Wildlife bringing Lowestoft park back to glory

AN ambitious project to breathe new life into one of Lowestoft's biggest parks has seen wildlife attracted back to the site after months of heavy work.

Fen Park, between Southwell Road and Tom Crisp Way in Kirkley, was created in the early 1900s and became a popular attraction in the 1930s when it had a boating lake, a menagerie with monkeys living in a tower and even a small lake which was home to a crocodile.

In recent years the islands in the fens had become overgrown and a project to clear the area and create new nature walks started last spring.

Over the summer, trees and shrubs have been planted on the islands and thousands of fish have been put into the ponds. Now that the heavy machinery has gone, wildlife has moved back on to the park and many species of bird are breeding there.

Richard Jolley, chairman of Fen Park Friends, said: 'It's looking great, and it has been busy here throughout the summer. The fishing sites were really popular and gave children somewhere safe to fish for fun during the school holidays.

'The wildlife is creeping back in, which must mean we've done something right. We've had ducks breeding in the reed beds, loads of seagulls, coots and cormorants. We've even had some dab chicks swimming in the water.'

He added: 'As volunteers, we thrive off the compliments we've been getting. A lot of people from outside Lowestoft, or who haven't been here for decades, have said how different it looks and that has been really good to hear.'

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The project, which was paid for by local fundraising and a �150,000 grant from neighbourhood management project Lowestoft Together, has been carried out by volunteers from Fen Park Friends and officers from Waveney District Council and Waveney Norse.

The Fen Park Friends will be holding an consultation event on October 25 to give local people the chance to have their say about the future of the public toilets in the park. Representatives will be in the park from 10am to noon.