Appeal for new nature reserve reaches another major milestone

Carlton Marshes Nature Reserve. Picture: James Bass

Carlton Marshes Nature Reserve. Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press � 2013

A vision of creating 1,000 acres of land in the Broads has moved another step closer.

Suffolk Wildlife Trust has reached another major milestone in its £1million appeal to create a new nature reserve near Lowestoft.

In the biggest scheme of its kind in its history, the wildlife charity is aiming to buy 384 additional acres flanking its existing 627-acre reserve at Carlton and Oulton Marshes.

The appeal, which has been personally backed by Sir David Attenborough, has now raised £400,000 towards the £1million needed to purchase the land.

Broads Warden, Matt Gooch, said the way people in Suffolk and beyond had got behind the Trust's vision had been 'truly inspirational'.

He said: 'The support that people have given has really been quite moving. I think it shows the importance of this landscape and that there is a real belief in what the Trust is trying to do, both for wildlife, and for the communities that live in and around Lowestoft.

'We know that £1million is a big target but this is a huge opportunity to create a truly special place that can be enjoyed for generation after generation.'

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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 education activities.

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, while more than 150 acres of marsh, fen meadow and shallow pools will be created along with thousands of metres of soft muddy edges for wintering wildfowl and nationally declining waders like lapwing and redshank to feed.

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