Over her time on the project Maddy has overseen the engagement of nearly 30 different schools, studying subjects as diverse as poetry, history and ecology. With just over two weeks to go until Maddy's last day with the Marriott’s Way Heritage Trail, we’re down to the final few sessions with Norfolk schools. This week, we had a visit from an enthusiastic group of year sixes from Coltishall Primary School and next week Valley Primary - one of the first schools Maddy got to work with on the MWHT - will round off the school year.
Over the course of the project, Maddy has lead a vibrant learning program at sites stretching along Marriott’s Way for sessions focusing on topics as diverse as Victorian railway building and WW2. It has been amazing for the project and team to be able to meet so many young people, who have worked so hard, bringing hundreds of new perspectives to the natural and industrial heritage of Marriott’s Way. Resources for teachers, or anyone, who might bring children to the Marriott’s Way will soon be available on our website, along with snippets of the work carried out by some of our previous visitors. Children from St Michael’s in Aylsham recently designed a beautiful series of wildflower cards, inspired by their trips to the trail. These too will shortly be up online.
Maddy has also been a key player in working alongside volunteers to research and collate the Heritage Archives and gather oral histories from M&GN veterans. Ever ready to get stuck in, she will be greatly missed by all along the 26 mile route. Maddy is going on to an exciting new heritage project with Humanists UK, and we wish her every success for the future!
There has been a great boost in momentum on our community play ‘Stories Down the Line’. Now with a cast, chorus and stage team that is some twenty bodies strong, our weekly gatherings at Aylsham Recreation Ground Pavilion have provided a fabulous opportunity to get to know each other, familiarise ourselves with lyrics and scripts and generally enjoy plenty of silliness. The energy and enthusiasm from our group has been great and made our meetings so much fun to be part of.
Simon will be bringing the next set of rehearsals to St Augustine’s (NR3 1DS), and Whitwell & Reepham Station (NR10 4GA). Here our trusty band of amdrams will get their parts, learn the lines, sing and act their socks off. There’ll also be plenty of opportunities to get stuck into prop and costume making later in the summer. We can’t wait to share our next updates.
There’s still plenty of time to get involved, so why not join us at our next meeting?
St Augustine's Hall, Norwich, on Monday 15th July, 19:00 – 21:30
The Community Biodiversity Awards celebrate the contributions of groups and individuals all over the county working to improve and protect Norfolk’s biodiversity. This year, Joe Zilch is being highly commended for his efforts to inspire a love of nature and the outdoors in young people, exemplified by the hugely successful programme of field studies sessions designed and co-delivered by him for the Marriott’s Way Heritage Trail project.
Currently, Joe is back working with the Field Studies Council in Wales, having finished his Biological Sciences degree at UEA. But his work with the project enabled hundreds of children from across the county to visit Marriott’s Way and enjoy activities from minibeast hunting to den building, increasing knowledge and inspiring a love of the natural world.
This month Maddy, our Education Coordinator, has been busy with groups of all ages doing historical and biology sessions. A-level Students from Dereham Sixth Form College participated in Biodiversity seminars and field day research with support from UEA specialists. The students were out armed with trays, pooters and butterfly nets and got the opportunity to do various activities including insect identification and the analysis of water quality indicator invertebrate species.
Coltishall Primary school brought their year 4 students to do an evacuee day at Whitwell and Reepham Train Station. They were all in fabulous period costume and spent the day riding the passenger coach (pulled by Whitwell and Reepham’s diesel loco 0-4-0 Ruston 518494 ‘Swanworth’), writing war journals and exploring through drama and real-life stories what it would have been like to have been a evacuee.
Volunteers from the Norwich’s TCV group (The Community Volunteering Charity) have been busy helping the Norfolk County Council Invasive Species officer with the Himalayan Balsam that has spread over various sites and trails. This month they’ve been focusing on large pockets of Balsam growth along the river Wensum which included Marriott’s Way and Taverham Mill Fishery as a focus. Marriott’s Way Project Trainee Alanna joined Debbie’s team and they were soon waist deep in reeds and stinging nettles. The team worked tirelessly in the heat to clear the balsam, whose prolific growth can soon dominate a landscape and have damaging effects on water meadow and wetland ecology. Growing well over 6 foot in places and with wellies required for the boggier patches the TCV did a great job in clearing the area of many thousand plants. At this time of year it was important to clear as much as possible before it starts to flower so that the seed spread is limited, giving the native species in these ecologically sensitive areas a chance to recover.
TCV will be back along Marriott’s Way in August to clear and rake areas of ungrazed meadow land. If you would like to find out more about the invaluable work the Norwich TCV group do, or are interested in taking part visit TCV's website to search your area for local opportunities.
The project team, along with Norfolk Railway Heritage Group & FONCs have some busy weekends ahead of them this summer as their season of Working Weekends commences. The first weekend took place on 29th and 30th June, focusing on exposing some of the former coaling platform at the site of Norwich City Station. FONCs volunteers and Marriott’s Way Project team members slogged away in the heat and humidity of Train Wood to cut through the undergrowth of bramble, bindweed and nettle to allow them to dig down to expose the coaling platform brickwork. Hard work, but worth it!
The next volunteer days are July 13th, 14th, 27th and 28th. These weekends will be spent working on preserving the coal crane site and the further development and brickwork of the Platform 1 location.
You can join the volunteer team by arriving at Train Wood, in long trousers and sensible footwear, at 10am or 1.30pm on any of those days for a safety briefing. It’s as easy as that!
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