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Countrysiders Conservation Campout 2019
Epic weekend - see below what Moira had to say!
It was very exciting seeing all the tents up in a quiet field on the Westacre Estate. What an amazing venue for our Campout, so tranquil and beautiful. The first activity was a visit to the Trout Farm. What a long walk! We thought this would help puff the Countrysiders out. It was fascinating see the trout from their just hatched stage through to being fully grown in the sections of river.
Once back at the camp, great fun was had with a lively game of Rounders followed by Tug of War – especially when it was pulling an old Land Rover! Once the potatoes were finished cooking over the camp fire, everyone had a late supper of jacket potatoes with baked beans and cheese and most were finally in bed by 11pm.
Saturday morning started with Rory showing the moths and some bugs that he had trapped overnight from nearby. This was fascinating as always. The members then got into groups and set off with their leaders to get started on their first task of the day.
Natural Habitat nest boxes were as popular as ever and with some amazing results. These are constructed from logs that are cut in half, hollowed out and then put back together with a top and a base. Some were for bats and others were made for birds. The Owl Nest Box making group went off to the workshop to cut and prepare the timber for these specially designed boxes. This involved a lot of sawing, drilling and hammering with fabulous end results and 5 Owl boxes ready to go up. The Two Otter Holts were constructed close to the river bank and took a lot of digging and hard work to create the internal chambers required to create the perfect Otter home. These were then camouflaged with lots of brash and soil over the top. The Kingfisher nests were also created alongside the river and were superbly disguised. There are now 6 small openings along the river bank leading into sandy lined, Kingfisher nest chambers.
The coppicing, walkways and bank restoration groups achieved some amazing results. Water is always a popular attraction! These groups worked in relatively close proximity and made such a difference to that stretch of the river. Bridge Building is always a challenge and loved by all. Brilliantly guided by a keen senior member, 2 super bridges on public footpaths were completed this year. At the end of the work day a fish and chip supper is enjoyed by all. We then had an incredible demonstration of skinning and jointing a deer carcase by the Game Keeper, Chris Carter, who spoke about how healthy venison meat is. His wife, Debs, sliced the loin meat which was cooked over the camp fire. It was succulent and delicious and was a new taste experience for many. After a fun game of Rounders there was an evening of chatting and making friends around the Camp fire. The Countrysiders didn’t take any persuading to go to bed Saturday night!
Sunday saw the Annual Countrysiders Forum where it was fabulous to see eleven of the fifteen Countrysider clubs around Norfolk being represented. We had reports about the Countrysiders Training, Competitions and the recent highly successful Social events along with reports from each club. Afterwards, Mr Henry Birkbeck, spoke about the family owing Westacre for several generations and that he and his son were embracing many methods of diversification - especially with footpaths around the estate. Sunday is also the day where unfinished tasks are completed and the Countrysiders choose which activities they would like to do. A BBQ lunch heralded the end of yet another amazing Camp and grateful thanks must go to the hard-working Countrysiders and the army of member and ex-member volunteers who gave up their weekend to enable the Campout to take place.
Alec Birkbeck, Henry Birkbeck, Westacre Farms
Fraser Bradbury - Head Forester
Chris Carter – Game Keeper
The Trout Farm staff
Rory Hart – our Conservation Expert
Marion Alston of Jemco Signs for the Countrysiders.
Thanks also go to our invaluable team of staff and helpers; Katharine Robinson, Saskia Cook, Charlie Clarke, Jack Fisher, Rob Kernan, Rachel Cole, Ches & Andy Broom, Lucy Stowell, Charlie Atherton, Edd Barker, Tracey Matthews, Andrew Leveridge, Jacob Gooderham, Hugh Scott, Andrew Lee, Justin Dennis, Ben Johnson, Michael Pearson, Ella Sewell, Matt Norman, Heather Newport, Daniel Edwards, James Grant, Alice Harness, Luke Pratt, Tom Venni, Georgia Smith, Ken & Rebecca Proctor, Saskia Mayhew, Charlie Chase & Marshall Drew
Your help has been much appreciated.
Moira Harrison, Countrysiders Development Officer
A big congratulations must go to the hardworking teams of Countrysiders: -
Matthew K, Miriam, Stella, Holly, Rebecca, Elliott, Bonnie, Jessica, Emma, Benjamin, Mackenzie, Andon, Hannah G-H, Poppy, Jack Ch, Emily, Marcella, Ilana, Deanna, Sophia, Toby-Jack, Tilly, Jack R, Misha, Ruby, Connie, Issy, Samuel, Elizabeth, Madeline, Hannah M, Daniel, Lucy M, Oliver, Matthew M-C, Kate, Lucy B, Lucy H, Rory W-T, Hugo & Jack C
Royal Norfolk Show 2020
Thank you to all who are volunteering on the stand!
Wednesday 1st & Thursday 2nd July 2020!