Walsham le Willows


 A coloured painting showing the new logo for the Wild Wood group.

Walsham Wild Wood aims to improve further our village environment through the restoration of woodland. We feel passionately that people benefit from contact with wild spaces, providing a sense of connection with the countryside, a space to walk and exercise and to experience nature. In turn these green spaces provide a haven for wildlife and contribute to maintaining the biodiversity of our countryside. Our local children are part of the Walsham Wild Wood project through their Forest School programme.

We have a lease from the Old Town Trust for a field behind the Walsham le Willows allotments which we have started to plant with native trees.

Anyone who would like to help us with events or just to find out more please contact: Janette Winch on 01359 258341 or on family.winch@btopenworld.com

Walsham Wild Wood is for everyone - do join us!

Current Events

On the 1st of March we will be holding a Mulching Morning from 10am – midday. Everyone is welcome to come along to mulch their sponsored trees and/or help with mulching the rest of the wood. Mulching material will be provided.

We plan to extend our Sponsorship scheme and will be planting in the autumn – details to follow.

We will have a Summer event and these details will also follow in the near future.

Past Events

We had a general works morning on the 14th December 2013 to prepare the site for winter.

We had a great response to our Tree Sponsorship scheme and sponsors include families as well as individuals and the sponsorships have been for all sorts of reasons. We had a very successful planting of the sponsored trees on the 23rd November 2013. Sponsored trees will be labelled so that families and friends can come along to see their trees as and when!

 A photograph a group of people surrounding a sapling.
‘Members of the History Group by their sponsored sapling’

 A photograph showing a family surrounding their sponsored tree.
‘The Frost family by their sponsored sapling!’

We had a Saplings Coffee morning on the 12th October 2013 for people to contribute any spare saplings to the nursery.

On the 8th of July 2013 we had our AGM attended by all of the committee and 2 members of the public. The Chair reported on our successful transition from a pressure group to an active committee culminating in our inaugural planting onthe 25th november 2012. We have held a variety of well attended events during the year attracting a fairly broasd base of support. The Treasurer reported on a successful year of generous private donations, grants and the start of our sponsorship scheme. The election of officers saw the current officers all returned to their previous roles without contest or resignation.

On the 22nd of June we had our Summer Event. We set up a circle of activities for the children in the Forest group area. We made jewellery from Elder stems, Dreamcatchers with Willow Hoops and Forest Crowns by finding leaves and grasses to stick on to Head Bands. We finished up with using whittled sticks to toast curls of bread dough over the pit fire. Lots of children came and they all found something to do - a great atmosphere and the weather just about held!

On the 25th of May we built a bridge over the far ditch to enable access across the site from the far side. It was a lovely summer day so the various 'discussions' about how to build it were 'softer' in the sunshine! There is now a mown path to the bridge and it is already in use.

On the 17th March we had our final spring planting. We planted a mix of donated whips from The Woodland Trust including crab apples and hazels. We also cleared most of our holding stock from our allotment bed and a couple of trees that had been donated directly to us. It was a very successful morning with good support from local families. The children did really well with the planting amd mulching and then had lots of fun splashing in the puddles at the end - great atmosphere.

On the 4th March we planted 6 mature birch saplings. These have added height to the site as the rest of our saplings are rather small and will obviously take a bit of time to grow. We need to encourage the vision of the wood!

We held our Pop Up Restaurant at the Village Memorial Hall. on the 16th February. It was a tremendous success with 52 guests raising just over £600.00 for our legal fees. The food was truly delicious. Guests had chosen in advance from an imaginative menu to avoid any waste. Many people had contributed to making the various dishes and the pleasure for everyone involved, when the food was served and enjoyed, made all the hard work well worth it! The Hall was transformed by candlelight , snow drops and silver birch giving a lovely backdrop to the evening. We were generously supported by Paul at Rolfes of Walsham, Shami at Wattisfield Wines and Carole Hubbard. Thank you.

We then had a further planting on the 16th December and the whole field has really taken shape as OUR WOOD. Thank you to everyone who helped on these days - a super community feel to the days.

 A photograph showing a field with people digging with two heaps of soil in the middle foreground and with the church in the far background.
Carrying on with the work!

We had our INAUGURAL PLANTING on the 25th November 2012. The previous week had been somewhat wet and windy and the land was rather muddy in places. However a wonderful bunch of people turned up well equipped with wellies and warm clothing. We had a donation of 420 saplings from The Woodland Trust including an Oak sapling from the Sandringham Estate to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. We planted a large Hazel coppice in one corner and a circle of Birch trees just off the main ride. We started planting the hedge line to the far corner together with the beginnings to the Forest School space.

