THE VOLUNTEER. A TRAIL FOR ALL SEASONS: Welcome to The Volunteer Newsletter

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1 Norfolk Trails, Martineau Lane, Norwich, Norfolk, NR1 2DH Tel: ISSUE 09 07/01/2016 THE VOLUNTEER This Issue: A Trail for all Seasons New Year.. New Walks 1,2,3 4 Trails Review 5 Angles Way Team Day Walkers Are Welcome Explore More Coast Coastal Access Marriott's Way Norfolk s Walking Trails Access For All NBIS Events ,11 12,13 14,15 Welcome to The Volunteer Newsletter A big thank you to everyone who has volunteered with us over the last year. We hope that at the beginning of this New Year we can inspire you to get outdoors, explore more of Norfolk s incredible Trails and get involved. Due to the intrinsic connection between trails and wildlife we are continuing to provide information on events organised by the Norfolk Biodiversity Information Service (NBIS), at the end of this newsletter. A TRAIL FOR ALL SEASONS: At the end of 2015 we launched our Norfolk Trails photo competition with the theme Seasons on the Norfolk Trails. We had an amazing response receiving nearly 200 entries that really showcased the seasonal highlights of Norfolk's Trails. Our panel of judges then chose their favourite six photos, which were open to a week-long online public vote to decide the top three. We would like to say a big thank you to everyone who entered and who voted. And of course Congratulations to our winners! Third place: Wensum Way Crisp Spring Day by Kay Davey

2 A TRAIL FOR ALL SEASONS. Second place: Norfolk Coast Path - Burnham Overy Staithe (Summer) by Gary Pearson First place: Norfolk Coast Path - Burnham Overy Staithe Mill (Autumn) by Gary Pearson Located on the North Norfolk Coast Path, Burnham Overy Straithe Mill, constructed in 1816, is surrounded by the Norton and Deepdale marshes where little has changed over the last 100 years. Restoration of the mill was carried out in 1957 with a new cap and gallery, stocks and sails and then handed over to the National Trust. In 1978 it was internally renovated and is currently a unique holiday let.

3 BURNHAMS WALK: Want to see the winning location? This 4.5 mile circular walk explores this historic Burnham Overy Staithe, Burnham Overy Town and Burnham Norton. Whether its wildlife; boats, of which there are numerous whose wooden frames lie decaying in the mudbanks; or the landscape with Scolt Head Island in the distance beyond the flat marsh, there is something for you on this walk. Congratulations also to Henry Lethbridge age 11, the winner of our special Under 16s category, with a photo from the Pingo Trail. Pingos were originally low mounds that formed in permafrost (tundra) conditions 20,000 years ago during the last ice age. As water beneath the surface froze soil was pushed upwards, forming a small mound. During the summer thaw, soil on the surface would sludge off and accumulate around the edge of the mounds. Shallow craters were left when the ice finally melted, causing the mounds to collapse. These depressions have persisted in this location, producing a series of unique shallow ponds, providing a excellent habitat for wildlife. Prize collection at County Hall

4 NEW YEAR NEW WALKS: 5 circular walks have been created in the Breaking New Ground area between Thetford and Brandon. These are located at Weeting, Lynford and Santon Downham, with two more in the Thetford area. The first following a Forestry Commission waymarked trail at Warren Lodge (just off the Thetford-Brandon Road) and the other following a loop in the Little Ouse Path near Two Mile Bottom, crossing the river at Croxton Staunch and Abbey Heath. Top: Map of Santon Downham walking trail Bottom Left: View across the railway line to Little Lodge Farm. Bottom Right: Forest Track The circular walk at Santon Downham is a lovely route passing the Little Ouse Meadows and following beautiful forest tracks as you head towards St Helen s picnic site. The route crosses the river in two locations perfect for a bit of wildlife watching from the bridges on the Little Ouse! Take a short cut for a shorter walk by following one of the many interlinking forest tracks. Work is underway to summarise information about these walks and to map the routes ready for release on our interactive map and website in the New Year. New Waymark discs and branding plaques coming to the BNG area soon! We will be installing signage for the Little Ouse Path linear route and the circular walks in the New Year. Bespoke fingerposts will include destination/distance information, as well as highlighting local services and businesses - look out for the new BNG waymark discs and branding plaques if you are in the area.

5 TRAILS REVIEW: The Breaking New Ground project continues to develop and deliver access improvements in the Brecks area. Since the last newsletter the boardwalk described at Two Mile Bottom has been completed. Providing access improvements in an area that was subject to flooding and very difficult to walk through throughout the year. The new boardwalk will improve access for most sections of the community, allowing more people to gain access to the Brecks area and to enjoy the fabulous environment in the Thetford area. Before: Uneven ground and a very high step prevented access for all but the most able user. Combined with flooding this often made this section of the trail completely inaccessible. Steps and a hand rail were installed on the boardwalk in order to improve access to the Croxton Staunch bridge at two mile bottom. By setting these steps at lower heights, removing the posts at each end of the bridge and meshing the boardwalk any further access issues have been minimised. The raised level of the boardwalk above the ground will also allow water to move freely during potential flooding events. Currently we are awaiting consent for installing signage in the area and carrying out access improvements on the stretch of the trail between Santon Downham and Brandon.

6 ANGLES WAY TEAM DAY: Following an audit we had identified a number of different access issues on the Angles Way between Ditchingham and Earsham and invited local volunteers to come out and work alongside the trails team to address some of these issues. This included knocking back side vegetation, reinstalling existing signage, improving signage to the Angles Way and removing overhanging trees that have been blocking access. On arrival we were greeted by a recently fallen tree that was totally blocking the path so we couldn t have timed our visit better! The teams first job was to tackle the dead trees that had fallen across the path, blocking access and making it more difficult for members of the public to use the trail. Amongst the team was Andrew a local volunteer co-ordinator for Beccles. Having him present as part of the team was really helpful to demonstrate what we can carry out as trails volunteers. We will be organising a monthly team event on different trails across the network, more details will be provided in newsletters as well as via our Facebook and Twitter pages. These are a great opportunity to get involved in some of the more practical activities on the trail network. WALKERS ARE WELCOME: Norfolk Trails are supporting the Walkers Are Welcome movement in Norfolk by encouraging local parishes and communities to get involved with the scheme. Which aims to encourage walking in local areas. By completing the following six criteria local parishes or towns can become certified as a Walkers Are Welcome town. Demonstration of local support Formal endorsement from local council Making sure the network is in good shape Promoting Walkers are Welcome status Promoting use of public transport Demonstrate having a plan in place to maintain status In November Norfolk Trails held a meeting in Happisburgh and are currently organising another session aimed at supporting Walkers are Welcome Towns.

7 If your local parish would like to get more information and understand more about this exciting scheme please contact: and book to attend a free session held by the Norfolk trails team. This session will discuss how the scheme works, how it can assist with managing local footpaths and routes and how it can help with local promotion. Happisburgh Walkers Are Welcome meeting EXPLORE MORE COAST by Russell Wilson: One of the best parts of my job is going out to check on how we have installed infrastructure throughout the length and breadth of the county. This is a boardwalk that was installed by Jack and Martin on Beeston Common with the help of the North Norfolk Workout group, featured in our last newsletter. I took this picture to highlight how difficult access was prior to the installation of the boardwalk through this section of the area. This access improvement has had a fantastic response locally from users of the area. Whilst out on Beeston Common I took this picture of one of the ponds being slubbed out. This process removes excess weed growth and allows sunlight to penetrate through the whole of the water course, promoting biodiversity within that area. The ponds have been a permanent feature of Beeston Common since 1984 and no fewer than 19 species of dragonfly/damselfly have been observed. Emperor and broad bodied chaser dragonflies ae commonly very noticeable in June/July with kingfisher and heron also visitors to the ponds. We will be organising a team day out on Beeston Common for all of our volunteers to attend on Friday 22nd January 2016 where we will be cutting back encroaching birch saplings and overhanging vegetation growth. DATE FOR THE DIARY: Friday 22nd January 2016 Contact for more details and to book your place.

8 COASTAL ACCESS by Russell Wilson: Following a meeting with Great Yarmouth Borough Council, where we discussed coastal access going through the town, Sharon and I went out to have a look at the stretch between Sea Palling and Great Yarmouth. Although we had seen the proposed route it was only when we were there that we realised just how beautiful the area was and what an amazing coastal walk this will be once created. Whilst we were out we checked on the circular walk created in the Winterton area, again delivered under the Explore more Coast project. The idea of this circular walk was to reduce pressures on an already busy area of the coast by providing a circular walk that takes people away from the high impact areas of the dunes.

