Norman’s wisdom reshaped a valley

3 September 2015, Comments Comments Off on Norman’s wisdom reshaped a valley

u946199921-o1070065013-54Pioneering environmentalist Norman Crowson (pictured) is stepping back from leading Dronfield’s Lea Brook Valley Project, one of A Rocha UK’s Partners In Action.

A special farewell will be part of the scheme’s tenth anniversary celebrations Dronfield Going Wild this month. As people enjoy the activities and learn about wildlife, they’ll be expressing their gratitude to Norman, too.


‘I want to say a huge “thank you” to Norman for his vision, determination and passion,’ said Conservation Director Andy Lester. ‘The Lea Brook Valley project wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for his leadership and enthusiasm.’

When Andy was first introduced to Norman by A Rocha UK Chair Steve Hughes, he was struck by the fact that ‘in Norman there was no messing around – it was all about “getting the job done”’.

Hard work by Norman and a team of volunteers from across a wide range of organisations transformed Lee Brook Valley from ‘a rather uninspiring urban river valley to a place teeming with life’, said Andy.

The practical work started in 2005 when volunteers decided to clean up a half-a-mile stretch between Sheards Drive and Lea Road, Dronfield. Eighteen months later, the Derbyshire valley had completely changed.


Rubbish was removed, a new woodland path built to protect wildflowers, timberwork repaired, bat and bird boxes installed and stream pollution was reduced. Most recently, 1,000 trees were planted.

Dronfield Goes Wild 2015 Flyer (1)-2‘A wide range of bird, insect and flower species now occur in the valley,’ Andy explained, ‘and it’s used for recreation by an ever-growing number of local residents.

‘The project has been a great example of how to link faith, fun, conservation and community together into a single project that’s inspired the town and many others beyond its boundaries.’ Dronfield Going Wild takes place on 12th September from 10am to 4pm.

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