Charity’s purchase of ‘missing link’ land finally connects north Norfolk walk - and hopes to boost rare species

The 'missing link' in a popular north Norfolk walk has finally been joined up after the National Trust successfully bought a piece of precious land at auction.

The charity stumped up �108,000 for the 30 acres of mixed woodland, which will now connect a string of heath land that volunteers have been steadily restoring, and provide a joined up route for walkers from Beeston Regis to West Runton.

It will also create a bigger and better habitat for wildlife, which members hope will boost numbers of two rare butterfies, which have been spotted on the land. The silver washed fritillary and a white admiral butterfly caused an excited stir when they were caught on camera by a volunteer within the newly acquired woodland.

The Trust has been trying to buy the plot in Beeston Regis for more than 15 years but could not afford it when it first went on sale. But thanks to a generous benefactor, who bequeathed a lump sum to the charity specifically for the purchase of woodland, members were able to snap up the land at auction.

John Idiens, volunteer warden, said: 'It's wonderful, this now allows us and walkers to get from one end to the other with pleasure, avoiding the hills! And we will be able to greatly develop it.

'We're going to let some sun in and that will help the brambles and lower bushes, which will let the insects feed. And then we'll be repairing the footpaths so people can walk on the level. It will be a real pleasure for local people and protect a bit more habitat.'

Mr Idiens said the land also had the potential to help boost the Trust's green credentials by providing wood chippings to power the boiler at Sheringham Park.

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Volunteers are now eager to get onto the new plot so they can begin opening it up to visitors and nature alike, but Mr Idiens said walkers would be able to enjoy the land while this work is going on.

'We'll start opening it up in the spring but people can still walk there, they will just need wellingtons as opposed to ordinary shoes,' he added.

In due course the wood will also be designated as 'inalienable' which, by law, will protect it from 'anybody else, forever' Mr Idiens said.

The majority of National Trust land has inalienable status, which requires an Act of Parliament should the charity need to disposed or sell any plots.

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