Thursday, 3 December 2015

Winter access to Thorpe Marshes

Chris Durdin, NWT Volunteer at Thorpe Marshes

I’d be the first to admit that a walk at NWT Thorpe Marshes on a grey morning is often more about fresh air and exercise than wildlife watching.

That said, if you don’t get out you won’t encounter wildlife, and it’s always pleasure to hear squealing water rails, singing Cetti’s warblers or the ‘tsip’ of a wintering meadow pipit. As autumn turns to winter, more ducks appear: a male goosander flew past last time I walked round, and there’s usually a goldeneye or two with tufted ducks and teals on the gravel pit, St Andrews Broad.

Hogweed, photo by Chris Durdin
None of these species are that unusual for a reserve in the Yare Valley, but they still hold an element of surprise in what could reasonably be described as a suburban setting on the edge of Norwich.

I also enjoy the flowers that persist late in the year. White dead-nettle just seems to go on and on. A particular favourite is hogweed, especially if you can find one tinged with pink. It’s also a valuable late nectar source.

Railway bridge into NWT Thorpe Marshes, to be shut for restoration work
The main reason for writing now is to alert blog readers to a change in access coming soon. The usual pedestrian entrance into the reserve is over the railway bridge in Whitlingham Lane. This is scheduled to be shut for major repairs from 5 December to the end of March. You can still walk around the reserve but for this period the way in on foot will be from Bungalow Lane, farther east along Yarmouth Road, and that’s also the plan for guided walks.

It’s worth adding that the Trust’s management gives the landscape a ‘work-in-progress’ feel, with newly dug ponds, ditching work and paths being restored. All good things for the longer term, of course.

Chris Durdin leads monthly wildlife walks at NWT Thorpe Marshes. Details of monthly walks on 

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