Wildlife Friendly Villages NIB
Making a Difference in the Community Today
Wildlife Friendly Villages NIB has taken up the challenge of trying to increase biodiversity within our villages as part of the growing Wildlife Friendly Communities Initiative. See our inspiration links below. We believe that a single action can make a difference in the community, and that collective action can greatly impact the world.
Who We Are
We are a group of residents of the villages Neatishead, Irstead and Barton Turf in Norfolk who want to encourage wildlife interaction within the community, sharing information and knowledge to make our gardens and surrounding areas more wildlife friendly thereby increasing biodiversity.
We are not experts but are enthusiastic about making a difference for our wildlife.
We have been given advice from our Norfolk Wildlife Trust and local Council together with other neighbouring conservation schemes who have been extremely helpful with ideas on what we can do to improve our local areas for wildlife.
Any planting, wilding etc. will be carried out by following expert advice and with permission of the relevant landowner.
Important Environments for Wildlife to Flourish
UK gardens cover around 433,000 hectares (4,330 sq kms) of land. That's about three times the size of Greater London. We can do so much more to welcome wildlife into our gardens such as plant the right plants for bees and butterflys, add water from ponds to bird baths, make your own compost, leave out food for birds, add bird and bat boxes and ditch the chemicals.
Hedgehogs are a gardener's friend, as they eat snails, slugs and insects. Make a hedgehog a home by leaving areas of the garden 'wild', with piles of leaf litter and logs. These are an attractive nest as well as a home for the invertebrates (slugs, beetles) that hedgehogs like to eat. Making an artificial home can be as simple as placing a piece of board against a wall.
Norfolk is a particularly good area for hedges because of the rich diversity of its landscapes, both man-made and natural. It contains a wide variety of soil types, ranging from acid sands and gravels, through rich loams and alluvium, to heavy clay. It lies astride the conventional boundary between the ‘planned’ and the ‘ancient’ countryside: in the west of the county, field patterns were largely created by planned post-medieval enclosure, but in the south and east, they have much earlier origins. Moreover, although the county suffered badly from the intensification of agriculture in the second half of the twentieth century, in most districts substantial numbers of hedges still remain.
Management practices are crucial to the maintenance of a healthy hedge beneficial to wildlife: hedge laying, where the layed stems die off as the new shoots grow provides a source of dead wood. Coppicing, where stems are cut just above the ground, can provide a new lease of life to seriously damaged hedgerows. The timing of management is important to get the best from a hedge and avoid disturbance to animals breeding or over-wintering. The cutting cycle will determine the availability of fruits and flowers in a hedge; typically a cycle of two to three years is most beneficial for wildlife.
Over 700 species of wild flower grow on the UK’s road verges – nearly 45% of our total flora. And where wild flowers lead, wildlife follows… a multitude of bees, butterflies, birds and bugs. All enjoyed by 23 million road commuters.
However, our road verges are under considerable pressure. Priorities for safety and access, alongside budget constraints, a desire for ‘neatness’ and difficulties with the collection of litter and grass clippings all mean that enhancing their wildlife value is often low on the list.
Our management guidelines can be summed up as ‘cut less, cut later’ and their adoption by councils and other highways authorities will significantly improve the health of our verges. We want flowers to be allowed to flower so pollinators can work their magic and seeds can ripen and fall to the ground. In this way, the floral display will become better and better every year.
The UK's woodland is home to a wealth of wildlife, from shade-loving plants and delicate fungi, to nesting birds, elusive mammals and rare insects. Ancient woodland in particular supports more species than any other land-based habitat in the UK.
But woodland cover in the UK is one of the lowest in Europe, and as a country we need to do more to increase it to help meet the needs of our wildlife. If we don't protect what we have left and work to create woodlands of the future, we stand to lose more than just trees.
If you have any questions, get in touch with us today.
Stay in the Know
Neatishead Village Hall (2021)
Grass in this area behind the hall has been broken up with rakes and as much as possible of the grass has been removed. Wildflower seed (predominantly yellow rattle) has been mixed with sand and spread across the area. More wildflower seed will be planted in the area in spring 2022.
Another larger area has been roped off and will remain uncut until mid to late summer to see which species of plant grow in the area. After the cuttings have been raked off to reduce the fertility of the soil, it will be spread with green hay from a nearby wildflower meadow so that seeds from the hay fall onto the ground. This hay will then be raked off.
Neatishead Village Hall (2022)
Saplings of native wildlife friendly varieties were planted in the hedge between the village hall grounds and the Parish Council car park to fill in gaps. The saplings were given to us free of charge by North Norfolk District Council as part of their '110k trees for North Norfolk' initiative.
What We Aim To Do
At Wildlife Friendly Villages NIB, we are dedicated to encouraging all ages within the local community to take part in activities to enable species to thrive in our gardens, hedges, verges and open spaces. Through cooperation and community empowerment we believe we can facilitate progress in this area. We will always strive to make a difference, and invite you to learn more and lend your support. We want to encourage younger generations in our villages to become more wildlife aware and to become future protectors of biodiversity within our villages.
With this initiative, our goal is to educate ourselves about other species that share our world and put in place measures to restore and recover environmental biodiversity within our villages and surrounding areas. We aim to learn from other community projects around the country, understand their experiences and build a network.
Anyone in our three villages can take part.
Regular commitment is not necessary. Those who wish to take part in actions such as planting, recording species, surveys, maintaining wildlife friendly areas will be very welcome. Others may just wish to share information about their wildlife sightings on our social media platforms or may just want to read about what we do.
We are so happy you’re interested in getting involved with our work here at WildlifeFriendlyVillages NIB. There are so many ways for you to help, and we truly appreciate each and every effort. By lending your support, you’ll become a valuable part of our Wildlife Conservation Organisation and help to strengthen our operations.
Stay in the Know
Barton Turf Village Pond Restoration Project - NWT are helping to make this possible in partnership with the Parish Council.
Check out more WildlifeFriendlyVillagesNIB news NCC One Million Trees Project
Local Wildlife and Interesting Local Scenes
These photos were taken within our 3 villages. Please send us your images if you would like to see them here.
Take a Look
check out the Past Events listed below to learn more.
We'll keep you up to date with what's been happening in our 3 villages.
Vincent van Gogh
"Great things are done by a series of small things brought together"