Campaign for 1,000acre nature reserve in Broads hits £700k
Donation from local business brings Trust's vision of restoring magnificent wild Suffolk landscape one step closer
Suffolk Wildlife Trust has hit another important milestone in its campaign to create a 1,000-acre nature reserve in the Broads following support from Waveney River Centre.
Waveney River Centre, an award-winning family owned holiday park connected to the existing reserve at Carlton Marshes by a foot ferry, donated £10,000 to help secure part of a nationally important landscape that will benefit both wildlife and people.
Suffolk Wildlife Trust, whose vision for a wetter, wilder landscape on the doorstep of Lowestoft has also received support from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), has raised more than £700,000 of the £1million needed for the project.
Matt Gooch, Broads Warden for Carlton Marshes, said the “extremely generous donation” from the river centre was another stepping stone towards safeguarding a precious piece of East Anglia.
“We are so grateful to Waveney River Centre for their support and belief in our vision and for helping us reach another milestone in our campaign.
“This is an opportunity to restore a magnificent wetland landscape in the UK’s most nature-rich National Park and the fact that businesses like Waveney River Centre and the community as a whole are supporting us is nothing short of fantastic.”
The relationship between the Trust and Waveney River Centre goes back to 2013, when the centre introduced a gifting scheme offering visitors the chance to add £1 or more on to their booking fee to support the work of Suffolk Wildlife Trust at Carlton Marshes through Love The Broads.
James Knight, who runs Waveney River Centre with wife Ruth and her parents Len & Hazel Funnell, said: “In 2012, we re-established the historic pedestrian ferry link so that our guests could explore 'the Broads in miniature' at Carlton Marshes.
“We’re incredibly excited at the new opportunities which will come with the expansion of the reserve and are delighted to support this project which will create a major attraction for visitors to the southern Broads."
The public appeal to create the nature reserve in the Broads, which has been publicly backed by Sir David Attenborough, was launched in October last year after the 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.
To donate to the appeal visit www.suffolkwildlifetrust.org