Thetford Station Celebrates History and Welcomes Wildlife

Thursday, 14 December 2017
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Builders next to a map

A panel celebrating the history and wildlife of Thetford has been installed at the town's railway station.

Over the last couple of years, Thetford station has been undergoing a transformation. Wildflower beds have been planted and photos celebrating the station’s history have been put up for commuters to enjoy as they wait for their trains.

All this hard work has been undertaken by Fiona Rhind and the ‘Friends of Thetford Station’ volunteer group. Breaking New Ground, a landscape partnership scheme in the Brecks, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund provided the group with a small community grant in 2016 to fund the purchase of nest boxes and a long term supply of bird seed. It is hoped that the bird boxes and feeders will encourage swifts and sparrows, two species which are sadly in decline nationally. The wildflowers planted by the group have already attracted butterflies such as the Orange-tip, Comma and Brimstone, as well as bees and lots of other insects.

Volunteers spent a lot of time researching the material for the interpretation panel which features tales of royal visits and wonderfully preserved Victorian architecture. The panel has been funded by the Breckland Society, and installed by station operators Greater Anglia on Platform 1. A local artist, Steve Mead, produced a fantastic Brecks-inspired painting to showcase local wildlife species, which forms part of the new installation.

Nick Dickson, Project Manager for Breaking New Ground said “It was obvious from speaking with the Friends of Thetford Station how passionate they are about their local area and increasing biodiversity. Celebrating the vernacular architecture of the station buildings which are made from local flint was a fantastic added bonus!”.

James Parry, chairman of The Breckland Society, added: “We are delighted to support the magnificent work done so far by the Friends of Thetford Station and to help raise awareness of the important history and wildlife value of the station and its setting.”

James Reeve, Area Customer Service Manager, Greater Anglia, said: “We are very grateful to the Friends of Thetford station for their continuous hard work and dedication. We would also like to thank the Breckland Society for funding the panel, and Steve Mead for his work, which looks magnificent. We hope our customers enjoy the panel, which enhances and celebrates the character of the station.”

The work doesn’t end here though for the Friends of Thetford Station, they will continue to plant wildflowers and improve the experience of Thetford Station for everyone who passes through.

As well as delivering 37 landscape, Heritage and community projects, Breaking New Ground has delivered 10 community grants like this one between 2014-2017, including the repair of flint walls at West Stow Church, landscape history tours for disadvantaged people, GPS tagging goshawk chicks, a drama film and poetry workshops among others.