RAF Honington personnel help clear the way for a new woodland

26 Jan 2016 | No. 2016-06

New recruits to RAF Honington were out and about this weekend helping to clear part of the British Trust for Ornithology’s (BTO) Nunnery Lakes nature reserve, in preparation of the planting of 200 new trees.

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In their second week of RAF life, 20 new recruits spent some of Saturday undertaking conservation work along the banks of the River Thet in Thetford alongside staff from the BTO. Getting stuck into the task they cleared an area approximately 200 metres long by 10 metres wide ready for the new trees.

Bonita Johnston of the BTO said, “The trees were supplied by the Woodland Trust and have to be in the ground as soon as the frost lifts to ensure that as many survive as possible, so it was vital to get this area cleared. What is amazing is how much got done during the day. The young recruits worked really hard and can be proud of what they achieved.”

Squadron Leader Paula Willmot the RAF Honington Engagement Officer stated: “Assisting local initiatives gives those based at RAF Honington a chance to give something back to the communities in which we live. The BTO and Woodland Trust rely heavily on volunteers and it was a privilege to be able to assist in making the local habitat more enjoyable.”

Sgt Bovingdon Snco of Juno Flight Training Team stated:  “This was an ideal opportunity for the Trainee Gunners to build relations with the local community and understand how important it is. The Trainees come from different parts of the country and have a broad spectrum of life experience. They all enjoyed the tasks and I am sure that they now understand the importance of supporting the community. One of the Trainees has volunteered to help on his weekend off during training, although I am not sure he understands how busy he is going to be!”

The BTO has owned the nature reserve since 1991 and is responsible for ensuring that it is maintained with people and wildlife in mind.

Chris Gregory, Nunnery Lakes Reserve Manager, said, “We have regular work parties on the reserve and members of the public help us to carry out tasks such as this.  It was great that the RAF assisted us in clearing this large area; being able to use their manpower enabled us to get the job done in just a day. We look forward to working with them again.”

Anyone can take part in BTO work parties, for more information, please contact Chris Gregory on 01842 750050 or e-mail chris.gregory [at] bto.org

Notes for Editors

  1. The Nunnery Lakes is the Trust’s only reserve and lies in the valleys of the Rivers Thet and Little Ouse in Thetford. This varied site is home to a wide range of wildlife, including several rare or endangered species. About 60 species of birds breed here and many more over-winter or pass through. Other wildlife includes Roe deer, Otter, Grass Snake, Common Lizard and a wide variety of butterflies and dragonflies. Several scarce Breckland plants occur on the site, including Tower Mustard and Mossy Stonecrop.

    The reserve is open daily during daylight hours. Most paths are unsuitable for wheelchairs, but special arrangements can be made for disabled visitors. There are three entrances, each with an Information Panel and map.

    i) Arlington Way – across the river from the Riverside Public House, park in Arlington Way.
    ii) Nuns’ Bridges – via a kissing gate on the north side of the Little Ouse, 100m east of the bridges. There is a car-park to the south of the river opposite Mill Lane.
    iii) Nunnery Place – past Nightingale Way then along the unmetalled track down to the river. Park at the BTO.
  2. The BTO is the UK's leading bird research charity. A growing membership and up to 60,000 volunteer birdwatchers contribute to the BTO's surveys, collecting information that underpins conservation action in the UK. The BTO maintains a staff of 100 at its offices in Thetford, Stirling, Bangor (Wales) and Bangor (Northern Ireland), who analyse and publicise the results of surveys and projects. The BTO's work is funded by BTO supporters, government, trusts, industry and conservation organisations.www.bto.org

Contact Details

Chris Gregory
(BTO Nunnery Lakes Reserve Manager)

Email: chris.gregory [at] bto.org

Paul Stancliffe
(BTO Media Manager)

Office: 01842 750050
(9am to 5.30pm)
Mobile: 07585 440910 (anytime)
Email: press [at] bto.org

Images are available for use alongside this News Release.
Please contact images [at] bto.org quoting reference 2016-06

The BTO has an ISDN line available for radio interviews.
Please contact us to book an interview
Office: 01842 750050

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