It is difficult to imagine how Ladybelt Country Park has been transformed since the disappearance of the gravel extraction works. A great deal of voluntary work and money has been put into the project. Events – disrupted by the Covid restrictions – bring the community together and help raiser much needed funds. Conservation has helped improve the area for wildlife diversity and prevented the brambles etc. overtaking the area!
The Ice house – a listed monument – had grant support to take it from an almost derelict site to its current situation. A recent event highlighted the historic importance of the ice house to Ketteringham Hall, and its importance today as roost and hibernation site for a growing colony of the protected species – bats! See previous posts for more information on the bats.
There is a photo pre-restoration that can be viewed on LBCP Facebook pages.
The vista from the park perimeter has now been cleared of trees and undergrowth with the help of the Community Payback Scheme, and fencing has been installed around the ice house entrance area in an attempt to restore it to original state.
The ponds on your right as you cross the event/amenity open area have appeared on maps for many years. They do not appear to have been surrounded by trees as now BUT to remove the trees is too expensive a project to consider at present.
Attempts are now made to keep the ponds clear of debris – leaf litter, twigs, branches and logs. Dogs are discouraged from entering the water. In this way it is hoped that the water quality can be improved. The last few years have seen smooth newts, tadpoles, frogs, toads, water boatmen, great diving beetles – various larvae including dragonfly and caddis fly.
There are various views regarding the origin of the ponds. One proposes that they were used to clean farm wagons – as there are “slip paths” into and out of the ponds. The owners of the nearby “osier carr” may have made use of them for osier work. We just do not know.
The state of the ponds varies, as does the water level. The main thing is that, now the ponds have been de-silted, they do not dry out in the summer months.
A new owl nesting box has recently been installed – a little owl was once seen resting at the entrance to the old box in the ice house area, but a barn owl has not been recorded in 2021 – yet!
Bird feeders have been installed for some time now, in the pond area. Squirrel raiders have proved to be a problem. Ground feed immediately attracts pheasants! Hey ho!
In 2017 the tree planting by the story telling area was flimsy, when compared to today’s display.
The area of planting by the picnic table at the entrance to the open area has matured and is now home to various species of bird.
Much of the intrusive bramble was cleared with the help of Community Payback. Since covid restrictions were put in place this work ceased. The small group of volunteers cannot stay on top of the work required to keep the park in good order. The photo below shows how the area did look when maintained. It is now, sadly, totally taken over by brambles.
In 2018 the perimeter of the park, just past the pond area, was struggling. It is now much improved but becoming overgrown with brambles.
Every visitor will have walked along this path. Can you recognise it from this photo from 2018?
Thanks to all volunteers who join in on the 1st Sunday each month!
With a bit of help from our local Councillor, and SNDC this muddy scene has now been overcome by the provision of some boardwalk – much more still needed, but it is a start! Funding prevents further progress at present.
The car park suffers from water flowing off the neighbouring fields. This is not helped by the digging of channels to take the flood water from the field into LBCP!
When tended lovingly, the car park was restored to a high standard. sadly this has diminished with Covid restrictions placed on assistance. Hopefully the situation will improve when volunteer help can be fully re-instated.
Additional storage space was urgently required, and with the help of Hi Span, this work went ahead. Thanks for the help. now we can store petrol appliances safely.
The pond area has been improved, but it has also been cleared to provide a family area where poles are available for den building. This has proved very popular, as well as seeing an area of overgrown woodland cleared of debris to ensure a safer environment for families to play.
There are many tasks to face. Most are finance limited but – if you could help as a volunteer, please join the working party on the 1st Sunday each month at 10:00.