'Breath-taking' support brings nature reserve vision one step closer

Wednesday 25th October 2017

Suffolk Wildlife Trust’s £1million campaign to create a giant new Broadland nature reserve has hit another important milestone, a year after the launch of the public appeal.

It was in October 2016 that the Trust set out its vision to buy land flanking the existing nature reserve at Carlton and Oulton Marshes to form 1,000 acres of wildness at the gateway to the Broads National Park.

The land purchase appeal, which has been personally backed by Sir David Attenborough, has now raised more than £750,000.

While some of the money has come from grants from charitable trusts and businesses, the majority of donations have come from individuals.

In total more than 3,000 individuals have given to the campaign.

Speaking on the anniversary of the appeal’s launch, Julian Roughton, Chief Executive of the Trust, said the support from people across Suffolk had been “truly breath-taking.”

“This is the biggest land purchase the Trust has ever attempted in its 55-year history and we knew when we started that trying to raise £1million was ambitious. But I think people have really recognised the importance of what the Trust is trying to do, both for wildlife and for the communities that live in and around Lowestoft.”

He added: “We are so close now to hitting the target and creating a truly special place that can be enjoyed for generations to come. It is an exciting time and we are so grateful to everyone who has given.”

The 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 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.

To donate to the appeal visit www.suffolkwildlifetrust.org