The project at Beacon Park woodlands, Gorleston was started by The Conservation Volunteers back in January 2012 when they set up the Great Yarmouth Green Gym (GYGG). GYGG is now an independent community group run entirely by volunteers and we are part of the TCV Community Network.
The woodland was planted in 1995 by Great Yarmouth Borough Council as a shelter belt for the Beacon Park development which is currently in progress. No woodland management at all was carried out in that time and the woodland was inaccessible until the project started in 2012 and we have now created a 2 mile circular walk and we are working hard each week improving the site by thinning, coppicing and pollarding trees and cutting back scrub to let light in to encourage understorey plants, shrubs and wildflowers. We are also installing bird, bee and bat boxes and making “mini-beast hotels” to improve diversity.
We are also improving the pathway we have already created by making clearings and putting in benches around the woods so that people can sit and watch the wildlife.
In 2013 our work at Beacon Park woodlands won an award at the Norfolk Community Biodiversity Awards under the Site Category. The judging panel were highly impressed with all that has been achieved “…… to turn the site from an unknown and inaccessible thicket, to a welcoming new green space with 2 miles of woodland walks, available to everyone”.
They particularly liked how the project has welcomed volunteers from across the community and also appreciated the number of local people who will directly benefit from the woodland. This is the first time any site in the Great Yarmouth area has won such an award.