Hopes to attract Sand Martins to Snettisham Common

Snettisham Parish Council Chair Eric Langford and Ann Lamplugh (Lead Councilor for the Commom, in front of the the newly cleared quarry area, which they are hoping to encourage nesting sand martins once again. ANL-150904-142246009
Snettisham Parish Council Chair Eric Langford and Ann Lamplugh (Lead Councilor for the Commom, in front of the the newly cleared quarry area, which they are hoping to encourage nesting sand martins once again. ANL-150904-142246009
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Sand martins are hoped to be attracted once more to an overgrown common after it has received a make-over from villagers.

Volunteers and members of Snettisham Parish Council are rescuing old heather beds on the village’s common, which have been hidden under an invasion of silver birch trees .

New pathways are being installed on the common to make it more accessible for visitors and there are also hopes for a picnic area.

The council is also looking to create a pet cemetery for ashes on the site but is hoping to gauge opinions on this and other village issues during an open day in the Memorial Hall tomorrow.

Chairman of the parish council Eric Langford is pleased with the transformation.

He said: “It is nice to see this area become a common area once more.

“The feedback we are getting has been really good from elderly people, who remember the common as it was, and young people are saying what a wonderful space it is.

“The great hope is that we will attract Sand Martins back to the common - that would be really exciting.

“It won’t happen this year but it could happen next year.”

Snettisham Common, which is found off Beach Road, covers 20 acres and is attached to former allotment land.

Within the common are two acres of heather beds.

Mr Langford said: “Everyone knew they were there but it was a real shock when the experts came in. In the old days, the beds used to be rejuvenated every couple of years but they have been covered by silver birch.

“Experts have said we only have five or ten years of life so we have to get some more planting and rejuvenation going.

“We have to clear the silver birch before we can start planting later in the year.

“It is very important as we know there are adders and grass snakes in this area.”

Mr Langford says scientists are also interested in some of the features which have been rediscovered on the common.

He said: “We have to say a big thank you from the council to all the volunteers who have helped to clear out the area.”

The council is considering creating an area for owners to bury their pets ashes, which will be discussed during the open day tomorrow.

Councillors will also be talking about its street lighting programme along with other projects undertaken in the last few years during the event, which runs from 2pm to 5pm.

Snettisham Sailing Club and the RSPB will also be taking part.

n A walk is being organised on Monday, May 4, at 11am to celebrate the beach path becoming an official public path.

The council and villagers had been arguing over the status of the beach path for years with property owners who said it had never been a public right of way. A planning inquiry ruled it was a public path.