August 2016 - Bawburgh's Nature Reserve (Article with thanks to Victoria Smillie)
“I’ve got to have it!”
‘It’ is a large field in Bawburgh. Just under five hectares, and prone to flooding in the lower stretches.
The enthusiastic prospective purchaser was Margaret Gurney. She and her partner of twenty-three years, David Puttock, are now owners of a field bordering the River Yare as far as the A47.
David had always wanted woodland of his own. A man who had spent much of his life as a diver for offshore enterprises all over the world, but who had “always wanted a wood as long as I could remember. To look after it”. For many years Margaret ran an engineering business, but despite the disparity between their earlier careers and this Bawburgh initiative she and David, together, are evidently committed to nurturing this riverside land and their personal commitment and personal efforts cannot be doubted.
They share an enthusiasm to nurture their plot. Already they have planted over 200 trees, all native species. These include oak, beech, birch, wild cherry and hornbeam. Horse chestnut seedlings are yet to come. A modest orchard of native fruit and nut trees is planned. Whilst they have had support from the Woodland Trust of over 100 saplings the vast majority of the resource and commitment comes from David and Margaret.
Some Bawburgh residents were concerned when Margaret and David introduced their modest caravan and container to the edge of the meadow. They live in Brundall, and when working, along with their equipment, they need space to rest and recover. They also need to consider the needs of their elderly Jack Russell, Bow.
Both Margaret and David speak warmly of the welcome and encouragement they have received from local residents. Those who regularly walk the meadow continue to be welcome, as long of course that they clear up after their dogs.
For the future? This indefatigable couple hope to restore and revive the water meadow on the lower land reintroducing native plant species. And elsewhere there are hedgehog homes in place and owl and bird boxes planned.
The health of the meadow, the woodland, the riverside are those ideals Margaret and David are working for. The Bawburgh community and the natural habitat of the Yare valley must surely benefit from their work.
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