Overstrand Parish Council

Strand Club Report for November 2017


8th November 2017

Our meeting this month included a excellent talk by Eddie Anderson of Templewood in Northrepps. He inherited the house and land from his stepfather, one of the Paget dynasty. Over the years the lake had become clogged with algae until three years ago when the algae had reached a depth of 3 ft, taking all the oxygen necessary for life from the water. No fish, no frogs, no dragon- or damselflies and therefore no predatory birds. The river Mun runs as a narrow stream through Eddie’s land and this had also become clogged and poisoned by the effluent from the nearby sewage works which flowed directly into it. As knowledge and concern for the wildlife grew things were taken in hand and three new lakes were dug to draw the polluted water from the river, by-passing it and naturally filtering it until it could be directed back into the river again.

Whilst digging out these new lakes, Eddie told us that archaeologists discovered a wooden walkway, buried and preserved in the upper surface of peat. Shards of Roman pottery were also found, plus evidence of a early bog or lake. The River Trust came every month to test the river water and found that after only 9 months the harmful phosphates had been reduced by 90%. Anglian Water are now using this natural method of clearing pollutants elsewhere in the county. In the newly cleared main lake Eddie now sees 26 species of dragonflies or damselflies. The first creature to appear was an otter as there was now food there for him to find. There is a visiting hobby who flies in to catch the dragonflies and a pair of swans return every year to breed.

Eddie talked about the history of the area too and how wealthy people came and bought copious amounts of land during 1860 – 1900s. The Hawe family bought large pieces of Sidestrand, Cromer, Northrepps and Southrepps and built Templewood as well as other imposing houses.

He told us how you define a river, however tiny. It runs independently from its source to the sea, unlike a tributary. Early setttlements tended to be made close to water so that the fresh water and the fish living in it could be used to sustain life. They continued through the centuries so that millponds could be built to produce flour and make bread.

Eddie kept us spellbound with his presentation, showing us before and after photographs of the area. It was all done with a light touch, humour and an obvious love of his home. It was such a varied and fascinating insight into so many aspects of land management and conservation. Our members thoroughly enjoyed the experience and we hope that perhaps Eddie could return at some future date and talk about another of his interests.

Visitors are always welcome at our meetings. We charge just £2 at the door to cover light refreshments. Further information may be obtained from either Jackie Hudson, Chairman, on 01263 720866 or Chris Wood on 01263 579433. Please come and see what you think of us!