Dipping platform for Pigneys Wood

If you go down to Pigneys Wood today you're sure of a Big Lottery surprise – �47,000 worth of improvements since February.

Now trustees are hoping more people will visit the 57-acre attraction, on the outskirts of North Walsham, and help Pigneys live up to its 'community woodland' name.

Members of conservation charity BTCV have been putting the finishing touches to a dipping platform and boardwalk beside one of two ponds which have been created in the woodland where thousands of trees have been planted since it was opened in 1993.

Debbie Murray, BTCV senior project officer, said: 'We want schoolchildren to come and use it. It's really important that they find out about wildlife. Every village used to have a pond but so many have been lost over the years because of housing and shopping developments.'

Pigneys trustee David Gosling said he would like to hear from schools and any other groups interested in making use of the platform, created from recycled plastic which has a lifespan of about 30 years – twice that of timber.

The pond is part of a wetland area which Mr Gosling believes is the only non-cultivated stretch of land beside the nearby North Walsham and Dilham Canal.

Trustees are hoping to extend and maintain it so that it will attract a rich diversity of wildlife, including wading birds.

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They have also created a mud bank which will be punched with holes to attract kingfishers.

Almost half the lottery grant has paid for a stone track to be laid into the woodland so that maintenance vehicles and other machinery can get in and out, said Mr Gosling. Other purchases include two large containers for storing equipment, a prominent noticeboard, and colour-marked posts for three new woodland trails, ranging from less than a mile to about three miles, due to be completed by the end of the month.

Anyone wanting to help with work in the woodland can turn up at the site's car park on the second and fourth Saturdays of each month at 9.30am.

For more information about Pigneys contact Mr Gosling on 077 89 20 66 21. The BTCV is keen to recruit more volunteer help with its many projects and would especially welcome women and retired people. Email Ms Murray: d.murray@btcv.org.uk