Friday, 29 March 2013

29th of March: Start of Season

Hello and welcome to an albeit cold start to a new season on Blakeney Point.

I'll start by first introducing a bit about myself, my name is Matt Twydell and I am the new Seasonal Ranger based on Blakeney Point. I’ve worked as a Ranger and Volunteer in Devon at Dawlish Warren NNR and my homeland of Colchester in Essex over the last few years. One of my interests is photography and I hope to photograph the amazing scenes and wildlife which we encounter on the Point over the season, and hopefully you will be able to see some of these on the blog.

Obviously I am not the only one present on the Point over the season; I will join Ajay Tegala who is returning for his second season, and Paul Nichols who will be returning for his 7th consecutive season! As well as various volunteers who want to experience the amazing place that is Blakeney Point.

As you may know, the Lifeboat House where we stay for the duration of the season, is being refurbished at present and so we won't be moving over there for another week but we have been to the Point to start putting up the fencing in time for the breeding season.
The fencing is put up to protect ground nesting birds - like Sandwich and Little Terns and Ringed Plovers - from disturbance. Sandwich Terns are particularly vulnerable prior to nesting and will desert the site if disturbed too much, therefore it is very important that disturbance is kept to an absolute minimum.

Putting up the fence around Far Point

We are now competing to see who can see our first Sandwich Tern on the Point! The first one last year being seen on the 19th of March, they seem to be later this year possible in part due to the cold weather.

I eagerly await my first season on the Point and all that it brings with it!

Matt Twydell

Friday, 22 March 2013

National Trust Young Rangers find more than they bargained for!

On Thursday 14 March St Peter & St Paul CE VC School, from Carbrook, Norfolk, had an exciting end to an action packed week at the National Trust’s Brancaster Millennium Activity Centre (BMAC) when they came across what looked to be a Second World War Sea Mine whilst litter picking at Brancaster Beach.

The children had just spent a week being the first ever school to achieve their Young Ranger Award. Whilst completing their conservation task in the form of a Beach litter pick, the children found what appeared to be a Second World War Sea Mine washed up.  

‘We had just started our litter pick and had only just told the children what to do if we find anything dangerous and told them to call an adult over for any strange objects;
 Almost straight away we came upon a large round rusty ball. As we approached my initial thought was that it’s a rusty Mooring Buoy, when I saw rusty fittings sticking-out it suddenly looked very much like a mine. I told the group that it looks like it’s a Sea Mine and we have to move quickly away. The children took great delight in shouting “it’s a bomb” as we cleared the area and warned approaching walkers. For the children finding a “bomb” became an instant highlight of their week.’ Said Rob Jones, a Learning Officer at BMAC.

What happened next…?
As soon as the mystery object was identified as a potential bomb the Coast Guard were called by our Coastal Warden (Keith Miller) who then had the nerve racking job of standing watch to prevent anyone getting too close.
The area was then cordoned-off by the Coastguard who sent photos off for identification. From the coastguards photos the object remained mysterious to the bomb disposal experts and the following morning the military bomb disposal team arrived to investigate, after careful study they found it to be a compressed air container for powering a World War Two Torpedo. The Disposal team described it as similar to a giant hollow rubber ball rather than a bomb.      

The week saw the children and teachers getting up-close and personal with Coastal habitats, learning survival skills at Sheringham Park, Exploring Scolt Head Island and Brancaster Harbour by sailing boat. The new Young Ranger Award is in its first Year and has been developed by the team at BMAC with a unique mix of fun and adventure to give children a real sense of achievement and recognition for their work and hopefully giving a unique perspective and appreciation to the work of the National trust also.  


For further press information and images please contact:

Robert Jones, BMAC Learning Officer on 01485 210719 or email

Nick Champion, Regional Communications Consultant on 01284 747558 or email

The National Trust looks after more than 250,000 hectares of countryside, 710 miles of coastline and hundreds of historic places across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. For more information and ideas for great value family days out go to:

Monday, 18 March 2013

Energy Busting Success

The National Trusts energy outreach programmes help Norfolk County Council rank as top performer for carbon reductions.

Norfolk County Council have been ranked 25th out of 2097 in a Public League table for carbon reduction. The National Trusts Energy Busters and eFutures programmes have been recognised for their contribution in achieving this success.

