Trust's vision for new nature reserve to feature on Countryfile

Thursday 11th May 2017

Suffolk Wildlife Trust’s vision for a new landscape-scale nature reserve in the Broads National Park will be featured on BBC’s Countryfile this Sunday.

A film crew, fronted by presenter Matt Baker, visited Carlton Marshes last month to learn more about the Trust’s campaign to raise £1million and create 1,000 acres of wildness on the doorstep of Suffolk’s biggest town, Lowestoft.

As well as gaining an understanding of how a new nationally important reserve would benefit people and wildlife, the Countryfile team also met some of Carlton Marshes’ ‘Dog Ambassadors’ to hear about the Trust’s efforts to encourage responsible dog walking in a wildlife space.

The show, which is focussed on rural and environmental issues in the UK and broadcasts to an audience of up to 9.6million people, will be screened on BBC One this Sunday (May 14) at 7pm.

Broads Warden, Matt Gooch, who took part in the filming, said the interest of Countryfile was further proof of the new reserves’ national importance.

He added: “We’ve always known that what we are trying to do at Carlton Marshes is important, not just for local people and local wildlife but also in creating refuges for rare migrant species.

“Our vision for Carlton Marshes is for it to be a destination where people will come from across the UK to enjoy a close-up experience of nature. This visit from Countryfile demonstrates the site’s significance while also giving us a welcome opportunity to talk to a national audience about how they can help protect this unique part of the country.”

The Trust is currently just over halfway to reaching the £1million to make the project possible after starting a public appeal in October last year.

The appeal, which has been publicly backed by Sir David Attenborough, was launched 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 200 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.