Volunteers keep the marsh paths open

A plastic bridge and a “corduroy path” have been added to Marston Marsh by a team of volunteers.

The bridge, using recycled plastic planks, replaces a wooden one which had passed its sell-by date, finished off by winter floods which put it under 4ft of water.

The path repair – using a mix of willow branches and hoggin – fills in a muddy hollow caused by grazing cattle.

Both projects will enable people to enjoy walking around the marshland beauty spot, and have been carried out by volunteers from the Norwich Fringe Project, which helps maintain a range of around 40 sites in the greater Norwich area.

Volunteer Chris Stebbing from Eaton, where he is chairman of the Eaton Village Residents Association, has been helping as a volunteer for 10 years and enjoys the work.

The new plastic bridge taking shape and the corduroy bridge under construction.
PHOTOS: ROBERT STUBBS

He said: “It’s great getting out working in the fresh air, with like-minded people. We are mostly retired but from a range of different backgrounds, and get trained to use things like brushcutters, power barrows and chipper machines.”

The team, which include several other Eaton residents, are putting the finishing touches to the 16ft span bridge whose recycled plastic looks like wood but will last much longer without rotting.

The 20ft stretch of repaired pathway gets its “corduroy” name from the ribbed willow branches used in its construction before seven tonnes of hoggin was compacted on top to get a smooth finish.

Marston Marsh is a 26-hectare floodplain area on the northern side of the River Yare. Management includes tending the many dykes running through the site while grass is controlled by summer grazing by cattle and mowing.  There are also small areas of damp woodland and willows which are kept under control by pollarding or coppicing.

The Norwich Fringe Project, launched in 1991, provides countryside management for sites as diverse as woodlands, meadows, marsh, heathland and ponds.

Find out more about the Norwich Fringe Project and its work at its website https://norwichfringeproject.wordpress.com/

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