Around 78% of Norfolk County Councils carbon emissions are from schools. Improvements in the energy efficiency of school buildings has been supported by behavioural change achieved through the National Trusts energy education programmes run in partnership with Norfolk County Council.
Schools have made a major contribution to the reduction in emissions. The Energy Busters (Primary and Special schools) and eFutures (secondarys schools) programmes have now supported nearly 400 Norfolk schools and this has resulted in significant carbon and energy cost savings in these schools.

Joanna Rowland, Learning Manager for the National Trust, said: "The National Trust is thrilled that our partner has achieved such a high ranking in the CRC Public League table. We have enjoyed empowering students, in nearly 400 schools, to reduce their energy consumption through the delivery of the Energy Busters and eFutures programmes. We would like to thank every school child in Norfolk that has participated in Energy Busters and eFutures for their enthusiasm, dedication and hard work in reducing energy consumption in their school communities. This result could not have been achieved without them."

Friday, 15 March 2013

Revealed from the scaffolding

This week has been a really interesting one for the Lifeboat house project. Most of the scaffold has been taken down and the new doors are revealed for the first time.

I know this could be in a category for a badly taken photo but it was freezing and snow was about to blow in. The posts you can see are the pilings for the ramp that is being put in as a nod back to how the former lifeboat house looked. It will be great to open the big doors for the first time to visitors in only a couple of weeks. If you are wondering the white door will be blue soon enough!

Another bit of restoration work is a repair to the toilet block roof which, like the lifeboat hosue, was also leaking.

We hosted Sophie Wyllie from the EDP this week and there was a really nice double-spread in the paper today.

If you missed it here are some much better photos indeed from Anthony Kelly

Victoria, Countryside Manager

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Update from Brancaster Activity Centre

Here at the Activity Centre we are busy setting everything up ready for our first residential schools of the season, having already had some A’Level field studies groups and a very successful Oil Painting week-end with our new tutor Merrie Curtis-Fuller.

Our Roman Activity went down a treat with our partner schools and we get to try it for the first time with the general public over Easter and with schools after that.  Also trialled was our new Discovery activity as we design activities which will get the children out of doors more on their first day and working towards the new Young Ranger Award.  This Award is being championed by our learning officer Em Chittenden who will be very happy to talk to anyone interested in what we are doing.

As part of our new Young Ranger Award activities we have dropped our old ‘Go Green’ and ‘Stay Green’ sessions which involved looking at our recycling, landfill etc; whilst very interesting and central to our sustainable ethos, these were largely indoor activities.  The centre continues to be an ‘Eco Centre’, but appreciates that most children are now familiar with the concept of recycling from home so it’s no longer news to them. 

The new discovery sessions centre around the concept of looking after special places and connect strongly to current ideas of going local and appreciating the opportunities on our doorsteps which link to sustainable living.

To keep our sustainable ethos core to our everyday work and in the forefront of staff minds we update our environmental policy yearly and staff commit to items on this. With staff in-house who have worked on the successful Energy Buster’s programme, we also aren’t allowed to forget to reduce our carbon footprint.

Our taster sessions for Easter are still open for booking – 0844 249 1895 is the box office number or people can book via our website.  Customers may also if they wish phone the activity centre for details.

We have 2 new full-time volunteers to welcome to the team, Seb  and ‘Becca so you may see them on activity with us.  

Nita, Learning Officer

Monday, 4 March 2013

Update on the lifeboat house refurb works

Lots has been happening with the Lifeboat house project over the last week or so.

The installation of the insulation is nearing completion and most of the old cladding has been replaced. The outside of the new lookout tower is finished and we have installed swift boxes onto it in the hope of attracting them as a breeding species. We have been playing swift calls the last couple of summers so hopefully some young birds will spot the potential and use the boxes.

No more a rotten window

A new fireplace has gone in and a flue fitted to take the new wood burner that will provide heat to the downstairs, two upstairs bedrooms reducing the use of gas heaters.

The flooring is starting to be replaced inside, the new office desk installed and some of the old furniture that no longer meets regualtions removed.

However by far the most obvious and for me exciting feature is the massive new doors on the front. Paul Dawson from Draper & Nicholls sent me this picture on Friday night of them just finished. I am glad I am not painting them!

Victoria, Countryside Manager