What have we been doing to help nature?

Every year we present a report to Forncett Parish Council outlining our activities and achievements. You can read them here:

April 2023 - April 2024

19.08.23.Minibeasts.Photo C Sharp 4asmChildren's Art Worshop, 2023. Photo: Carol Sharp

Forncett Nature Matters (FNM), a nature group with 85 supporters committed to increasing biodiversity in the Forncetts, had a varied programme of activity last year. 'The Art of Mini-beasts' was a very successful children’s event with artist Andy Jarrett (August). 'Trees – Rooted in Community' showcased the importance of trees to the environment (November). 'A Drama of Insect Loss' was a wonderful one-woman show by Helen Wells on the fate of the rare Grizzled Skipper butterfly (February 2024). We’ve also been out and about with a Spring Walk in April and a May visit to supporter Ros Joliffe’s Tas-side garden, where a colony of rare native crayfish has been spotted.

Spreading the word about reversing the decline in nature is crucial and we continue to have regular features in the Forncett Flyer and an article published in Village People last year. The village website is vital to share information and we update our pages regularly, whilst emailing a monthly newsletter to supporters. We had stalls at South Yare Wildlife Group’s event in Loddon in July and at the Forncett / South Norfolk Anti-Pylons walk in September. We have also been learning from others - visiting Wild Patch Open Gardens, co-ordinating with landowners for the recent meeting on the Tas River Catchment organized by the Norfolk Rivers Trust and NWT and attending Conservation Task Leaders Training.

We are partners with the Friends of St Peter’s in planning aspects of their National Lottery Heritage Fund grant application, including ‘Four Seasons in a Country Churchyard’. Recently the Parish Council has invited us to help with the Clear and Bloom Grant they received by identifying and planting up suitable sites.

It’s been a busy and successful year!

Ally Rae, FNM Steering Group


April 2022- April 2023

2023.01.20.Rivers.Photo A Rae 3asmA well attended evening on River Wildlife Corridors. Photo: Ally Rae

By sharing knowledge and ideas through talks, walks, articles and surveys Forncett Nature Matters (FNM) aims to enrich local biodiversity and link habitats. We currently have 60 supporters.

Our events in April ’22 began with a Hedge Walk, led by one of our members, looking at a successful mixed native species hedge planted by a FNM member with village volunteers and supported by the Tree Warden; a flourishing five year old hedge planted by a local farmer and an ancient hedgerow in water meadows above the Tas.These hedges all provide vital wildlife corridors.

In May, with insects in mind, we held a pollinator plant swap in the Village Hall and in July we carried out a Churchyard Plant Survey at St Peter’s with vital help from our members.

In October we had an Autumn walk and seed swap.

We had a successful series of talks: in September, ‘Ponds for Wildlife’ by one of our members; in January 2023 ‘River Wildlife Corridors’, where we caught a glimpse of many Tas river creatures including the rare white-clawed crayfish, and ‘How to Help Butterflies’ on zoom in February. River Wildlife Corridors proved particularly popular attracting over 50 people.

We supply advice to our members when it is asked for, for example on pond conservation work where trees need to be cleared to let in light and restore oxygen levels for the benefit of newts, toads, frogs and insects.

We are still adding wildlife friendly areas to our giant analogue village map, including verges and gardens. Our plans for the coming year are a rich mix to encourage more peopleto help nature flourish locally.

Hilary Hosea, FNM Steering Group.


April 2021- April 2022

2022.04.02.Hedgewalk.Photo C SharpLearning about hedges. Photo: Carol Sharp

This group came into being in October 2021, when a group of people, intensely interested in the natural world decided to pool their energies and knowledge into improving bio-diversity in the Forncetts.   One aim is to make green corridors, a bit like the National movement for a 'B-Line' which actually stands, not for bees, but bio-diversity.  We hope, like so many others, to help protect and support our rich but endangered wildlife, far too varied and numerous to list.  In order to do this we also need to consider the health of the soil, appropriate trees and plants and the river. To help us, we acquired a very large scale map of the Forncetts.  At our first meeting, we invited all those who were in accord with the general aims of the group and were willing to garden as organically as possible, to mark their garden on the map.  We hope to see where gardens and land can be joined by any extra planting or judicious cutting to improve the lot of wildflowers. The map will give us an idea of progress made.

Our web-site can be found on the village web-site and we plan regular meetings so that all can discover more about wildlife and how to support it. Also, we know there are people in the village who have expertise and we hope very much they will join us so that we learn in greater depth about the life-cycles and needs of wildlife.  So far we have had a 'dead-hedge' event, a meeting to examine and identify plants with berries which provide winter nourishment and a 'living-hedge' walk.  The next event is to be a 'Pollinator Plant Swap', to be held at the village hall on the 20th May.

We do not make any charges at present, but hope to cover the cost of hall-hire by asking for modest donations.  We hope lots of people will join and consider how they can make their own garden into a 'nature reserve'.

Claire Jordan, FNM Steering Group

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