Blue Flower

All Narborough organisations are invited to report on their activities over the last year at the Annual Parish Meeting which is open to the public, this year the meeting was held earlier than usual on 6/3/23 due to the elections in May.

Narborough Bone Mill Annual Report March 2023 

The bone mill ground bones for fertilizer in the 1800s, the water wheel can be seen from the Nar Valley Way footpath starting from River Close, about a mile downstream. Volunteers are there most Thursdays when visitors can cross our bridge and look around the site and visitor centre. We also have public open days twice a year in May and September.

2022 has been a busy year, we completed our wildflower meadow project, funded by a Norfolk Community Foundation grant. This transformed a wasteland area into a landscape which was seeded last Autumn and should flower in late Spring 2023. We bought all the equipment needed to create and maintain the wildflower meadow which is kept securely off site. We bought insect hotels and a picnic bench and replaced the shipping container with a wooden shed which we built using a lot of re-used materials, this gives better views of the meadow. Two metal detectorists explored the area before seeds were sown and a number of finds were discovered including a hinge post, belt buckle and the metal centre from a grinding wheel. We added a new room to our visitor centre with recent finds on display, plus slideshows and pictures of our work creating the wildflower meadow.

The Green Community Grant project, funded by Breckland Council, involved installing nest boxes for many species of birds, reptiles and mammals, some have nest cameras so we were able to watch Great Tits and Jackdaws raising their chicks. The grant also provided bird food and feeders so we regularly feed the birds and see a wide variety. We installed multimedia screens in our visitor centre to show videos of the water wheel turning and slideshows of our work. We have illuminated shelves to show finds discovered on site. All electrics are powered by solar panels which we installed recently. We bought cycle pumps, tools and repair kits and fitted a cycle rack to encourage cycling. We have a log store, log splitter and battery chainsaw to supply logs for wildlife habitat and our woodburner stove. The latest work involved making an insect habitat and small greenhouse from re-used materials. Both grant funded projects are now complete.

Our open days in May and September were well attended, we had the water wheel turning over all four days and the weather was good, we repaired our seized swinging footbridge in time for the open days in September. The next open days will be Mills Weekend on 13 & 14 May 2023, we plan to celebrate King Charles lll’s Coronation at this event as well.

We had a recruitment drive which brought us two more volunteers, Anne Marie who does gardening and looks after displays in the visitor centre, and Ryan who joins us during school holidays and weekends doing a variety of jobs, including metal detecting demonstrations at the open days. We welcome new volunteers, please contact us through our website if interested.

In February we installed a Kingfisher nest tunnel in the river bank and last year we put Grey Wagtail boxes beside the river. We see lots of wildlife, including Herons, Egrets, Hares, Barn Owl, Buzzards, Grey and Pied Wagtails, Lizards, Red Kites and Water Vole.

2023 got off to a bad start for us, as our riverside wall collapsed into the river and we are unable to clear or repair it until better weather, as the track to the mill is too slippery to get the digger there at the moment. We will be fundraising and organising repairs soon.

For more information or to contact us, please see our website

Graham Bartlett

Project Co-ordinator

Narbourough Bone Mill                                       Report 2022