It's a yes!

A £4 million grant from Heritage Lottery Fund will help create a magnificent Broadland nature reserve at Carlton Marshes. Read more

We are fundraising to extend Carlton Marshes


Please help us raise £1 million

Wildness as far as you can see - if we can raise £1million

Restoring a magnificent wild landscape in the UK’s most nature-rich National Park.

In every way, the scale of the opportunity Suffolk Wildlife Trust has to buy the fields flanking our Broadland nature reserves is unprecedented.

The ecological value of the current reserves is reflected in the national and international habitat protection given to them, but it was only relatively recently that the incomparable richness of the Broads National Park became clear to ecologists. We now realise the diversity of species and the number of rare and unique species that depend on the Broads for their survival far exceeds all other UK National Parks.

So, the chance to create 1,000 acres of wildness in the Broads, is of national significance for wildlife. We hope it will ultimately become the Suffolk Broads National Nature Reserve.

The River Waveney, Oulton Dyke and Oulton Broad create connections into the Broadland landscape beyond the reserve. Add to this the marshes that are maintained by neighbouring landowners and the impact for wildlife escalates yet more.

£1 million is an ambitious sum to raise, but so too is the scale of the wild landscape we will create. 

A place for people too

The reserve can be easily reached by train, boat, car, bus, bicycle – or on foot from much of Lowestoft. Few wild places of such size and importance are located this close to so many people and so many schools.

Making more space for nationally rare wildlife

Press cuttings from 1978 record the protests of local naturalists to the sale of the land we now have the chance to buy. Sadly, their fears for the loss of so much wetland wildlife were to be realised, when the marshes were drained and ploughed up.

We can never replace all that was lost, but by creating the mix of wet habitats they need, we can bolster the populations of nationally rare animals and plants that have been protected by the nature reserve.

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 reedbed species like white mantled wainscot moth, which has only been found in Suffolk.

Bittern Chinese water deer Lapwing Water vole Barn owl

The network of freshwater ditches will be amongst the best in the UK. Specialist plants like bladderwort and water soldier and vulnerable aquatic invertebrates that are wholly dependent on Broadland, will be able to spread across the landscape through seven miles of restored water-filled ditches. For some of the aquatic snails this will take decades, whilst more mobile species like water vole, fen raft spider and Norfolk hawker will soon be on the move.
Over 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.
Buying the land now will secure its future as a home for wildlife, for ever.

In the early 1970s, marsh harrier numbers in the UK were perilously low. Their breeding success at Carlton Marshes made a significant contribution to their UK recovery.

Helping a wilder, wetter landscape to emerge

After decades of artificially low water levels, we will work with nature to restore the landscape of reed, marsh and fen that makes Broadland so special.

Re-wetting the marshes, reinstating long lost ditches and planting reedbeds will need an ambitious restoration programme to create the foundations for a wilder landscape to develop.

Beyond this, we will encourage nature to take the lead, so that wildlife can reclaim its place in a flourishing wild landscape.

The Suffolk coast is just two miles away. A refuelling stop on this scale will transform the fortunes of exhausted birds as they reach land after crossing the North Sea, on their way to other UK wintering grounds.

A bird’s eye view of the reserve, flying north. Open water, so visible from the air when it catches the sunlight, draws birds in.

So far, 226 bird species have been spotted in the shallow pools created on one small marsh, just imagine what you might see with a whole landscape of wildness to enjoy.

Jean Hannaford
(with little owl)

This reserve purchase is far bigger than anything the Trust has ever done. Jean Hannaford was a member of Suffolk Wildlife Trust for 42 years and remembered the Trust in her Will. Mrs Hannaford’s generosity, and that of others like her, means we can seize this opportunity to achieve something spectacular.

Wildlife brought great joy to Jean. Suffolk changed so much during her lifetime and so many wild places were lost

She would be thrilled to see how her last gift to the Trust is helping to bring back the wildness she cherished, for others to enjoy

Your donation will be tripled by the legacy gifts we have already received, Gift Aid and a £4.06 million grant from Heritage Lottery Fund. So we will turn every £10 you give into £30 of nature reserve. A gift of £100 will buy £300 of reserve.

Together we can raise £1 million. Please give whatever you can

Each £10 you give will buy £30 of wildness for Suffolk