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Residents invest time and effort to improve their village

A village is making itself more attractive and sustainable through a project to promote walking and cycling.

The Wild Places group is part of Transition King's Cliffe, which upholds the idea that if everyone does a little bit, they can collectively make a difference.

Volunteers for the group have been clearing the old railway line across the north of the village, which once linked it to Peterborough and Market Harborough.

They are turning it into a path for villagers and visitors to experience the great outdoors and enjoy natural habitats for native plants and animals.

Charles Tomalin, who leads the Wild Places group, said: “Village projects have included planting an orchard and an acre of wildflower meadows, as well as putting in bike racks and providing cycle routes for people to download from our website.

“I got involved in helping to manage the local habit and make it more accessible to people because I took voluntary redundancy from my IT job and found I had a lot more time on my hands.

“My wife, Penny, and I had then just moved to the area and have found that being involved in Transition King's Cliffe has helped us get to know many more people, and to become a part of the community. It has provided a new sense of purpose.”

As well as clearing the railway line of scrub so it can be used as a path, volunteers take on roles such as scything the wildflower meadow – which Charles considers 'very good exercise and similar to tai chi'.

They have put in boardwalks to make paths more accessible throughout the year, and offer mini allotments in the village for those who don't have the time to manage a full-sized plot.

Landowners F & A George, the Brassey family at Apethorpe, East Northamptonshire and King's Cliffe councils, as well as the Wildlife Trust have helped the group with its mission.

“It's all about self sufficiency,” added Charles. “We want people to enjoy the countryside here, rather than having to get in their cars and drive over to Rutland Water. Whilst in the village, people are also more likely to support businesses such as the village pub.”

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