Forestry, Conservation, and Learning

Nature conservation across Norfolk

Every day, The Conservation Volunteers (or TCV as we’re known) works to create healthier and happier communities for everyone. We do this by connecting people and green spaces to deliver lasting outcomes for both. We undertake a range of activities in both urban and rural areas, from planting trees and wild flower meadows, to building stiles, clearing footpaths or creating new food growing projects.

Most projects are open to people 16 or over (16-18 with parental permission) regardless of background, and no previous experience or specialist knowledge is necessary. We provide tools, equipment and experienced leaders.

There’s lots of opportunities to get involved in Norfolk. Find out about our directly-managed projects and many independent community groups here:

Directory of Community Biodiversity Projects

In June 2011, the Trust for Conservation Volunteers carried out a survey of community conservation groups in Norfolk, on behalf of the Biodiversity Partnership. The results of the survey revealed that there are at least 57 community environmental groups working in the county, involving more than 1,300 volunteers on some 200 different sites. Together, these groups make a tremendously important contribution to the conservation and management of Norfolk’s biodiversity.

We have collated the survey information into an online directory, so that you can find out more about the activities and volunteering opportunities in your area. You can find the groups nearest to you… with a description of each project, together with contact details in case you’d like to get in touch. They’ll be pleased to hear from you – especially if you are offering your help (even if it’s just for a few hours).

Find out more:

Well, Well, Wells

The Restoration of St Nicholas Church, Wells-next-the-Sea

‘Well, Well, Wells’ is a National Lottery Heritage Fund project to repair the tower and other fabric of St Nicholas’ church in Wells-next-the Sea, as well as to delivery a range of new activities, trails  and interpretation in partnership with Wells Maltings and others. These include the creation of a new conservation area in the churchyard (with the Norfolk Wildlife Trust), training new conservation volunteers and delivering related health and wellbeing activities, interpretation and signage connected to its habitat and biodiversity.

Find out more:

Inspired Classrooms

Inspired Classrooms is a free and accessible online resource designed to open up parish churches as ‘creative classrooms’ – spaces in which pupils can enjoy cross-curricular learning through active engagement with their local churches and inspired by their fabulous surroundings. It provides lessons and challenges for pupils and students at Key Stages 1, 2 and 3 in English, Science, Maths, Humanities, the Arts, PSHE and RE – all of which are intended to help them develop and nurture a wide range of key skills such as research, teamwork, focus and creativity. Inspired Classrooms gives schools and churches the cross-curricular lessons and supporting practical resources to better understand and support one another.

Find out more:

Thetford Conservation Group

Thetford Conservation Group was launched in 2019, giving a wide range of people the chance to get close to nature and help look after some of the town’s fantastic green open spaces – which include a Site of Special Scientific Interest, scheduled ancient monuments, two woodlands and large stretches of beautiful riverside.

We run free activities, usually on both Wednesdays and Thursdays each week, with a mixture of practical conservation tasks and opportunities to learn more about local natural history. You don’t have to be physically fit or strong, or have any previous knowledge or experience in order to take part – anyone can join in and make a positive difference for local wildlife.  If aged 16-18 you will need signed parental consent, if you are under 16 you will need to be accompanied by a responsible adult at all times.

The group has already tackled a wide variety of tasks, from helping conserve rare wildflower meadows to creating brand new woodland walks:

  • Over 40 people have joined us
  • 14 different sites have been improved
  • Approximately 13 acres (5.5 hectares) of Barnham Cross Common SSSI have been cleared of invasive scrub.
  • over 3,000 trees have been planted at locations all around the town, as well as wildlife-friendly flowering shrubs and thousands of spring-flowering bulbs.

Plans are already underway for the autumn-winter 2020-21, with further clearance of invasive scrub from Barnham Cross Common, reintroducing the ancient skill of hedgelaying at a new site in the town, and planting another 3,000 trees at suitable locations as part of an ongoing campaign to tackle climate change.

Find out more:

Friends of Earlham Cemetery

The Friends of Earlham Cemetery group was set up in January 2011 by local residents. We aim to protect, conserve and enhance Earlham Cemetery for wildlife and as a place of freedom, recreation and enjoyment for the long-term benefit of all sections of the local community and other visitors.

The Cemetery east of Farrow Road is a County Wildlife Site and we are working closely with Norwich City Council (who own Earlham Cemetery) and Norfolk Wildlife Trust and have produced a Habitat Management Plan for the older parts of the Cemetery. In the past couple of years we have worked with TCV (The Conservation Volunteers) raking up cut grass, to reduce the fertility of the grassland and encourage wild flowers. We have also planted container grown wild flowers (such as Field Scabious) and sown patches of Yellow Rattle to reduce grass height and open up the sward for other wild flowers.

We hold informal monthly walks, starting at the main entrance on Earlham Road, by the Cemetery Office (see map). Everyone is welcome, but please be aware that no dogs are allowed in the Cemetery. Times of all walks are posted on our walks and events page and on our Facebook page.

Our walks provide an opportunity to explore Earlham Cemetery and discover a surprising variety of plants, fungi, birds and insects. The walks also provide an opportunity for people who may not want to explore the cemetery alone to enjoy walking around in company.

We have been recording animals, fungi and plants in the Cemetery and there are lists of what we’ve found on our Wildlife pages. We have also researched its history, both as individuals and as a group. 

