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Ramble across Roydon Common

On 28 June, a select band of Springwood High School pupils had the opportunity to escape the classroom for a precious couple of hours and visit nearby Roydon Common.

It was an all-too short introduction to this Norfolk Wildlife Trust reserve and some of its outstanding flora and fauna. Agnieszka Munns, lead of the school’s environmental committee, guided Babs, Lilly, Ben and Alice to the common and, armed with field guides, binoculars and a telescope, set out to make some interesting and engaging connections between the pupils and their surrounding world.

Bird life was obliging: yellowhammers, linnets, skylarks and stonechats all posed or displayed in the sunshine, allowing everyone to practise identifying them and finding them in the guides. Red kites were distinguished from common buzzards, and a garden warbler was identified singing on ‘Merlin’, bringing the modern app to the natural world in an innovative and exciting manner. Insect life was less conspicuous: while only one fly-by dragonfly species was spotted, three sadly unidentified beetle species were examined. Any of the adders which can be encountered in thicker, heathery spots were, of course, avoided by staying to the marked footpaths.

Pupils were also introduced to the ecology of the area: focussing on its sandy soil and geographical features, which showed how it had, in the distant past, formed part of the coastline.

Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to visit this fragment of a disappearing world, seeing birds that are increasingly rare and threatened, and appreciating the value of a place that needs to be protected and treasured if it is to continue to survive for its 15 species of dragonfly, 30 species of butterfly, 450 species of moth and many rare plants.