A new 90-acre nature reserve with more than 1,000 different species of wildlife is opening in a surprisingly urban setting. 

Offering a new wildlife haven, the site will be accessible to Norwich folk and sits just off the outer ring road. 

Opening on Friday, Norfolk Wildlife Trust's (NWT) newest reserve has the River Wensum running through it and Marriott's Way alongside it. 

Eastern Daily Press: One of the paths running through the marshesOne of the paths running through the marshes (Image: Denzil Dean)

Home to a mixture of wet meadows, ponds, mature woodland, dry grassland and scrub, Sweet Briar Marshes will attract a wide variety of wildlife. 

Eliot Lyne, Norfolk Wildlife Trust CEO, said: "Anyone visiting Sweet Briar Marshes this summer and seeing the meadows brimming with flowers, dragonflies and feeding butterflies will quickly understand why we must protect and nurture this precious wild space.   

"Its proximity to Norwich also provides us with a great opportunity to connect more people with the natural world.” 

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Eastern Daily Press: A Banded demoiselle dragonfly which can be spotted at the reserveA Banded demoiselle dragonfly which can be spotted at the reserve (Image: Ian Saggers)

To launch the new park, a series of free events will help people discover the marshes and its hidden wildlife. 

On Sunday, hourly drop-in guided walks and a self-guided nature trail will give visitors the chance to get to know the nature reserve. 

After opening, the reserve intends to keep expanding with new bird-watching screens, paths and more onsite information planned for phase two. 

Eastern Daily Press: Meadow Brown butterfly is among the wildlife to spot this summerMeadow Brown butterfly is among the wildlife to spot this summer (Image: Jason Gaskin)

The opening of the park coincides with big news for the NWT as it revealed its new royal patron. 

King Charles has taken over the patronage of the trust following Queen Elizabeth II's tenure from 1952 until her passing in 2022. 

The King has a long association with the NWT visiting both Hickling Broad and Cley Marshes during his childhood - followed by an official visit in 1996 to open the new visitor facilities. 

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Eastern Daily Press: The then Prince Charles on the boardwalk in Cley MarshesThe then Prince Charles on the boardwalk in Cley Marshes (Image: Norfolk Wildlife Trust)

Alice Liddle, chair of Norfolk Wildlife Trust, said: "A remarkable naturalist, an inspiring leader, and a champion of wildlife, His Majesty has consistently advocated for nature's recovery in the UK. 

"Norfolk Wildlife Trust is honoured that he has chosen to continue Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s legacy by becoming our patron.”