A new project has been launched to restore the south Norfolk countryside by reconnecting wildlife habitats which have been separated by new housing developments.

The Claylands Wilder Connections project by Norfolk Wildlife Trust will see "state-of-the-art" heat mapping used in Diss, Bungay and the south of Norwich to support nature by building recovery networks with landowners and local communities.

Plans which are being supported by Norfolk County Council, the People's Trust for Endangered Species, Norfolk FWAG and the RSPB, will hope to create new environments for wildlife to flourish in, in the South Norfolk Claylands.

Eliot Lyne, Norfolk Wildlife Trust CEO, said: “This landscape is home to some of the most important ancient woodlands in the county as well as areas of grassland, hedgerows, ponds, greens, commons and river valleys.

"Historically, many of these areas were connected, but encroaching development for housing and a move towards larger-scale farming has left many wildlife habitats isolated.

“The area contains some of the last refuges for declining meadow wildflowers and butterflies and supports a number of species of bats, as well as a healthy population of barn owls and important populations of great crested newt.”

Families will be invited to put their ideas forward for how they want to support local wildlife during six ‘Making the Connection’ in the Winter.

The events will be hosted in community venues within each area and include talks, drop-in information events and wildlife walks.

Matt Jones, Norfolk Wildlife Trust living landscape officer, said: “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.”

The project is being funded through the Green Recovery Challenge Fund, financed by Defra and administered by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.