Norris Hill Community Group
Welcome to the Norris Hill Community Group webpage. A few local folk got together in 2019 to see if we could do something with the area covered with brambles behind the hedge at the corner of Norris Hill and Ashby Road - and the rest is history! The land is owned by North-West Leicestershire District Council and they seemed happy that someone was interested in improving the area. In order to lease the land, we needed to form ourselves into a constituted organisation. We decided on the name "Norris Hill Community Group" so that it allows the possibility of working more widely than just this small area. It sounds rather grand but really is just a few locals. We interpret Norris Hill as the whole area over to Dorset Drive and back along Blackfordby Lane, possibly further. The name 'Norris Hill' predates all of the estate houses that have subsequently been built as can be seen on this map from early in the 20th century.
Eventually NWLDC leased the land to Ashby Woulds Town Council, who in turn leased it to us. We needed to raise some funds and were very pleased that The National Forest Company were willing to give us a grant towards buying fruit trees. Ashby Woulds Town Council also contributed, helping us to purchase a strong gate for the site which Darren installed for us.
Darren is a talented local woodsman: see his website here .
We had a signboard made and erected by James who lives locally.
Individuals have also made donations of money and trees. Money is still needed to pay for our insurance cover - something that we will need to renew each year. This covers personal injury and third-party claims. We were just getting a bit of momentum when Covid hit and meant that we could not meet for a while. Eventually we managed to get some trees ordered, but the company were slow to deliver and many of the trees failed to grow as it was too late in the season for planting bare-rooted trees. They did send us replacements the following year, but of course this has delayed the establishment of the trees. They are now growing well but will be a few more years before they bear a significant amunt of fruit!
Prior to our tenancy, the perimeter hedge had been allowed to get very gappy and it needed some attention. We decided to allow it to grow up for a couple of years and then to lay it in the traditional Midland Style. This was done by Bill who is a trained hedge layer. This process fills the gaps and rejuvenates the hedge from ground level. The laid hedge attracted a lot of attention and is now growing well. Here are before, during and after shots.
We had always hoped to place a bench on the site and so were very pleased when the orchard area was selected for one of the benches that NWLDC decided to install around the district to commemorate those who sadly had lost their life due to the pandemic.
We organise a work-party each month - generally on the first Sunday morning. Anyone is welcome to come along and join in. Individuals also drop in from time to time to keep on top of the chores - cutting the grass paths etc. The site is always open to the public, so you are more than welcome to pop in to have a look around - maybe for a picnic on the bench or just to sit and rest awhile.
This website is still a work in progress....