Investment of £1.3m in rivers

Funding of £1.3 million has been awarded to improve nine of Norfolk’s chalk streams including Gaywood River - just as an existing project ends.

The Gaywood Valley Project will be finishing next month but the work it has done to encourage people to explore, enjoy and protect the area will now go on.

Gemma Clark, Gaywood Valley Project Officer, will be taking on community involvement for the new project.

She said: “The nine rivers include the Gaywood, Glaven, Stiffkey, Babingley, Hun, Mun, Ingol, Heacham and Burn. It would be great if local communities in these areas who have a passion for their local river were to get in contact with me. At this stage we are looking to make contacts into the communities and see what they think of their rivers, identify where the problems and issues are and how they feel they can get involved.”

The Gaywood Valley Project along with the Norfolk Rivers Trust, Norfolk Coast Partnership and Norfolk County Council mounted a joint bid to secure Environment Agency funding to restore the chalk rivers.

The successful bid is the largest of the Environment Agency catchment restoration projects in the country. As well as improving water quality, quantity and ecology the project aims to get local communities involved in caring for their rivers so that when the grant cash runs out there is a legacy.

The Gaywood River is one of these rivers, meaning community events and awareness raising for the catchment will continue until spring 2015.

Norfolk Wildlife Trust has also put in a bid for Heritage Lottery funding to continue community wildlife events in the Gaywood Valley to maintain the outreach work already started by The Gaywood Valley Project.

The project has been recognised by the Department of the Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and the Scottish Government for its approach to communicating the message of the benefits nature provides us.

A series of free family events including a Gruffalo Walk for small children and stress busting workshop are being offered by Gaywood Valley Project.

The events are designed to be a final thank you to communities before the project winds up and The 9 Chalk Rivers Project begins.

Gemma Clark, project officer, said: “Their support has been absolutely vital to the success of the project.”

Events include:

Family wildlife event with nature themed arts and crafts, 10am - 2pm, tomorrow , at Gaywood Church Rooms, Gayton Road, Gaywood.

A Gruffalo Walk for small children, 10am, on Tuesday, March 26, at Reffley Woods. Meet at the entrance to Reffley Wood on Sandy Lane, PE30 3NY. Parking and toilets available.

A stress busting workshop, 9.30am-11.30am, Tuesday, March 12, at Gaywood Church Rooms. To book contact 01553 778024, email or Twitter @GaywoodValley