Alex Hurrell, Reporter
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
A north Norfolk community woodland, enjoyed by thousands of people and a variety of wildlife, is hosting a party this Sunday, October 13, to celebrate its 20th birthday.
Pigneys Wood, on the outskirts of North Walsham, was bought for the community in October 1993.
Since then more than 20,000 trees have been planted, a barn renovated, paths and easy-access footways built, a scrape for migratory and wading birds established, a dipping platform installed, the car park improved, signed walks, information boards, and picnic spots created, and a wetland area restored.
“It’s a tremendous facility and I think the community is very lucky to have it,” said trustee and director Peter Kaye.
“Before Pigneys Wood there was not much for people to use without trespassing into private woods. Now, at any time of day, you will find cars in the car park. It is especially well used by dog walkers and we also get school groups coming to do pond dipping.”
Trustees have been given a £2,000 Big Lottery grant to throw Sunday’s party, from 10am-3pm, when a host of attractions is planned.
They will include live birds of prey, a storyteller, bird-box making, pond dipping, music, a tree trail, fungi spotting and refreshments.
The 23.5 ha (58-acre) woodland was bought for £85,000 by the North Norfolk Community Woodland Trust from local landowner Edward De Feyter, who became, and remains, a trustee.
A huge planting programme began almost immediately and over the years tree species including beech, oak, holly, silver birch, Scots pine, field maple, hazel, lime, alder, ash, sycamore and rowan have taken root and thrived.
Mr Kaye said among mammals using the woodland were deer species including muntjac, rabbits, foxes and bats, while otter had been seen in the adjoining North Walsham and Dilham Canal.
Barn owls hunted the area, heron, duck, geese, little egrets and wading birds used the wetland and the woodland was alive with moths and fungi.
Over the past five to seven years the woodland has benefited from about £70,000 worth of Lottery funding.
■ A free minibus service will take people to and from the woodland on Sunday, calling at North Walsham Library car park and the town’s Mundesley Road car park every 15 minutes between 10am-12.15pm, and 1pm and 3.30pm.
Volunteer working parties help maintain the woodland once a fortnight on a Saturday morning, meeting at 9am for 9.15am in the car park. The next session is on October 19. All welcome.