Volunteer appeal for former dumping ground

Red Lodge group of conservationist.'John Smithson senior ranger with Jenny Hall chair Red Lodge Heath conservation group, and Volunteers Barry Jarman and Colin Brand'Picture Mark Westley

The spotlight is being turned on a 50-acre site in Red Lodge that was a used as a dumping ground, at a presentation in the village later this month.

The site, off Turnpike Road, had been neglected for years until it was sold in 2008. It was then discovered it was part of the original Breckland heathland, with much of its habitat still present.

Soon afterwards it was designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) by Natural England due to the rare plants and insects found there.

Forest Heath District Council and members of the community negotiated with the new owner of the site to restore it as a nature reserve to ensure it was looked after.

Initially, their work revolved around securing the land and clearing it of rubbish and dumped items. Since then, volunteers have concentrated on removing scrub and controlling bracken on Red Lodge Heath.

Now, John Smithson, senior ranger at the district council, wants to encourage more people to get involved with the management of the heath.

He is presenting an illustrated talk at the village’s Millennium Centre on February 24, at 6.30pm.

It is free and will include a 40-minute presentation followed by a question and answer session.

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