on 1 April, Colonel H. J. Cator donated Ranworth and Cockshoot Broa…
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1949

Christopher Cadbury continued to expand NNT’s presence in the Brecks with the donation…
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1952

We had our holidays every yearin my childhood in Morston, June or September; both my parents…
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23 June 1952

NNT received notification from the Keeper of the Privy Purse that the new monarch, Her Majes…
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January 1953

A storm surge all along the East Anglian coast, and coasts on the European mainland, caused …
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1959

Annual subscription for NNT members was £1 per annum and £10 for life membership…
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17 August 1959

I have been visiting Cley since 1959, spending many holidays in the area and making visits f…
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1963

NNT purchased 140 acres of Roydon Common, the start of a continuing commitment to conservati…
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1964

NNT Trustee Colonel Blount provided land for the creation of a car park at Cley Marshes and …
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1965

In the 60's I was a member of the old Norfolk Naturalist Trust. We used to sail on the B…
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I first visited Norfolk in 1963 and have stayed in Blakeney or Cley usually twice a year sin…
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1965

NNT purchased Holme Dunes. The great importance of this reserve for scarce passage birds was…
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1968

In the Annual Report NNT recorded its plan to develop a new policy for acquisitions.
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As an inexperienced young bird-watcher living in Surrey I had read of the "Mecca" of bird-wa…
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In 1970s engaged with Ted Ellis at Surlingham - his enthusiam & knowledge got me hooked on a…
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1970

The Hickling Water Trail was launched at an event led, just months before his death, by the …
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1970s

As a bird mad girlie birdwatcher a Norfolk holiday was not complete without visiting Cley Ma…
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1970

An arable weed reserve was created adjacent to Weeting Heath. ‘Seeds and plants of man…
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1971

NNT took possession of Martham Broad, a significant property, especially for its aquatic flo…
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In the early seventies, when I was 14 I stayed in a cottage right by the road at Cley. I hea…
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1972

NNT moved to its long-term offices at 72, The Close, Norwich which it would only leave with …
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1975

Stubb Mill at Hickling and the beautiful Wayland Wood, prized for its ground flora, were acq…
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1976

NNT turned 50, an event celebrated in September with a Golden Jubilee Dinner at the Universi…
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I remember going into the Watcher's House on a family holiday in 1978 to get a permit and we…
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1978

The members’ magazine Tern and the first three local groups, in Norwich, Broadland and…
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1978

Billy Bishop retired as warden of Cley Marshes, after 42 years of service, and was replaced …
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1979

NNT took possession of 160 acres of nationally significant fen at Upton from the Norwich Uni…
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I attended the [NWT] Buxton Summer Dance and met Ted Ellis who signed a copy of his latest b…
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1981

The Dick Bagnall-Oakeley Centre was opened at Cley. It was named in honour of the local natu…
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1981

Thompson Common in the Brecks was acquired for its rare periglacial pingos and other Breckla…
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1983

Syderstone Common in North Norfolk was bought (having previously been leased).
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1984

New Buckenham Common, with unimproved South Norfolk grassland and ponds, was donated by Dr T…
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1985

Grassland on the chalk embankment at Narborough Railway Line was purchased.
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1986

Two pioneers of Norfolk conservation died: Ted Ellis in July and Billy Bishop in September. …
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1988

300 acres of ancient woodland and plantation were bought at Foxley Wood, one of Norfolk&rsqu…
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Two juvenile Cuckoos being looked after by their Meadow Pipit parents on the fen, i.e. down …
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1st April 1991

In the 1990s we went to Cockshoot Fen and watched a water vole sitting in his home washing h…
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1991

The Hickling Broad Visitor Centre was opened by Desmond Morris and Sarah Kennedy. It was bui…
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1992

In February NNT purchased a further 200 acres of Roydon Common.
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August 1994

The Trust became known as Norfolk Wildlife Trust, in line with other Wildlife Trusts around …
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1996

In February the combination of high tide and an onshore gale caused the sea to break through…
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January 1997

100 acres were purchased at Ebb and Flow Marshes, significantly increasing NWT’s holdi…
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1998

Securing the Future was launched, thanks to a £2.6 million grant from the Heritage Lot…
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February 1999

Muriel Hallatt funded the purchase of 100 acres of conifer plantation at Grimston Warren, to…
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January 2000

My first visit to Norfolk was from Oxford where I knew countryside and reservoir birding. I …
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Home is a reed bed roller-coasted by the wind. Gusts bustle through, leaves flicker, tw…
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28 November 2001

His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales held a reception at Sandringham House to mark the 75t…
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December 2001

NWT moved its offices to its own building, Bewick House, where they remain today.
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May 2002

Foxley Wood was declared a National Nature Reserve.
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2002

The reserve at Upton Broad was expanded with the purchase of 350 acres of adjacent land, mos…
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Before shingle bank changed there were reeds and grasses by Arnolds Marsh. Early March we la…
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My brother Ken first took me to Cley about ten/eleven years ago. While we were there I first…
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January 2006

I remember my first visit to Cley because of the thrilling sight of walking up to the origin…
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25 January 2007

I was walking on the edge of the wood and spotted a herd of red deer, there must have been a…
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May 2007

The new visitor centre was opened at Cley Marshes, 80 years after the reserve’s purcha…
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2008

In 2008 I started volunteering with NWT for the first time, I helped Gemma Walker on the Nat…
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21 January 2008

This is one of the most spectacular sunsets I have ever seen. My husband and I had had an in…
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2008

More than 100 acres of grazing marsh were added to Upton Broad and Marshes, making this unri…
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2009

The Environment Agency’s decision to allow the shingle ridge at Cley to return to its …
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2009

Swangey Fen and Stanley Carrs were gifted to NWT by the Otter Trust, which was ceasing to op…
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November 2009

The Marine Act received royal assent, the result of years of campaigning by The Wildlife Tru…
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2010

NWT took the lease of Thorpe Marshes, its first urban nature reserve, 60 acres of rich habit…
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2012

The last piece of coastal land in the new Cley to Salthouse Living Landscape came up for sal…
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13 January 2015

 
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November 2015

Film made by students at City College Norwich to mark NWT's 90th anniversary
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2016

NWT reaches the 90th anniversary of its commitment to the conservation of Norfolk’s wi…
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Lapwings mobbing a bird of prey near their nests on the Cley Marshes, whilst walking the coa…
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While caring for the shop at Holme my husband & I were told by the Warden (Garry) to shut th…
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Lovely memories of sitting with my Dad, watching his beloved wildfowl, at Cley's birdhides. …
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When at school met Ted Ellis at Castle Museum. Taught two of us about butterfly collecting. …
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My best memory is introducing my 7 year old son to Nature along the North Norfolk Coast - he…
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First sightings of iconic birds - Bittern at Cley, Stone Curlew in the Brecks. The many visi…
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I grew up near Thorpe Woods (Norwich). My childhood would have been impoverished without the…
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We grew up in London but spent all holidays in Norfolk (Mother was of Norfolk farming family…
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When driving on A140 ring road (Norwich) near the roundabout (A1074) at 9 am one morning, I …
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January 2016

The birdwatcher, filmed at Cley Marshes
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03 January 2016

Billy Bishop was my father's cousin, so we are all very proud of the part he played in secur…
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9 for 90

In celebration of our vision for A Living Landscape – the next step in our 90 years of advocacy for Norfolk’s wildlife – we have chosen our 9 for 90. These are nine charismatic Norfolk species, one for each of our eight Living Landscape projects, plus one to represent wildlife in urban landscapes.

Norfolk’s Notable Ninety

Norfolk holds great attraction for naturalists who come to see iconic species such as stone curlews, otters, swallowtails and its rich coastal and wetland floras but our 90th anniversary provides an opportunity to widen the scope and celebrate a few more species which are special to Norfolk. County Recorders and other naturalists were invited to propose species from which list a small panel from NWT and the Norfolk & Norwich Naturalists’ Society made a final (and inevitably subjective) selection.

