Birthday celebrations to go off with a bang as Lackford Lakes land appeal hits £100k

Thursday 14th September 2017

Suffolk Wildlife Trust’s campaign to raise £200,000 towards the purchase of new land at Lackford Lakes nature reserve has hit the half-way point, just two weeks after launching.

The acquisition, 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 the Trust had been overwhelmed by the level of support for the vision to make Lackford Lakes bigger and better for wildlife and people.

“Since Lackford Lakes was founded 30 years ago it has become a real wildlife haven, offering a myriad of habitats for different species and renowned nationally for its kingfishers, dragonflies and winter wildfowl. But also it has become a place where people can really get a close-up experience of nature.

“This appeal shows how people have taken Lackford to heart and how strongly they feel about protecting the open Breckland landscapes of Suffolk.”

Julian Roughton, chief executive of Suffolk Wildlife Trust said he wanted to thank everyone who had donated to the appeal so far.

“This really is an opportunity to ensure that a unique part of Suffolk’s natural heritage is protected for future generations to enjoy. The fact that so many people have supported and shared the Trust’s vision for a bigger, wilder Lackford Lakes is truly inspiring.”

The 77 acre parcel, 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 was effectively founded in 1987 when Bernard Tickner MBE, who lived alongside what was then a working quarry, purchased part of the site that had been worked out. He gifted the land, known as The Slough, to the Trust to be managed for wildlife. In 1999, having exhausted the sand and gravel reserves, Atlas Aggregates (which had become RMC and subsequently CEMEX) generously gifted the entire remaining site to the Trust.

To celebrate the 30th birthday of Lackford Lakes, there will be a weekend of fun, family-friendly activities at the reserve taking place on September 23 and September 24 (from 11am to 4pm on both days). Along with an opportunity to walk the land the Trust hopes to buy, visitors can enjoy fete-style games, guided pond-dipping, bug hunts, crafts and more.