Halfway point reached in campaign for new nature reserve in the Broads

Thursday 6th April 2017

Suffolk Wildlife Trust has reached the halfway point in its ambitious campaign to raise £1million and create a new nature reserve in the Broads National Park.

A total of 2,781 people have now donated to the appeal, which has been personally backed by Sir David Attenborough.

The milestone of £500,000 was reached this week, following a grant of £33,333 from the Edward and Ivy Rose Hood Memorial Trust.

The donation was made in memory of the couple, who both loved Carlton Marshes and the beautiful wetland landscapes of the Broads.

Christine Luxton, Head of Development at Suffolk Wildlife Trust, said the generosity and enthusiasm shown for the Trust’s vision to create wildness as far as the eye can see was “truly inspiring.”

“We knew when we started this appeal that £1million would be an ambitious sum to raise, but so too is the scale of the wild landscape we will create. Members of the public, from Suffolk and beyond, have clearly taken this project to their hearts and realised that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to join up horizons and make this part of the Broads a fantastic place for both wildlife and people.”

She added: “We would like to thank everyone who has donated to the appeal so far. Every pound we receive is an important stepping stone to restore this precious part of East Anglia and enabling wildlife to flourish once more.”

At a special presentation on Friday, Edward Hood’s sister-in-law Barbara Hood presented a cheque to the Trust for £33,333.

Mrs Hood described Edward (known as Ted) and Ivy, who also founded the Suffolk Wildlife Trust’s Lowestoft branch, as “true Broadland people”.

She added: “Ted and Ivy would be absolutely delighted to contribute to such a wonderful local cause. They would have loved it, I have no doubt about that.”

The Trust’s public appeal was launched in October last year after the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) approved the Trust’s initial plans for the land purchase, together with proposals to improve the reserve for visitors and develop wide-ranging activities for people to learn about and get closer to nature.

The HLF has awarded the Trust a development grant of £246,300 to work on the detailed plans necessary to secure a full grant of £4m for the project. The Trust’s appeal will go towards match funding that grant.

The land purchase, the biggest attempted in the Trust’s 55-year history, will lead to the creation of a mix of wet habitats that so many nationally rare animals and plants depend on.

The new reedbed will be the largest in the Broads, supporting breeding marsh harrier and bittern, as well as reed bunting, grasshopper warbler and lesser known species like white mantled wainscot moth, which has only been found in Suffolk.

A seven-mile network of restored freshwater ditches will be amongst the best in the UK and will allow Broadland specialists including plants, water voles and the rare fen raft spider to spread across the landscape.

More than 150 acres of marsh, fen meadow and shallow pools will be created, with thousands of metres of soft muddy edges, for wintering wildfowl and nationally declining waders like lapwing and redshank to feed.

As well as donating online at www.suffolkwildlifetrust.org it is now possible to buy a stunning marsh harrier T-shirt, designed by artist and graphic designer Sam Foley, to support the appeal.