Some will be relatively well-known and loved; many more will come from the hidden masses, often rare but for which Norfolk may well be the best place in Britain to find them. During the anniversary year, the profiles of ninety such species, Norfolk’s Notable Ninety, will be added here a few at a time!
Ant-lion
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Green-banded Broodsac
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Natterjack Toad
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Tiny Earthstar
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Starlet Sea Anemone
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Western Gorse
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Marsh Harrier
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Myrmica karavajevi
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Lecania coerulescens
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Common Seal
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Breckland Leatherbug
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Pink-footed Goose
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Galeruca laticollis
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Indian-feather Moss
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Films

In partnership with Norfolk Wildlife Trust, Mustard TV has made the first six films in a series on NWT's Living Landscape projects across the county. A Living Landscape is a national vision for wildlife conservation in the UK in which species and their genes flow easily between nature reserves through corridors of suitable habitat, in which farms, schools and towns are healthy habitat for wildlife and people, and in which people are connected to their local landscapes and their wellbeing is enhanced by time spent with nature. To achieve our goal of A Living Landscape we are working in several Living Landscape areas in Norfolk.

Enjoy our Living Landscapes films and watch out for new ones during our anniversary year.
Scroll or pan right to view more

North Norfolk Woods

Runtime: 6:25
In the first of these films we visit the North Norfolk Woods Living Landscape and find out why woods are the natural habitat of terrestrial Norfolk.
Watch

Heaths

Runtime: 7:01
In the Gaywood Valley we learn about ancient heathland, created by forest felling thousands of years ago, and we meet the people recreating areas of habitat which had been lost.
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Living Seas

Runtime: 7:16
We dive into the North Sea to celebrate the Living Seas campaign and hear from the people protecting our coast and its wildlife.
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Broads

Runtime: 6:09
Explore the remarkable human and natural history of the Upper Thurne and Bure Valley Living Landscapes in the Broads.
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Brecks

Runtime: 9:37
The Brecks Living Landscape is home to important stretches of ancient grassland and we find out how areas once lost are again being brought to good health through careful conservation grazing.
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Cley Marshes

Runtime: 10:16
In the final part we visit the Cley to Salthouse Living Landscape and learn how the Wildlife Trusts movement all began with the decision of one Norfolk doctor to form a trust and buy a North Norfolk marsh.  
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Wild Norfolk: The History of Cley Marshes

Runtime: 7.24
NWT's Cley Marshes is the crown jewel of Norfolk's wildlife and in this new edition of Wild Norfolk, Nick Acheson investigates the history of what has become one of the most precious landscapes in the county.  Produced for NWT's 90th Anniversary and supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund
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Wild Norfolk: The History of the Brecks

Runtime: 8:00
Breckland is one of the most biodiverse places in the UK with hundreds of special species and rarities such as the stone curlew. In this episode of Wild Norfolk Nick Acheson is browsing the Brecks, discovering a surprising connection between Weething Heath and Cadbury's chocolate.
Watch

Wild Norfolk: The History of the Bure

Runtime: 7:41
From ospreys to otters the river Bure is an incredible place to enjoy Norfolk's wildlife. In this episode of Wild Norfolk, Nick Acheson explores the rich history of the Bure and how through the generosity of one Norfolk family, it has become one of the most loved locations in the county.
Watch

Editorials

Throughout our 90th anniversary year we are publishing articles in the Eastern Daily Press on the history of Norfolk Wildlife Trust, the nine species in our 9 for 90 celebration and personal recollections by well-known people from Norfolk. Explore them all here, a remarkable archive of not just our 90 year history but our anniversary year too.

The story of J C Harrison and the NWT Christmas Cards

by Nick Acheson
Read This Article

9 for 90: Barbastelle bat

by Nick Acheson
Read This Article

'Soft-spoken Sydney' and the foundation of Norfolk Wildlife Trust

by Nick Acheson
Read This Article

Norfolk doesn't end at the sea!

by Rob Spray
Read This Article

The story of Hickling Broad

by Nick Acheson
Read This Article

Landscape restoration at Grimston in the Gaywood

by Nick Acheson
Read This Article

The Wissey Wetland Creation

by Nick Acheson
Read This Article

Historic habitat: NWT in the Brecks

by Nick Acheson
Read This Article

History of Holme Dunes

by Nick Acheson
Read This Article

Amazing Grazing

by Nick Acheson
Read This Article

Foxley Wood

by Nick Acheson
Read This Article

90 years of care for Cley Marshes

by Nick Acheson
Read This Article

Broad legacy

by Nick Acheson
Read This Article

A Living Landscape – a vision born in 1926

by Nick Acheson
Read This Article

90 things to do for wildlife

In the 90th year of Norfolk Wildlife Trust we present 90 ways everyone can get involved to help wildlife and create a more sustainable environment.

