Coronavirus Update


Wednesday 13 May, 2020


A message from our Chief Executive, Pamela Abbott, Wednesday 13 May 2020


Thank you so much for your support and patience during these difficult times. The stewardship of nature in Norfolk has become harder than ever during the pandemic. At the same time, it has been wonderful to hear so many of your stories of finding solace and delight in nature to relieve some of the hardship caused by lockdown.

At Norfolk Wildlife Trust we have continued to care for our nature reserves, both for the precious habitats and wildlife which they hold, and to ensure they are there for everyone once this challenging time has passed.

This week’s announcement from the Government that lockdown restrictions are easing means that the countryside is gradually to become accessible again. We are now looking carefully at ways we can welcome visitors to our nature reserves, keeping the protection of wildlife paramount and also the safety of our staff, visitors and local communities. 

We are pleased that many of our car parks will reopen from 20 May allowing you to visit some of the sites you love the most. At the moment we are arranging signs and other measures to ensure you can visit safely. Please bear with us as we do this, logistics such as these can take time and, as a result of COVID-19, we have fewer staff available to support this work. 

Our visitor centres, toilets and hides will remain closed and we will open them when it is safe to do so. The car parks at Cley and Salthouse Marshes will also take a bit more time to reopen, to allow us to coordinate with other sites along the coast. We will share this date with you as soon as we can.

In restoring access to these nature reserves, we are confident that the wildlife will not be negatively affected. At these sites you may see some temporary changes, which will enable us to look after the health and safety of our staff and visitors. There may also be areas at some nature reserves, such as our woodlands, where paths are narrower than the 2 metre recommended social distancing measure so please be considerate of other visitors. On sites where dogs are permitted, we also ask you to please keep them on a lead to reduce the disturbance to wildlife which may have spread into unexpected areas.

Steering the best course to safeguard both wildlife and people is at the heart of all our decisions. There are some nature reserves which we have decided to keep closed for the moment, so we can be sure that vulnerable wildlife is not affected by any sudden increase in visitor numbers. 

We are not able to open some nature reserves because people would not be able to visit them safely. For example, the boardwalk at Ranworth Broad is too narrow and the hides at Weeting Heath must remain closed. We hope that you can enjoy seeing the incredible wildlife at both of these sites via our webcams such as the terns on the raft on the broad. Do stay with them and us online as the chicks grow.

The list of nature reserves and car parks still closed from 20 May is below. 















Many of us have enjoyed our local wildlife: exploring new wild areas on our daily walks and hearing the sound of birdsong, which has been more apparent during the reduction in traffic and noise. We are fortunate in Norfolk that so much of our wildlife also exists away from nature reserves and we hope you continue to enjoy your local areas, from riverside paths to village commons. 

Nature near to where we live – in walking distance or short bike ride from home – is particularly important for our mental and physical health at this time. We know from national research that more than 60% of the population live within a 3 mile walk of a Wildlife Trust nature reserve. Please consider not using your car to visit a nature reserve, and also to stay close to home and enjoy the local places you have discovered. We feel that these remain important messages for us all at this time of change.

We will be in touch next week with further updates in our mid-month enewsletter, which also contains more ideas to stay wild at home. We will also continue to keep you up to date on our website and social media channels, where we have very much enjoyed sharing Norfolk’s wonderful wildlife with you. Thank you once again for your support.

 

Pamela Abbott, Chief Executive

    
 

Re-opening on 20 May  (alongside sites that have stayed open throughout) 

  • BRETT'S WOOD
  • EAST WRETHAM HEATH
  • FOXLEY WOOD 
  • HICKLING BROAD AND MARSHES - One way route only of 2.5km (1.5 miles)
  • LOWER WOOD, ASHWELLTHORPE
  • NARBOROUGH RAILWAY LINE
  • WAYLAND WOOD
 

Remaining closures from 20 May

  • COCKSHOOT BROAD 
  • CLEY AND SALTHOUSE MARSHES 
  • HOLME DUNES
  • RANWORTH BROAD AND MARSHES
  • ROYDON COMMON AND TONY HALLATT MEMORIAL RESERVE – nature reserve is open but car parks are closed
  • THETFORD HEATH - closed at this time of year due to breeding birds 
  • TRINITY BROADS - car park at Rollesby bridge (not an NWT car park) 
  • WEETING HEATH 
 

Membership

We know that the priority for all of us right now is overcoming the immediate challenges we face. In this unprecedented crisis, we truly appreciate those members who feel they can continue with their subscriptions, and particularly as renewals may fall in these next few uncertain weeks and months. However, our greatest wish is that you do the right thing for you and your household and we appreciate that this may affect your decision to support us.

We hope new measures will help our members during this difficult time.
 
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