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As Lackford Lakes turns 30, help us make it bigger and better

Friday 1st September 2017

Suffolk Wildlife Trust is calling for the public’s support to buy 77 acres of land neighbouring the Lackford Lakes nature reserve near Bury St Edmunds.

The purchase, in what is the 30th anniversary of the reserve’s foundation, will allow the Trust to safeguard a place where rare species such as stone curlew have been breeding.

The wetland edge of the new land alongside the River Lark also provides important habitat for nightingales.

Will Cranstoun, West Suffolk Sites Manager for Suffolk Wildlife Trust, said buying the land represented “a precious opportunity to create somewhere special for both wildlife and people.”

He added: “Over the last 30 years Lackford Lakes has developed into an extraordinary place, where people can enjoy a close-up experience with wildlife.

“The reserve is already well known for its kingfishers, dragonflies and winter wildfowl and the addition of this new land would add a real sense of the big skies and open landscape that Suffolk’s Brecklands are famous for.”

The Trust hopes to raise £200,000 towards the purchase price through a public appeal.

Bernard Tickner, the Vice President of the Trust, who was recently awarded an MBE for his services to nature and conservation, has also pledged his support to the campaign.

It was Mr Tickner who effectively founded Lackford Lakes nature reserve 30 years ago, initiating the transformation of the used quarry into a rich wildlife habitat. In 1987 he bought part of the reserve, known as The Slough’ and gifted it to the Trust.

He said: “Lackford Lakes is now enjoyed by many species, rare and common, and the Trust has a remarkable chance to create even more first-class habitat to allow even more wildlife to move in. What a way to mark the 30th anniversary of the nature reserve. I have pledged my support and I sincerely hope you will too.”

Julian Roughton, chief executive of Suffolk Wildlife Trust said seizing the opportunity to expand Lackford Lakes was part of the charity’s vision to create a Living Landscape of wildlife rich countryside across Suffolk.

He added: “As the ecological anchor of a Living Landscape, our nature reserves are more important than ever, and the larger they are, the better for wildlife. Large sites and networks of habitat are better able to support viable populations of species and are less affected by impacts from surrounding land.

"The opportunity we have now to extend Lackford Lakes is about safeguarding Suffolk’s wonderful natural heritage but it is also about sharing it.”

The land the Trust is looking to buy was last cultivated 25 years ago and grass heath typical of the Brecks has now started to move back in.

The 77 acre parcel (pictured below), which neighbours Lackford village, adjoins similar fields that the Trust purchased in 2005. Linking them together will create a significantly bigger area for specialist Breckland species, such as unusual solitary bee and wasps, ground beetle and stone curlew, to flourish.

Lackford Lakes will mark its 30th anniversary with a birthday weekend of activities, including bug hunts, moth traps, pond-dipping, trails and craft, on 23 and 24 September.

To donate to Suffolk Wildlife Trust’s Lackford Lakes campaign visit www.suffolkwildlifetrust.org