An account of Thurston Wildlife Area


Good morning everybody,

I am going to briefly describe how we established a wildlife area within a new village amenity project.

Thurston had the opportunity to develop a new community area when a piece of land was given to the village. The Watch Group suggested part of this area should be made into a wildlife garden.

When we were asked to organise this project our objectives were to create a variety of habitats for a wide range of plants and animals that would be accessible to the community. Also we wanted to involve as many people as possible.

The site was a sandy field with a natural hollow that was originally a sand pit and the area was approximately 1/2 acre

The first stage was to plan the project and the help was enlisted of pupils from Thurston Upper School together with tutors from Otley College We raised money from various organisations and businesses, surveyed local residents for ideas and designed the garden layout. The key feature was to be a fairly large pond of 10 x 15 metres. This was only possible since adequate funds were obtained far a liner which essential on this sandy site.

Having sorted out the essentials, construction started in November 1989 by excavating the pond.

The digger was provided free in response to a local newspaper article. The next stage was to get the levels right and prepare the site for the liner.

Lots of’ help was given by WATCH children their families and other residents, The weather also kind to us.

The butyl rubber liner was laid between two layers of polyester matting and covered with sieved soil. Also a bog garden created with peat and the excess soil used to form a dry sail mound.

During January a permanent fence was erected around the central area and with the help Otley College Students and Thurston Upper Students a mixed species hedge was planted by the fence. Subsequently a selection native trees were planted and the area sown with meadow grasses.

By the summer the area obtained greener look but a lot of time had to be spent watering as it was very dry. We also made a limestone path through the garden.

During the summer we won two competitions The Suffolk Community Environment Award and the Suffolk Village Ventures .

In November we were thrilled to receive one of The National Pond Watch Awards .

Further planting of trees and shrubs was carried out in January 1991 on the two areas. Wildflower seed was sown in March

The snow in February gave us a different perspective.

The official opening of the garden was carried out by Paul Heiney by planting a holly tree in April.

As the garden becomes established wildflowers, housemartins, dragon flies, frogs and a wide range of other species have been seen in the garden. Primary Schools have used it for educational visits.

Further additions are being made and maintenance work such as grass cutting and pruning carried out to maximise the variety of plants. A lot of hard work has been amply rewarded to date but there is a lot more scope as plants and trees develop and it is hoped that the garden will continue to give pleasure to the local community.


Since lockdown the café has welcomed back its regular customers, and also many new ones, and has widened the range of products available. If you have not visited come and give it a try. Friday mornings we have teamed up with Bury Soft Play for “Coffee and Soft Play” allowing mums to meet and talk, whilst watching their children play and integrate with others of the same age

The big weekend allowed us to identify the need for providing entertainment for all ages in the village, we have the facilities in the hall and the new Thurst Bar, and will be holding regular events throughout the year, the first of these is a New Year’s Eve Party. To assist we have purchased Disco equipment and Lights

We have created a Team to organise this and would love more people to join and help us, In 2022 we already have planned Craft Fairs, a big event on Father’s Day in June ( at the moment can’t tell you more) everything is in the early stages, but we have quite a few ideas, if you want to get involved contact us at