9 MARIOTT S WAY: We are organising a team day out on the Marriott s way between Fir Covert Road Car Park and Attlebridge. We will have 1 team starting at Attlebridge installing new signage and way marking and removing dead trees. The other team will be starting at the car park working along the trail and looking at removing dead trees and undergrowth. DATE FOR THE DIARY: Thursday 4th & Friday 5th February Please contact for more details and to book your spot early for a great day out in the spring. There will also be a two day working party on Thursday 11th and Friday 12th February, looking at the Stalham to Worstead section of the Weavers Way. Again this will be about working on the side vegetation of the route and working on creating better access for all users of the route. Please contact for more details and to book your spot. DATES FOR THE DIARY: Friday 22nd January - Beeston Common Work Day Thursday 4th & Friday 5th February - Marriot s Way Work Days between Fir Covert Road Car Park & Attlebridge. Thursday 11th & Friday 12th February - Weavers Way Work Days between Stalham and Worstead. For any further information about these dates please contact VOLUNTEER SURVEY: As volunteers we are keen to know what you think about volunteering for Norfolk Trails. We have been trying to improve the services of the website and the report form as well as providing more resources and newsletters. We are also actively looking to set up more volunteer days and training events. However, we would like your opinions on what we should be looking at improving next to make your experience of volunteering more enjoyable. We have set up a survey for you to fill in to find out what you like and what should look focusing our resources on improving. Please follow the link below to take the survey:

10 NORFOLK S WALKING TRAILS: Norfolk is criss-crossed by a large range of walking trails which connect popular locations, taking you deep into the countryside, and showing you parts of Norfolk you might not usually discover. As the 2016 begins we encourage you to ditch the car and head off on foot, even hire a bike or jump on a horse. Discover seals basking on the rocks at Blakeney Point, see how many wild flowers you can count along the Peddars Way and soak up the peace and quiet as you amble along the disused railway tracks of Paston Way. There s a great selection of routes to choose from with different things to see along the way so we ve decided to put together a brief guide to the main trails. Wherryman s Way: This 37.5 mile route links Norwich with Great Yarmouth and runs through the heart of the Norfolk Broads, through reedbeds, lush meadows and quiet riverside villages. Wherryman s Way takes its name from the large barge, the Wherry with black sails which once sailed these waters. You don t have to tackle the full 37.5 miles in one go though, the route is split by 10 shorter, circular routes and the whole trail is marked with information panels and audio points. The Nar Valley Way: This 34 mile route combines countryside strolls with a unique insight into Norfolk s history. It runs from the market town of King s Lynn to the museum of Rural Life at Gressenhall, linking with other major routes such as the Wash Coast Path and the Peddars Way. Sir Peter Scott Walk: This historic trail starts in Norfolk and finishes 10 miles away in Lincolnshire. Sir Peter Scott, was an ornithologist, naturalist and painter who lived in a lighthouse on the banks of the River Nene. This route hugs the sea wall all the way from the ferry crossing in King s Lynn to the mouth of the River Nene. Enjoying views of the sprawling Wash and north Fens, it s an extremely rewarding walk, especially if you make it the whole 13.5 miles! The Norfolk Coast Path: It goes without saying that the Norfolk Coast Path reveals outstanding scenery and offers unbeatable opportunities to experience the diverse wildlife that Norfolk has to offer. Running 42 miles from Hunstanton to Cromer, the route passes through vibrant seaside resorts, quiet fishing villages and across towering dunes and clifftops. In 2014, a new section of coast path was opened past Cromer to form part of the English Coast Path. Marriott s Way: The 26 mile footpath links the stunning city of Norwich with the market town of Aylsham set in the Norfolk countryside.

