FENLANDER: Wonders worked in neglected Fenland wilderness

A NEGLECTED wilderness area in March is undergoing a big tidy-up to make it easier for people to enjoy the peace and quiet there.

The Norwood Road Nature Reserve is a little known and little used area that backs on to the railway line. It has become very overgrown, with its paths largely inaccessible to visitors.

Over the past month Fenland District Council’s Street Pride and Safer Fenland teams have been working with young people from Nacro, the crime reduction charity, on a joint project to clear it up.

It is part of a scheme called junior FEET (Fenland Environmental Enhancement Team), which is a joint initiative with the probation service aimed at reducing re-offending among younger people.

The youthful working party have been busy cutting back trees, rebuilding and extending a footpath using old railway sleepers, digging out a drainage trough and removing litter from the reserve.

Jeanette Milner, FDC’s Street Pride coordinator, said: “Everyone has worked really hard, learning new skills and getting a lot of satisfaction from a job well done. Lots of people aren’t even aware that this beautiful spot exists and we want to encourage them to come and enjoy it.”

Ginny Burgess, team manager at Nacro Wisbech, said: “We’re really pleased to work on this joint project. We see a real benefit for these young people in this kind of hands-on work where they see very positive results. It gives them a real sense of achievement and pride.”

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Over the summer people on the Community Payback scheme will also be getting involved in helping to maintain the area. Alan Moore, the Community Payback manager for Fenland, said: “This is a job that needs doing and will be of great benefit to local people.”

The site originally contained several cottages and a railway “borrow pit” from which ballast was removed. The pit has since flooded to create a deep pool, and the reserve now contains a wide variety of wildlife habitats.

The water attracts coot, moorhen and mallard, as well as nesting sedge and reed warblers. The reserve is also rich in butterflies and other insects.

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