Work to begin on wildlife wonderland at the end of year
PUBLISHED: 17:42 23 April 2018 | UPDATED: 18:03 23 April 2018
Archant © 2018
Work to create a new 1,000-acre wildlife wonderland near Lowestoft will get under way at the end of this year following a £4m grant.
Suffolk Wildlife Trust has been awarded £4,063,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to further enhance its Carlton Marshes nature reserve with the building of a visitor centre and creation of precious wetland habitat.
Matt Gooch, Suffolk Wildlife Trust’s Broads Warden at Carlton Marshes, said it was a very exciting time.
He said: “I’ve been working at Carlton Marshes for 10 years and we’ve slowly been extending the reserve where we can but it got to a point where we needed a big move forward or the reserve just carried on as normal.
“The potential for the reserve has always been talked about by everybody from trust staff to local birders and photographers and now with this Heritage Lottery Funding it is really exciting that we can take things forward.”
Mr Gooch said the trust has been working on designs for the new nature reserve for the last two to three years.
He said: “From a public point of view the biggest things they will see are a new visitor centre with a cafe and retail area as well as educational facilities which will replace the education centre we have at the moment.
“From a wildlife point of view there will be an extension to the reserve by another 400 acres of land. The land was in poor agricultural condition and will be returned to a wetland habitat, so we will be looking at the creation of reed beds, wet grassland and extending on the scrapes we’ve already got.”
The whole project will cost about £8m, with a further £4m coming from the trust through legacy gifts, volunteer time and the continuing £1m public fundraising campaign – which is now just £95,000 short of its target.
Mr Gooch said planning is still being done behind the scenes, but work would start on the ground before Christmas.
He said the visitor centre would hope to be built by 2020, followed by the new viewing structures, with the whole project taking four years to complete.
The scheme, supported by Sir David Attenborough, will be the biggest habitat restoration and wetland creation in the National Park for a decade.