11 The route uses two disused railways which passes through wildlife-rich countryside, historic landscapes and it takes in the Wensum river valley and Whitwell Common. The great thing about this route is that it s suitable for everyone being a popular choice with both cyclists and horse riders. Paston Way: This 22 mile walk is the best way to experience some of Norfolk s most impressive medieval churches. The route links Cromer with North Walsham taking you down quiet country lanes, through lush fields and meadows and along disused railways. You ll set eyes on stunning views and you may even spot some of Norfolk s rich wildlife. If you are interested in visiting the churches, there are 14 in total which extends the trail to 29.6 miles. Peddars Way: Linking Suffolk with Norfolk, this route begins in the Brecks before heading up through the county and across the border into Norfolk, ending up in Hunstanton on the North Norfolk Coast. The 46 mile route combines with the Norfolk Coast Path to make one of the 15 National Trails in England and Wales. The route heads along a Roman built road and takes its name from the Latin word pedester, which means on foot. Weavers Way: Taking its name from the area s weaving industry, the trail is 61 miles long and connects Cromer and Great Yarmouth. There s a lot to see along this route taking in a real variety of landscapes from woodland and fields to windpumps, country houses, flint churches and historic train buildings and bridges. It will also take you along the banks of the River Thurne, Bure and Yare. Angles Way: Probably one of the longest routes in Norfolk, Angles Way meanders along the Norfolk and Suffolk border for 93 miles. Beginning and ending in Norfolk, the route dips into Suffolk in the middle, taking in some of the county s popular market towns. The trail starts in Great Yarmouth, before passing through Beccles, Bungay, Harleston and Diss and then heading through Knettishall Heath to Thetford. Wensum Way: A shorter route which is easily achievable by all abilities, Wensum Way runs for 12 miles through breathtaking Norfolk scenery and along the banks of the river which has given the route its name. This route links the Nar Valley Way with the Marriott's Way. Like all Norfolk trails, there is much to be discovered along the Wensum Way from tranquil little villages to views that will take your breath away.

12 EXPLORE MORE COAST: Access for all by Martin Caplin Norfolk s Trails network offers a varied and unrivalled outdoor experience for many people. Having said that, the nature of footpaths means they offer challenges to people with mobility issues and other disabilities. However, with a bit of help, disabled users of the trails network can get out into parts of the countryside they may have considered off limits. With this in mind I have been looking at some of our Circular Walks to assess their suitability for access for all. There are two very good reasons for doing so: 1. To provide information about existing routes so users know what to expect and can have more confidence in planning excursions; 2. To identify where are the best places for public money to be spent. As part of the Explore More Coast project we are promoting, signposting and improving twenty circular walks that start on or near the coast path. Many of these walks had steep terrain or surfaces that were too rough to roll a wheelchair across. We had difficulty finding circular routes which were suitable for all but we did manage to identify several likely candidates. These routes are, for the most part, along more urban sections of the coast path where good surfaces, parking, bus stops and disabled toilets can be found. They often start in the coastal towns but loop around into the surrounding countryside. After identifying these possible routes I enlisted the help of people from disabled access groups to roll the routes in their wheelchairs.

13 I was joined by George from the Norwich Access Group who used a motorised scooter to audit three routes around Great Yarmouth and by Ally and Stuart from Open Trails to look at North Norfolk. Open Trails are championing the Mountain Trike, which is a cross between a wheelchair and a Mountain Bike. The Mountain Trike can cope with mud, kerbs and slopes over 1 in 10 gradient and is a game changer, enabling disabled people to go places they couldn t before. These groups campaign for better access and information to help disabled people enjoy more of the countryside and we look forward to working with them more in the future. Before we worked together, I had a poor understanding of the challenges involved and often overlooked issues that an able bodied person wouldn t appreciate. Steep hills (even in Norfolk!) and dropped kerbs that hadn t been dropped quite enough are issues in particular that wouldn t have occurred to me before I started working with these inspirational people. Ally from Open Trails ascending a slope onto the Coast Path at Blakeney Freshers. George from Norfolk Access Group approaching a kerb that needs dropping. To date we have looked at routes in Great Yarmouth and one at Borough Castle near Gorleston, a linear section of the coast path at Moreston and circulars walks at Blakeney and Wells. Not one was completely accessible by the guidelines published by the BT Countryside for All Accessibility Standards. Some problems were easy fixes requiring a modest budget to remedy. These include the installation of dropped kerbs and clear signage. With clear signage being particularly important for people that are hard of hearing as they may find it difficult to ask for directions. Also, putting signage at a height where it is visible to a seated wheelchair user is key. Other problems we identified require more funds than are available within the Explore More Coast budget at this time and will require working in partnership with other organisations. Such as the consolidation of the sea wall between Blakeney and Morston in partnership with the Environment Agency. Other problems, such as steep hills or flights of steps cannot be changed without a big bill. Here we can provide information about the terrain so that people can choose whether or not to tackle it. Also by highlighting obstacles these can then be considered in the future when funds become available. The information we gathered and plan to publish consists of surface texture, gradient, cross gradient, path width, obstacles such as gates, as well as absolute barriers such as stiles and steps. George and I used a inclinometer to measure the steepness of slopes, but other factors need to be considered such as the sustained length of the slope and the cross gradient of the slope. We plan to display this information on a colour coded map of the routes showing extent and nature of the terrain plus specific hazards at highlighted points. This has been a very rewarding experience and an opportunity for us to learn more about our network and the needs of its different users. In the next newsletter we will provide information about the auditing process for Access for All and ways in which volunteers can help and get involved.

