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Risby village wildlife project lands slot on Countryfile




A wildlife friendly village featured on the BBC’s Countryfile programme on Sunday evening.

The project is based in Risby and entails residents planting wildflower seeds at sites across the village in the hope it will encourage flora and fauna to flourish.

The whole idea began after Sophie Flux, a villager who also works as an animal first aider trainer, collaborated with residents when she discovered there was no wildlife policy in place in the parish.

Sophie with Elden Mathews, Carol Green, Tom Revens, Angela Cornwell-Revens and Evie Flux.	Picture by Mark Westley.
Sophie with Elden Mathews, Carol Green, Tom Revens, Angela Cornwell-Revens and Evie Flux. Picture by Mark Westley.

The project, which received funding from the district council and was launched in January, has seen the community come together.

When asked how it felt to have seen the project do so well, Sophie said: “Amazing. I am very grateful for all the support that we have from everyone who lives in Risby.

“The parish council has been courageous in going with it.

Sophie Flux approached Risby parish council after discovering there was no wildlife policy in place.	Picture by Mark Westley.
Sophie Flux approached Risby parish council after discovering there was no wildlife policy in place. Picture by Mark Westley.

“I think people are realising if we do not do something for our wildlife that is it.”

Sophie said lockdown had meant the monthly meetings previously being held had been put on hold, but that it had also given people the time to really invest in the project.

With summer coming to an end, she said it was a chance to put the flowers to bed and get them ready for next year.

Also on the programme was the Wild East project, headed by three friends Hugh Somerleyton, Ollie Birkbeck and Argus Hardy.

The proposed coverage area for the nature reserve project by Wild East.
The proposed coverage area for the nature reserve project by Wild East.

The project’s main goal involves asking people to pledge 20 per cent of the land they own, whether that be a garden, estate or farmland, in the hopes of reintroducing and allowing wildlife to flourish in East Anglia.

On the programme, Hugh said: “Yes, big estates have got the space to lead the way in large-scale rewilding, but actually it’s about everyone.

“So, you know nature reserves, which are wonderful and it’s great that nature’s clung on there, but every time it tries to leave, as in spread out, it can’t because the farming systems all around it don’t support it.”

Sophie read about the Wild East project and got in contact with to see what could be done in Risby.	Picture by Mark Westley.
Sophie read about the Wild East project and got in contact with to see what could be done in Risby. Picture by Mark Westley.

Sophie’s idea for the project in Risby stemmed from reading about the Wilder Future campaign by the Wildlife Trust.