Burrfeld Park Birdwatch – 19th March 2011.
This was the first of a series of planned events in and around Burrfeld Park to find out what wildlife there is and hopefully to show it to people who want to see it. The weather felt like spring proper, with cloudless skies and real warmth in the sunshine. There were more birds than people, perhaps as a result of the weather, but those who did come along were treated to three Common Buzzards circling overhead, calling and displaying as they did. We can only hope that two of them set up residence in an undisturbed wood nearby.
We kept watch for two hours, and managed to clock up 23 species of bird, plus a nice Brimstone butterfly. We failed to see Mistle Thrush and Siskin that had been there at nine o’clock when I set the hide up, and we also missed Magpie, House Sparrow, Starling or any Woodpeckers, so with a little more luck, we could easily have had 30 species seen or heard from Burrfeld Park.
Other planned events include Moths and Bats on Friday 13th May at 8.00pm and a Dawn Chorus Walk on Sunday 8th May at 5.00am. It would be nice to get as many people taking part as possible – no need to book, just come along on the day.
The list for the day was:
Blue Tit Blackbird Great Tit Marsh Tit
Buzzard Coal Tit Greenfinch Dunnock
Chaffinch Pied Wagtail Goldfinch Black-headed Gull
Wren Sparrowhawk Robin Jackdaw
Collared Dove Pheasant Wood Pigeon Stock Dove
Carrion Crow Mallard Long-tailed Tit
Added May 2010
Spring has now arrived at Burrfeld Park and new growth is taking hold. The apple trees are already in blossom and a range of flowering plants are adding colour to the site. Improvements will continue to be caried out over coming years. In the meantime enjoy the area as a place for a gentle stroll, or brisk walk, or apple scrumping!
None of this would have been possible without the support of our hardy group of volunteers, so here’s a big thank you to all!
Added April 2010
Since the winter a lot has happened!
The volunteer day planned for 10th January had to be cancelled – we didn’t think we would be able to make much impact in the snow, but we had two very useful days on 7th Feburary and 13th March.
On Sunday 7th March about 20 people gathered together to clear the site some more and plant about 80 native trees. These trees were obtained free from an organisation called e-Forests, who organise carbon off-setting for companies.
Companies pay money to e-Forests who buy the trees and give them to organisations like ours, who do the work of planting them, in public places. Everybody’s happy!
We have planted an area of thirty hazel trees. Over the coming years these will be coppiced say every six years to keep the trees to a manageable size and allow wildlife to thrive.
A range of other native trees were also planted including hawthorn, blackthorn, spindle, guelder rose and alder buckthorn.
Another volunteer day was held on 13th March when 6 native apple trees were planted to form the orchard close to the centre of the site. The apple trees are all Norfolk varieties –
Norfolk Beauty –
Fruit is large and pale yellow with a slight red flush.
It cooks to a creamy puree with a sweet flavour.
Ripens in October.
Norfolk Beefing –
Large fruit with a dark green skin with a purple/red flush.
Used as a cooker in early season or kept to eat in spring. Famous for making “Biffins” where they are slow cooked in a bread oven.
Ripens in October but will keep until April.
Planting the apple trees turned out to be rather difficult since every hole we dug involved a battle with the gravel and flints in the ground and then the holes quickly filled up with water! However we eventually found sites for six holes and each tree carefully protected from rabbits and deer. The fruit will be available for all of us to enjoy!
Some areas of wildflowers have also been planted and these are surrounded by fencing to allow them to become established before the rabbits devour them as an interesting variation to their usual diet.
While rabbits keep the grass short to some extent, the Parish Council has arranged for the regular mowing of parts of the site for the summer months. In addition, small amounts of spraying will be carried out to keep the weed grouwth under control. Spraying will be with glyphosate which is absorbed through the leaves of the weeds it makes contact with and will not affect the trees we have planted. The spraying will be carried out by a licensed contactor to allow a diversity of plants to flourish rather than allowing the site to be dominated by nettles and weeds.