Local wildlife

1. Take your litter home: picnics are great but make sure you leave only footprints behind.

2. Be aware of nesting birds, especially on Norfolk’s coastal marshes and beaches where it is easy to keep birds from their nests accidentally.

3. Control your dog. Even the best behaved dogs can disturb wildlife during the breeding season so make sure your dog does not chase wildlife.

4. Keep your eyes open for illegal activities. Report disturbance to wildlife, pollution incidents, fly tipping, shooting or poisoning of protected species.

5. Make towns and urban areas more wildlife friendly by supporting the creation and protection of green spaces.

6. Take part in a Wild Walk survey and help monitor wildlife in Norfolk’s Living Landscapes.

7. Encourage local farmers and landowners to plant hedgerows and leave field margins for wildlife.

8. Encourage your local church to manage an area of its churchyard for wildlife.

9. Find out about your local roadside nature reserve and grab a rake and help manage your roadside strip.

10. Don’t cut back border perennials until winter to maintain cover and a food source for invertebrates, birds and mammals.

11. Record wildlife - Get involved with the Norfolk Biodiversity Information Service’s Grid Square of the Month.

12. Plant heritage variety apple and pear trees.

13. Composting is a great way to reduce waste, create your own or get involved in your local council’s compost scheme.

14. Become a volunteer! Norfolk Wildlife Trust can use your skills to help nature in so many ways.

In the garden

15. First do no harm! Avoid using poisons in the garden and avoid killing things, this includes wasps and spiders.

16. Enjoy watching wildlife in your garden: the more time you spend watching wildlife the more you will understand its needs.

17. Don’t be too tidy. Wildlife thrives in undisturbed areas, leave some areas even if small as wild areas.

18. Wildlife needs food, water and shelter. Consider how your garden can meet these needs.

19. Recycle garden waste by composting.

20. Ensure your garden is bee friendly by planting nectar-rich flowers and protecting active nest sites.

21. Love your butterflies. Plant traditional nectar rich species rather than showy hybrids.

22. Don’t forget moths. Plant night flowering plants that attract moths such as honeysuckle and tobacco plants.

23. Provide some fresh water, however small, and keep it topped up.

24. A well sited log pile will provide an important habitat. Gardens which are rich in invertebrates are likely to be good for lots of other wildlife too.

25. Create a wildflower lawn. Leave part of your lawn to grow for five weeks between May and June without being cut. This will allow wildflowers to grow and set seed. When you finally cut the area remove the cuttings.

26. Trim hedges in winter before birds start nesting in them.

27. Provide shelter for hibernating hedgehogs by leaving a pile of dead leaves under your hedge.

28. Reduce the amount of tap water you use in the garden by harvesting rain water to water your plants.

29. Provide shelter and hibernation sites for amphibians, by placing paving slabs in a quiet place in your garden. Beneath the slabs scrape some soil away to form a shallow bowl with a tunnel sloping up towards one edge of the slab.

30. Sink a plastic bowl into the ground and create your own mini pond.

31. Swift numbers are declining. Help your local swift population by putting up a swift box.

32. Put up a bat box.

33. Growing fruit and vegetables in your garden cuts food miles. By reducing food transport and energy costs you can save money and help the environment.

34. Use climbing plants to create cover on fences, walls and buildings. The plants will provide an extra source of nectar and a place to shelter for many different species.

Save species

35. Help a frog or toad across a road during the breeding migration.

36. Reduce your use of plastic.

37. When you spot it and it is safe to do so remove litter from ponds and rivers.

38. Repair any leaks and dripping taps immediately.

39. Help a hedgehog: make sure your garden is hedgehog friendly providing natural foods, hibernation sites and safe ways for hedgehogs to enter and exit.

40. Think globally too: whether it is campaigning to save rainforests or to stop turtle doves being shot on migration, your support matters.

