Felbeck Trust is a charity, registered in 2016, that works to improve habitat for wildlife on small, generally neglected, sites. Constitutionally, the charity is able to work throughout the county of Norfolk, but initial activity has focused within the North Norfolk District Council boundary.
Felbeck Trust is managed by a body of Trustees who are responsible for the day-to-day running of the charity. The Trustees raise the funds necessary to maintain and progress the project sites, and co-ordinate the species surveys and practical works. The Trustees are helped by a project support team who assist with grant applications. Felbeck trust also works in partnership with other Norfolk based charitable organisations to achieve its objectives.
Sustead Common & Surveyor’s Allotment are adjoining sites owned by the National Trust and North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) respectively. Felbeck Trust began to manage these two sites in the Spring of 2017, against formal long-term management agreements and with the help of a grant from the North Norfolk Big Society Fund.
In 2018 we ran a successful fund-raising campaign to purchase Spurrell’s Wood – five acres of wet woodland along the banks of the Gur Beck, adjacent to Sustead Common and Surveyors Allotment. Grant funders included The People’s Postcode Lottery and Geoffrey Watling charity, with further grants from British Birds Charitable Trust, and other corporate and private donors – all helping us to complete the purchase and carry out the initial phase of essential maintenance.
By purchasing the wood, Felbeck Trust has safeguarded a varied, ecologically important site for wildlife, local residents, and visitors. The site, bordered by traditional hedgerows and damp ditches, is bisected by the Gur Beck, a chalk stream tributary of Scarrow Beck which ﬂows into the Upper Bure. Bringing together the three Sustead sites and the Roadside Nature Reserve under one managing organisation has effectively re-established, what we believe to be the former Common and has safeguarded this site, which occupies a strategic position in the area, forming one of few woodland “stepping stones” for North Norfolk’s wildlife and for generations of visitors to come.
In the Spring of 2020, after careful and systematic monitoring, these three Sustead sites and the Roadside Nature Reserve were recognised for their wildlife value and awarded County Wildlife Site status.
In 2019 Felbeck Trust began to work with East and West Beckham Parish Council and we now manage East Beckham Common, West Beckham Green, and West Beckham Old Allotments. As with the Sustead sites, we are working to improve the general habitat for the benefit of wildlife. We have installed visitor facilities, picnic tables and benches to sit on to enjoy the quiet, wild spaces.
In autumn 2022, Felbeck Trust took on the management of an additional four surveyors’ allotments on behalf of North Norfolk District Council, with sites at Wood Norton, Bale, Brinton, and Hindolveston. Meanwhile, under an agreement with Felmingham Parish Council, another surveyor’s allotment, Stow Heath, was added to our network in November 2022.