Growing up Wild

Growing up wild is a campaign by Suffolk Wildlife Trust to create a memory bank of people's childhood experiences of nature that can be shared to inspire families to spend more time in the wild spaces where they live.

Gordon Kennett is a volunteer warden at Suffolk Wildlife Trust’s Arger Fen & Spouse’s Vale nature reserve.

"When I was just ten we used to camp up on Tiger Hill, which takes its name from the canine of a sabre-toothed tiger that was unearthed there. Dr Grace Griffiths, who was the local GP and cared for consumptives at a sanatorium nearby, lived there at the time.

She was a great botanist and she knew all the names of the flowers and the birds. She used to get all of us kids sat around the campsite talking about wildlife then she would bring us into Arger Fen and talk to us and show us things.

I suppose that’s how I first really got into all of this – and I’ve becoming back to Arger Fen all of my life, so I’ve seen all kinds of changes.

I’ve definitely got some favourite spots. Walking round the perimeter of the site there is what is now called the boxing holly. It marks the spot where, prior to 1951, local people would come to settle any of the differences they might have had. On the bark of the holly tree is the date of the last fight that took place here, which was presumably a bare-knuckle contest, with the initials of the people involved.

It adds to the history of this beautiful place and highlights that these woods have been used by people for many years – it’s part of our shared heritage."


Click on the names on the left or the map to find more memories: