New Broadland wood opens to the public
Harrison’s Wood, a 27 hectare site of mixed woodland east of Sprowston, is now open for the public to enjoy. The mixed woodland borders Salhouse Road and Blue Boar Lane and offers opportunities for local residents to get outdoors this spring and enjoy nature.
Broadland District Council has worked with Sprowston Town Council and the Norwich Fringe Project to get the wood ready for public access, as agreed in the Sprowston Neighbourhood Plan. Harrison’s wood was officially opened yesterday by councillors from Sprowston Town Council and Broadland District Council, along with children from Cecil Gowing Infant School.
Visitors can wander along the network of rides (paths) through the woods, passing through mixed evergreen and broadleaf trees including oak, rowan, silver birch and scots pine, and may be lucky to hear or spot birds such as chiffchaffs, treecreepers and great spotted woodpeckers.
Once originally part of Mousehold Heath, the site now lies within the White House Farm housing development area and will provide a great recreational benefit to the growing local community. As part of the development, the woods were scheduled to be made publicly accessible in a later phase, but this has been brought forward thanks to a loan from the Greater Norwich Growth Board (GNGB) who recognised the wood as a key green infrastructure project.
Broadland District Council commissioned Norfolk County Council to develop a Woodland Management Plan, and the Norwich Fringe Project to undertake a programme of works to make the wood ready for the public. The Norwich Fringe Project has cleared and waymarked footpaths, installed interpretation boards, improved entrances to the wood, cleared unsafe trees and branches and installed safe crossing measures from the Cottage Plantation car park on Blue Boar Lane.
Long term, the wood will be passed to the ownership of Sprowston Town Council who will manage the woodland and ensure its use for the local community as a place for recreation.
Councillor Ian Moncur, chairman of Sprowston Town Council, said: “I am delighted that this beautiful area is now open to the residents of Sprowston and I am sure it will enrich the lives of all visitors. A walk in woodland to green spaces provides benefits for physical health and mental wellbeing, yet only 18 per cent of people in the UK have woodland within easy walking distance of their homes. This additional facility will make Sprowston a nicer place to live.”
Councillor David Willmott, Broadland District Council’s member champion for community engagement, said: “Harrison’s Wood is a great community asset which we hope residents will enjoy for generations to come, and we thank all our partners for getting the wood ready for public access ahead of schedule.”
Tina Callaghan, outdoor learning leader at Cecil Gowing Infant School, said “We are delighted to bring a group of our Year 1 children to the opening of Harrison’s Wood. As a school we want to offer our pupils the very best childhood experiences during their time with us. We want our children to appreciate that important learning takes place outdoors as well as inside our school building, whatever the weather! We hope that the children who have visited today will be keen to bring their families to visit and enjoy this special place.”
Access to the site is via Blue Boar Lane (park at Cottage Plantation) and at Salhouse Road via the newly installed crossing delivered as part of the Norwich City Council coordinated ‘Push the Pedalways’ cycling initiative. Visitors are asked to help look after the woodland by keeping to the marked footpaths, taking rubbish and dog mess home with them for disposal, and keeping dogs on leads.
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