Eliot Lyne, CEO of Norfolk Wildlife Trust; Richard Bacon MP; Louise Bond, who runs Bedingham Hall Farm; Heather Tyrell, a project volunteer with Norfolk Wildlife Trust; and Ben Newton, Habitat Connectivity Officer at Norfolk Wildlife Trust

MP praises local wildlife scheme

South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon recently visited a farm near Bungay to learn more about a wildlife recovery scheme developed by Norfolk Wildlife Trust in collaboration with local farmers.

Representatives of the Trust met with Mr Bacon at Bedingham Hall Farm, whose proprietor Louise Bond is one of the local farmers backing the scheme. The Wilder Connections project, part of the government’s Green Recovery Challenge, aims to restore and connect important habitats in the South Norfolk Claylands, helping to improve the local environment for both wildlife and people. As part of the scheme, volunteers from the Norfolk Wildlife Trust have taken part in various activities from laying hedges to restoring ponds to optimum condition as wildlife habitats. The project has already laid several miles of new hedging across farms in the area.

Mr Bacon said: “Sometimes intensive farming methods have led to the isolation of wildlife habitats from one another. Many decades ago the governments of the day were busy paying farmers to rip out hedges to grow more food. There is now much greater awareness of the damage which this did to wildlife. Joining up the separate habitats makes it easier for Mother Nature to do its job. Hedges are like nature’s motorways in the way they enable the spread of wildlife”.

Mr. Bacon added: "I am especially impressed by the collaborative effort and teamwork between landowners, Norfolk Wildlife Trust and local volunteers. It's great to see this work going on to clear ponds and improve habitats for wildlife. The government's support for farmers and wildlife organizations such as the Norfolk Wildlife Trust plays an important role in enhancing our natural environment."

The Claylands Wilder Connections project has two main components: connecting habitats and connecting people to local landscapes. The goal is to increase understanding of the local countryside and provide opportunities for the community to take action for the local environment.

Ben Newton, Habitat Connectivity Officer at the Norfolk Wildlife Trust, welcomed the support from Mr Bacon. "The project is a great example of how farming and wildlife can coexist," said Mr. Newton. "We have been delighted by the participation from landowners, and it is very encouraging that the MP for the region is showing an interest. With 70% of Norfolk being farmland, this project is a great opportunity to make a positive impact on the local environment."

For more information about the Claylands Wilder Connections project, please visit the Norfolk Wildlife Trust's website at www.norfolkwildlifetrust.org.uk/home