We are members of the National Federation of Cemetery Friends, along with around 80 other groups throughout the UK.

Find out more:

Our e-mail address is

Great Yarmouth Green Gym

We are an independent nature conservation group launched in 2012 and run entirely by volunteers.  

The Green Gym enables people from the local community to volunteer and take part in a range of outdoor nature conservation activities such as woodland management, tree planting, scrub clearance and wildlife habitat creation to improve their local green spaces.   The sessions are free and are open to anyone aged 18 and over.  You don’t have to be physically fit or strong, or have any previous knowledge or experience to take part.

The Green Gym offers a new way to become more physically active in an outdoor environment and the emphasis is very much on fitness, health and mental wellbeing gained through increased contact with nature and the social benefits of group activity whilst contributing something positive to the community.

The group meets once a week, all year round, at a variety of urban and rural sites in and around Great Yarmouth.  There are a range of activities to take part in which help build new skills, boost confidence and self-esteem.  It’s a great social activity too, allowing volunteers to meet new people and work together to transform their local area. 

Volunteering doesn’t just provide us with a dedicated and loyal army of helpers – it also provides a means for individuals to be engaged with local conservation projects literally on their doorstep.  This helps us all to value wildlife and recognise that it is all around us – even in the middle of large towns.

Volunteers come to us for all sorts of reasons:

  • To do their bit for their local area
  • To get fit and healthy
  • To stay healthy
  • For the social element
  • For fun
  • For the challenge
  • To learn new skills
  • To practice existing skills and pass them on to others
  • To prepare for the workplace
  • To learn about wildlife and the environment
  • To get out in the fresh air
  • to carry on using skills during retirement

Come and join us and give it a go!

Find out more:

or see our Facebook page or email us at

Friends of Train Wood and Marriott’s Way

Who we are

Friends of Train Wood and Marriott’s Way is a group of people working together to make sure Norwich’s most unique historic and natural woodland and riverbank, and off road trail, stays well looked after and open to all, for ever. We are protecting and enhancing this woodland (which is in northwest Norwich), its rights of way, railway heritage, riverbank and, working with others along the route, Marriott’s Way, a 26 mile footpath, bridleway and cycle route (which follows two disused railway lines between Aylsham and Norwich).

What we represent

We are local residents, train heritage enthusiasts, birdwatchers, anglers, cyclists, walkers, commuters, runners, joggers, dog walkers, children, pensioners, tourists, canoeists… we are representatives of the many different groups who care passionately about this amazing place and path. Join us!

What we are doing

We are working together to make sure Train Wood stays open to everyone, for ever. Our group is open to all users and we seek to listen to and work with all users of the area. We are working with local authorities and other organisations to improve the Marriott’s Way. As well as regular practical work like litter picks and nature conservation, we have listed Train Wood as an Asset of Community Value with the local authority and made bids for funding. We welcome involvement and new members.

Find out more:

Norfolk Wildlife Trust- Children and Nature

Bluebell Woods- copyright Tom Marshall

The Children And Nature (CAN) fund was created to connect children of all ages with wildlife and wild spaces through inspiring and educational activities. This fund, through donations from individuals and organisations, enables new projects helping NWT to reach and engage more children with the natural world around them. So far, these projects include:

A Sure Start with Nature – working with Sure Start Centres across Norfolk to introduce the very young to nature, often for the first time, and encourage new parents to improve their health and wellbeing.

Food and Fun in the School Holidays (FISH) – a national initiative to support families on low incomes during the school holidays. As part of this, NWT worked with Norwich Foodbank during the summer and half term holidays to provide wildlife activities for eight clubs in deprived wards of the city.

The CAN fund and its future projects helps Norfolk Wildlife Trust develop family learning, confidence and wellbeing and at the same time encourages children and young people to value their wildlife and green spaces. Norfolk Wildlife Trust hope to make nature and wildlife part of every child’s life… throughout their life.

Find out more:

Starston Village- Glebe Meadow and Orchard Project

Once purchased by the Parish Council, with contributions from two thirds of the village, work began on creating a community space on the meadow.

We have put a wooden footbridge across the Beck to improve the pedestrian access, commissioned 3 oak benches and 2 “Welcome” signs from a local craftsman. The art work for the signs has been done by a professional artist living in the village. In fact all the work has been done by local contractors and by groups of volunteers from within the village.

In February 2012 many of the villagers met on the newly acquired Glebe Meadow to plant a fruit orchard, mostly traditional varieties of fruit trees from East Anglia. The Glebe Meadow Management Group selected and bought the trees, then each family chose one and planted it.

There is still some work to be done and there will always be on-going maintenance but we do not intend much more ‘development’, we want a community wildlife meadow, not a park as one volunteer put it.

Since the official opening much work has taken place on the meadow. We now have a thriving set of bee hives, maintained and managed by a dedicated Bee Group. Young people from the village came to a workshop where they were helped to make bird and bat boxes which are now sited in strategic places around the meadow. The grass is cut regularly by a team of volunteers who keep the near end opposite the Jubilee Hall close mown for events, but only mow walkways through the long grass at the far end by the orchard and bees.

The Glebe Meadow group hold regular maintenance days where teams of volunteers perform many of the tasks that are required to take care of the meadow.

Find out more: