Since October, we have been out with nurture groups from Framingham Earl and Aylsham High Schools three times, the students braving cold and wet to work on a whole range of tasks. Back in October, Framingham Earl pupils undertook clearance work at Hellesdon with the Norwich Fringe Project, stripping ivy and overgrowth from the historic platform and burning the waste material. Just before Christmas, a second group returned to Hellesdon, this time on a mission to help birds survive the winter. Collecting a range of wreath-making supplies (pictured), they began by crafting festive wreaths. This collection process was only briefly paused for some competitive zipwiring, as demonstrated here by Infrastructure Trainee Ella. I’m sad to report that she didn’t win. Back at school, the students used lard and birdseed to create a fatty mixture that they stuffed into pine cones to embellish the wreaths, or rolled into fat balls to provide some avian nutrition through the colder months.
January saw the first session of the academic year with Aylsham High School’s nurture group, who dove straight into an exploration of Marriott’s Way in spite of undeniably icy temperatures. The idea of this session was to focus on establishing a plan of action for the upcoming months, gathering ideas from the group about how this part of the path could be made better for everyone. After a brief introduction, the pupils ate their lunch under tree cover, scaling said tree fairly soon after. Walking along from the Tesco end, the pupils talked animatedly about their ideas for improvements and made notes as they went. Proving that you don’t need access to a zipwire for some good (not so clean) fun, a muddy bank along the route was instantaneously transformed into a slide, with the kids inventing ever more dramatic ways to descend as staff recalled the same spot last year alive with burrowing bees. Once the short stretch to Mileham Drive was travelled, we made our way back to the start to work in groups on SWOT analyses of the area. I was, as always, thoroughly impressed by the creativity and engagement of the group and can’t wait to start working with them regularly on Marriott’s Way. If you’re a regular user of the path in Aylsham, keep your eyes peeled for changes, and feel free to get in touch with any ideas of your own.