An information hub for Whitwell Common has been officially opened – in a BT telephone box.
The disused structure, which was purchased four years ago for £1, stands directly outside the nature reserve and makes an excellent information point for sightings and also houses books to use within the Common.
The telephone box has been decorated with paintings by Reepham-based artist Sue Johnston, who, together with Lin Garland, chairman of the trustees of Whitwell Common, officially opened the information centre on Saturday 21 August, with sponsorship from Original Cottages.
Local wildlife filmmaker and writer Piers Warren said: “Many people living in Reepham have never visited Whitwell Common, a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) to the left of the twisting Whitwell Road and the splendidly named Nowhere Lane, which together link Reepham to the A1067 Fakenham Road.
“Even those who know it well or pass it every day will have wondered about the apparently abandoned BT telephone box – until now.”
Decorated with illustrations of wildflowers and birds, the information hub features leaflets, books and notices – including recent sightings – which the trustees hope will help visitors enjoy and understand more when they visit the Common.
Designated an SSSI in 1965, Whitwell Common is one of the few remaining open fen habitats typical of Norfolk river valleys.
Up until the 1930s, villagers had a right to graze cattle and a retained “hayward” maintained the open habitat.
The Common now provides opportunities for walkers, naturalists and photographers to find rare flowers, watch birds and observe the magnificent, but gentle, rare breed cattle that help maintain the fen habitat by eating surplus vegetation.
“Above all, it’s a special place where visitors of all ages can enjoy the flora and fauna and escape the distractions and stresses of everyday life,” said Mr Warren.
To watch a short film by Piers Warren of the opening celebration of the new information kiosk, click HERE