Added November 2009
We held the first Burrfeld Volunteer Day on 1st November. Previously, there has been a lot of important volunteer work done by individuals, but this was our first big group day.
Following a period of unseasonably warm and dry weather, on the day we chose there was more rain than in the previous six months! Nevertheless, a fearless group joined together and started to clear areas for planting, clear the wildflower area of brambles, and planted a number of native wild flowers. It was a wet day, but we enjoyed ourselves, and could see real progress being made. The effects of the weather were very slightly alleviated by hot tea and a biscuit.
Some people have asked where all the money came from for the boardwalk. Approximately £20,000 was successfully applied for from two funds that are specifically earmarked for environmental projects; the landfill tax fund run by a waste company known as WREN and the Big Lottery fund through the BBC’s Breathing Places scheme. See http://www.bbc.co.uk/breathingplaces/.
Added August 2009
As has been reported before, the main aim of the ‘park’ has been to preserve and enhance the wildlife which is to be found here. Also, it is important that visitors are able to enjoy the experience. Both the board walk and the grassy paths enable easy association with all that the area has to offer.
Bearing in mind the main aim, a local ecologist, Ms Angela Collins, having carried out a detailed survey of the site, has joined the Burrfeld Park sub committee and in future will be playing a major part in the development of this village amenity.
It is clear from Ms Collins’ investigations that some changes in emphasis are required if the full biodiversity potential is to realised. It is also proposed to carry out much of the work during what might be called ‘volunteer days’. Although we have a list of those who have said they will help, and we have been contacting them, we are anxious to hear from anybody else willing to become involved in this interesting community project. Ms Collins will be planning the work to be done at the site and hopefully bringing you this update in future additions of the quarterly and on the website.
This has been created, kindly donated and errected in position by John Mann.
We would like to invite the children of the village to give it a name, with the best suggestion being picked by the Burrfeld Park Sub-committee.
Entrants must be 11 years or under and suggested names along with name, adddress and telephone number can be placed in the box in the school entrance hall
or sent to the Clerk – 22 Henry Preston Road, Tasburgh or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Closing date is 31st September 2009.
Added May 2009
When this work is completed and the Parish Council is sure that it is safe to do so, the ‘park’ will be opened for everyone to enjoy. Of course there will still be a great deal of work to do, and as we have said before we will contact those who have said that they are willing to help, to show them the tasks which we would like done.
Burrfeld Park is not intended to be a playground and its main aim is to enhance and protect the wildlife which is present there.
However, it is intended that all who visit will enjoy the quiet walk or maybe sit awhile. In the early stages while much of the area is being cleared, reseeded or landscaped, it will be advisable to stay on the board walk for safety.
We intend eventually to have grassy walks around the wild flower beds but these will take some time to establish. We are open to offers of trees, especially fruit trees and of suitable native species of shrubs. Unfortunately, through no fault of our own, we lost the chance of a fully funded ‘open day’, but we are investigating alternative arrangements so watch this space and the new Notice Boards!
Added February 2009
Following the tendering exercise, the Parish Council has selected a contractor to carry out the structural work. Mr Peter Frizzell was chosen. Examples of his work had been seen by members of the
Burrfeld Park Sub-committee and found to be of a very high quality. We are indebted to Mr Ben Goodfellow for his help and guidance in the preparation of the final version of the contract under which the main structural work will be carried out.There was an important Biodiversity consideration with regard to the preliminary works and that involved the requirement to complete any removal of hedgerow plants during December and January.
Two sections needed to be taken out to accommodate the two kissing gate accesses to the park and this work was carried out on 30th January.It is planned for the main contract work to begin in March, and – weather and other conditions permitting – to take about three weeks. Once the gates, ramps, board-walk and rails are completed the landscaping can begin. Those who, some time ago, rashly volunteered to assist with this work will be hearing from us! Progress has been made regarding the tree-work mentioned in previous reports. Details of the work required have been submitted to the appropriate authority for approval and an application has been made for a grant towards the costs.