 A photograph showing a field with a row of people watching the planting of a sapling by a crouching man alongside a small child. Everyone is dressed for a cold day!
Planting the Royal Oak

The children were given the task to mulch around each sapling using chippings donated by David Brown. The crowning moment came when Luke Sargeant planted the Sandringham Oak at the top of the ride from which point there is a lovely view down to the Parish Church. Frances Jenner then arrived with hot drinks, mince pies and sausage rolls which were much appreciated. The final act of the morning was to put up John Stebbing's hand carved Walsham Wild Wood sign.

In March 2012 we had a Spring work party at the school's wildlife area. We cleaned out the pond, pruned the willows, cleared the ground, saved logs and built new compost bins with pallets that were kindly given to us by Clarkes of Walsham. It was very satisfactory to see all the cleared brash chipped down ready for use, thank you David Brown. Another lovely sunny morning's work with much appreciated delicious refreshments provided by Frances Jenner.

On the same morning a group of school families worked at the Sports Club. They planted meadow plants around new trees in the far corner of the grounds. The children loved finding worms while digging the holes for the various plants. We all got quite muddy but it was warm and fun.

In December 2011 members of the steering committee collected a donated garden shed. It has been successfuly installed by the nursery bed at the allotments. It has made a great difference being able to keep our tools nearby.

We had the Tree Sapling Donation at the allotment nursery at the end of October 2011. Villagers were invited to donate any spare saplings and we were strict about native trees only! We offered hot drinks and delicious home made biscuits in exchange. We met some new people interested in the project and we had fun planting up the saplings with children and dogs adding to the community feel in the sunshine.

The Dimpsey Dark Storytelling event was held at the school at the beginning of October 2011. We had prepared for a cold autumn evening around an open fire with hot dogs but ended up with a gloriously warm evening with ice cream and cold drinks. The professional storyteller engaged the children and adults alike. The evening was a great success both for environmental awareness amongst the children and general sharing of commitment to the project amongst the adults.

In May 2011 a coach trip was arranged to go over the Lawshall Community Wood which has gradually been established over the past 17 years. It was a very informative and inspiring day out for everyone.

Our Background

In 2010 Walsham le Willows Primary School applied for, and was awarded, a Lottery Grant of £4,500 to create a local woodland. The school also received a grant of £500 from the Walsham Gardens Weekend for the same purpose. The school went into partnership with the Green Light Trust who have extensive support and leadership experience in this type of project. This includes raising awareness among the children, various pieces of work about trees and woods and the countryside, the building of a tree nursery in the school grounds, and the collection and planting of seeds from local sources.

In the early summer an open meeting was held for parents and villagers. This was presented by the Green Light Trust and resulted in the creation of an extensive list of villagers who were keen to offer practical assistance to the establishment of a community wood and a second list of individuals prepared to serve on a steering committee.

By the autumn of 2010 a steering committee for Walsham Wild Wood was formally established to manage finances, obtain suitable land and to oversee the creation of the community wood.

The children took part in a competition to design a logo for Walsham Wild Wood. Lots of colourful entries were received and you see the eventual winning entry by Daniel Moore at the top of this page.

Two people, Alison Findlay and Lynette Mecrow, have started their Forest Schools training in accordance with the conditions of the Lottery Grant. Alison is also on the steering committee and therefore can keep us informed of their progress and the work with the children

We obtained a nursery bed at the allotments in addition to the space at the school.

People and Contacts

Steering Committee (elected 8th July 2013)

Please contact: Janette Winch (258341), or email on: family.winch@btopenworld.com

 A photograph showing three ladies and one man working on a rather bare piece of land.
'Our nursery holding bed.'

A photograph showng three people planting a tree in a large field.
'Planting Silver Birches.'

 A photograph showing three men building a bridge with various pieces of wood.
'Building the bridge.'

 A photograph showing a man beside a ditch which is shown 'running away' from the camera. there is a lady on the left of the ditch and she is holding a wheelbarrow whilst a man is standing on the right of the ditch facing away from the camera.
'The drainage ditch that was dug by Scott Parim, another one of our invaluable volunteers.'

As you can see, we have this page on the village website: www.walsham-le-willows.org

We contribute articles to our local magazine 'The Walsham Observer'.

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