41. Take part in Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s online citizen science surveys to record local wildlife.

42. Provide a late nectar source for wildlife grow ivy.

School and children

43. Sign up your children to Wildlife Watch, the junior membership of the Wildlife Trusts.

44. Encourage children to learn more about nature and living things.

45. Give presents at birthdays like seeds, bird-feeders, bee homes that encourage children to care for wildlife.

46. Make bird cake in winter and feed the birds.

47. Plant and create a willow den with help from children.

48. Make a mini-wetland from a waterproof container.

49. Sow spring flowering bulbs together.

50. Sow and maintain a wildflower area.

51. Make boxes for birds, bats and bees with the children and help them decide where to put them up.

52. Set up a bird feeding station with the children and encourage them to look after it and record the birds that visit.

53. Encourage your local school to teach children about growing their own food by building raised beds.

At work

54. Reduce paper use in your place of work. Make two-sided printing and copying normal working practice.

55. Ditch the packaging. Whether shopping for your home or for work try and select products with the least amount of packaging or packaging that can be recycled.

56. Where possible purchase products from recycled materials: office paper, envelopes; pencils, tissues, bags.

57. Use timings on office equipment to help save energy after working hours.

58. Take time to enjoy local wildlife by walking rather than driving very short journeys.

59. Use public transport when you can and avoid single person car journeys.

60. Suggest that your employer sponsors a local environmental project.

In your community

61. Get together to make a difference in your local community to help improve local wildlife habitats.

62. Survey your local wildlife: the information you gather can be put to good use to improve your local environment.

63. Organise a green space clean up: litter can kill wildlife as well as looking unsightly.

64. Bring the buzz back to your community: encourage wild flower planting on community green spaces.

65. Ask your parish council to set aside at least one community wildlife area.

66. Organise a tree planting day.

67. Manage existing hedgerows with wildlife in mind by leaving a strip of vegetation under the hedge.

68. Work with others to create a community wildlife action plan. Ask NWT for advice on how to do this.

69. Persuade your parish council to support a local wildlife project.

70. Select a species that occurs locally and make a species action plan to help it: ask NWT for advice on how to do this.

71. Be alert to local opportunities to save habitats from damaging developments.

72. Photograph local wildlife and keep a record of what you see. Send your records to Norfolk Biodiversity Information Service or submit your photographs to Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s photo gallery.

73. Join a Local Group of Norfolk Wildlife Trust. There are seven active groups around the county, holding talks, walks and social events.

Marine

74. Never release helium balloons. Many fall in the ocean and are a danger to marine wildlife.

75. Avoid eating endangered species of fish and only buy fish which have been harvested sustainably. Where possible support small scale local fishermen using low impact fishing techniques.

76. Use eco-friendly products.

77. Help on a beach clean. Nearly every beach is polluted by plastic and other litter.

78. Write to your MP to express your concern that more is done to protect marine wildlife.

Sustainable living

79. Drive slowly on country roads. This will lessen the chance of accidentally killing wildlife and lower your fuel consumption.

80. Insulate your home.

81. Buy energy efficient appliances.

82. Buy local! Reduce your food miles by purchasing more local food in season or even growing some of your own.

83. Use technology that reduces your impact on the environment. Have you considered solar panels, solar water heating, ground source heat pumps to save energy?

84. Avoid leaving appliances that need recharging permanently on charge.

85. Reduce the amount of waste that goes to landfill. Make sure your recycle bins are much fuller than your general waste by thinking about what you buy.

86. Keep your car in peak running condition: regularly serviced cars pollute less.

87. Check your tyre pressures, this can save money and fuel.

88. Use substitutes for peat and sphagnum moss. Commercial extraction of peat is damaging wildlife habitats at home and abroad and destroying wonderful wetlands which are natural ‘carbon sinks’ and help slow climate change.

89. Avoid over-consumption. Refuse, reduce, reuse and recycle.

90. Join Norfolk Wildlife Trust and help us continue to save Norfolk’s wildlife for the future!

Anniversary Champions

Norfolk Wildlife Trust would like to thank the following companies and organistations for being our 90th Anniversary Champions and for helping us to celebrate the Year of Norfolk's Nature.