Most of the work is required for either safety or conservation considerations and also to assist the development of the area around the pond.If all goes well we hope to have an ‘official’ opening in June in conjunction with the BBC Breathing Spaces ‘spring-watch’ events.
Of course, the park will be open to be enjoyed before any ‘official’ events, indeed it will be opened as soon as the Parish Council considers that it is safe and suitable to do so.
Since all the trees on the site are either subjects of a preservation order individually or as a group, an application for permission to carry out the work had to be made to the appropriate authority. This is currently being processed together with an application for financial assistance, since grants are available for this kind of work. We have two offers of donations from sources which will remain anonymous for the time being to provide a new farm gate for the Park and for some fruit trees when the time is right. If you would like to join these donors please feel free to contact either Julie King, Clerk or Councillor John Mann. Once the structural work has been completed we will be in a better position to organise some projects for our very willing band of volunteers to assist with.
All the difficulties reported in the last Quarterly have been dealt with. Furthermore, we have considered various tender documents which have been returned from prospective contractors. Two companies were interested and we spent some time looking at examples of their work in order to try to make sure that we get the best value for this innovative village project. A small Parish Council sub-committee was formed to make the final recommendation to the Council and a contractor has been selected. The work should be completed by spring of next year. Tree surgeons have been consulted regarding some essential works to the trees on the Park and tenders for the work have been received. These have been reviewed and a contractor has been selected.
Added August 2008
Progress on the development of this small but important village amenity continues to be slow. However, by the time you read this we hope that planning permission for the change of use of the land will have been obtained and that queries raised by the Highways Department will have been answered satisfactorily. It is worth emphasising here that Burrfeld Park will, we envisage, be an interesting adjunct to a walk along Low Road, since there will be no car park at the site and parking in this part of Low Road is not practicable.
We can report that applications for financial assistance from The Big Lottery Fund, BBC Breathing Places Fund and a fund administered by The Waste Recycling Environmental Co Ltd (WREN) have been successful. This means that if we can meet the various and reasonable conditions of the administrators of these funds we will have about £20,000 towards the structural works we think are necessary to allow safe and convenient access to visitors to the Park.
Tenders have been invited from a number of contractors to undertake the work required and decisions regarding these should be made probably at the Parish Council meeting in August. It has also been necessary to consult a number of “tree experts” with regard to maintenance of the trees and bushes on the site, since all are subjects of long-standing Preservation Orders.
These problems should also be overcome in the not-too-distant future.
It has not been practicable to organise the willing team of volunteers yet, but once the structural work is completed there will much finishing to be completed such as tree planting, wild flower bed preparation, bird feeding stations and bat box construction etc, etc… Finally, we should thank Ms Sonja Seaton for her ecological report and Mr Steve Hammond for his advice and his assistance with the provision of a skip for the removal of a quantity of fencing which is no longer required.
Added May 2008
Much of the rubbish, left on the site by previous tenants, has been cleared, although there remains an unknown quantity still to be unearthed and taken away. The removal of the rubbish to recycling or to landfill was carried out by the South Norfolk Emergency Environmental Team, for which we were very grateful. We also thank Mrs Michelle Monck, District Councillor, for her help with this work.
Some of the most invasive weeds have been killed so the site should not become overgrown again too soon. We await the results of our applications for funding from the Big Lottery Fund’s Breathing Places grants scheme and also from WREN, the organisation which can award grants for projects like ours from some of the taxes raised from landfill charges.
We should know the results of both of these applications in June. In the meantime we can, hopefully, begin to engage our willing list of volunteers now that it looks as if some irritating insurance restrictions have been overcome.
Surprisingly, having worked closely with many departments of the South Norfolk Council on a number of aspects relating to our small park, we are now faced with planning permission problems arising from the change of use from agricultural to public amenity. Once these have been resolved and if we are lucky with the grants we should be able to have the main structural work completed by the autumn and it is hoped that you all then have access to this interesting village venture. Of course, it will take a number of years for parts of the project to mature and develop, but this will be part of the ongoing enjoyment.