14 NBIS EVENTS: Brecks Bug Sorting 48hr Marathon Santon Downham Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th January 2016 from 10am to 4pm We have set ourselves a unique wildlife challenge - to group 56 batches of invertebrates into different families (e.g. beetles, ants, spiders). The invertebrates were caught back in October 2015, and are sitting in storage waiting for this weekend. Each participant will take on at least two batches per day, and with the help of our on hand experienced mentors, they will split the specimens into different families. At the end of the weekend the sorted material will be sent to experts for identification, and will contribute to forwards the findings of an ongoing research project which is looking into the effects of different management techniques on Brecks biodiversity. This event is a fantastic opportunity to get to grips with different invertebrate groups and to contribute to an important piece of scientific research. By the end of the weekend participants will be able to recognise key invertebrate families. We are also hoping to host a few taxonomic experts over the course of the weekend to offer participants a further insight into the key invertebrate families. Carabus nemoralis (Bronze Carabid) ground beetle No previous experience of invertebrate work is required, but a desire to learn more about natural history is welcomed. Participants willing to join both days would be preferred, as this will provide continuity and will help their own learning experience, but we can accommodate for one day. Please note, this event is not suitable for children. The event is free but booking is essential: Lichens of the Brecks - Churchyard Lichens at Brandon Church. Saturday 27th February 2016 at 10:30 Discover more about these fascinating organisms (part fungus, part plant). This field meeting will provide an introduction to identifying and recording lichen. It will act as a taster session and those keen to develop their skills further will be able to sign up for a full workshop in The event is free but booking is essential:

15 Introduction Sessions for Wildlife Recorders of Tomorrow project Various dates (17th, 20th and 27th January plus 17th, 20th, 21st and 24th February) The Brecks is an important area for wildlife both in a UK and international context. However, many of the species records come from a few well recorded designated sites, with recording often done on an ad hoc basis. This means that it is often difficult to detect changes in the biodiversity of the area. Pop along to one of these free sessions and we will give you the following information: Project summary; What your involvement in the project means; How you or your local community group can get involved, what wildlife you can record and how; How species surveillance and monitoring works and how to monitor a site effectively for wildlife over time; How we can support you; Details about species ID courses and workshops that will be provided to help improve your knowledge and skills; And of course plenty of opportunities to discuss your needs. The project will operate at 3 levels: Beginner: provide training and encouragement to those new to recording wildlife. Species surveillance: help people take the next step into more serious recording of sites. This will allow a number of important sites in the Brecks to be monitored and will also help to ensure sustainable long-term monitoring of sites where work is taking place as part of other BNG projects. Data collected will feed into the Norfolk Species Surveillance Network. River corridor survey Little Ouse headwaters to Brandon: A survey of the Little Ouse river, from its headwaters at Redgrave and Lopham Fens to Brandon. This is the only major river in Norfolk which has not yet been fully surveyed for non-native species and this type of survey is well suited to volunteers. The sessions are free but booking is essential: WILDLIFE ON THE TRAILS: Do you regularly spot wildlife when walking along Norfolk's Trails? If you do we would like to hear about it. Send your photos and stories to and we could feature your tale of the trail in our next newsletter. Facebook: NorfolkTrails If you need this document in large print, audio, Braille alternative format or different language please contact the Norfolk Trail office and we

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