On our own doorstep...

Former Botesdale Parish Councillor Claire Appleby is passionate about sustainable living and the care of the natural environment. She helped establish Barwoods, another active local community group, whose members tend and maintain a number of previously neglected wooded areas within the boundaries of the two parishes. Claire has also actively supported the Streams Project from the outset. She writes...

While we hear on the news about the rapid decline of much of our wildlife, I'm amazed at the richness of biodiversity in and around the village of Botesdale. Amongst the birds, for example, skylarks are a common site, buzzards, barn owls and treecreepers are seen regularly and even rarer species such as red kite and water rail have been spotted. Similarly in the plant world, a recent survey found that 85% of our hedges are species rich compared to only 53% in the county as a whole. The biodiversity of an area depends heavily upon the activities of its human inhabitants. The plants we grow in our gardens, the food we put out for birds, the garden chemicals we choose to use and, beyond the houses and gardens, the way we manage the land, all determine the extent to which wildlife thrives or suffers.
An excellent example of how natural resources can be managed to support wildlife can be seen in the Botesdale and Rickinghall Streams Project, initiated and managed by parish councillor Chris Lambert. Streams and their banks are important habitats for both plants and animals, providing food and shelteras well as 'corridors' that allow wildlife to move between gragmented habitats. In Botesdale the streams provide a home for rare British species such as Water Voles as well as charismatic newcomers such as the Little Egret. In addition, they enhance the landscape and help to reduce flooding. But a stream's value depends on how it is managed and especially, the extent to which natural features are preserved, and the Botedale Streams Project seeks to conserve the natural features of local streams in order to enhance biodiversity while maintaining their contribution to the local landscape and to flood control.

About us - Who are we?

Our Aims...

To ensure the area is an hospitable place for flora and fauna to thrive and also a convivial 'walk through' for those of us who enjoy seeing at close hand, some of the amazing diversity nature has on offer.

The Task...

To clear the numerous stream beds of decades of silt residue and return their flow, while carefully managing the surrounding woodland and footpaths.

Acknowledgements...

As with all projects of this nature, progress only occurs if those involved 'make it happen'. Obstacles constantly appear and must be overcome for the project to continue to move forward. Our Streams Project has encountered its fair share of these issues along the way but has been supported throughout by Botesdale Parish Council and through the offices of our shared Parish Clerk, also by our neighbouring Parish Council in Rickinghall. The Norfolk & Suffolk Probation Trust have provided much needed material support from the outset via the provision, when required, of their Payback Teams. Much of this help has been in the form of heavy labour to assist with the excavation of dry stream beds or the re-profiling of ditches. It is also important to mention that the small triangular section of land on the easterly bank of the main stream is in private ownership, the local landowner granting permission for our work to include this area. Finally without the regular appearence of a small but hardy band of volunteers each fortnight throughout the winter months, the project would not have got off the ground at all. So a big thank you to all who have contributed and supported us to date, in whatever form that assistance has taken. Cllr. Chris Lambert - February 2013

Join us...

Each autumn and winter we meet once a fortnight at 10:00 AM on a Sunday morning. For the following two hours we carry out whatever tasks are required to maintain the area. These tasks normally require expending significant amounts of energy and is a thoroughly enjoyable way to work off some calories!
It' s generally a case of 'bring your own tools' while Wellington boots are a must and warm clothing is highly recommended. If you are interested why not drop by when we are next at work and have a chat. (see the schedule on the home page) Alternatively call Chris Lambert on 01379 897053 for more details.

Fen Lane visitor summer 2011

Fen Lane is a metaled highway along part of its length.

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