Guided walk at Earsham offers early look at redeveloped site

Earsham Wetland Centre will open to the public from Saturday July 24. Picture: Andrew Atterwill

Earsham Wetland Centre will open to the public from Saturday July 24. Picture: Andrew Atterwill - Credit: Andrew Atterwill

Nature lovers keen to get an early look at the redeveloped Earsham Wetland Centre can take part in a special evening walk at the site on Friday, June 23.

A file picture of Ben Potterton. Picture: Sonya Duncan

A file picture of Ben Potterton. Picture: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Eastern Daily Press � 2016

Well-known horticulturalist and zoologist Ben Potterton will host a walk along the River Waveney the day before the redeveloped centre near Bungay opens to the public.

All money raised from the event will go towards Bungay Community Centre. Sylvia Knights, trustee of the Bungay Community Centre, said it was a special, once off event that would give people a chance to see the work that has gone on at Earsham.

'Ben will take people for a guided walk along the river. They have being doing a lot of work there and have replanted quite extensively along that section with wildflower. He will also point out other interesting things including wildlife and hopefully those taking part will get to see otter, deer and even owls as the walk will take place in the early evening.'

She said the group would then return to the wetland centre where Mr Potterton would give a talk on what had been seen and also on the development of the site.

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From his home at Shorelands, Mr Potterton manages a variety of conservation projects across the region and as a trustee of the Otter Trust redeveloped the Earsham site and also recently purchased Dickleburgh Moor to create a new nature reserve. The Otter Trust first opened the site in 1978 as a breeding and education centre for the Eurasian otter, but closed in 2006. The trust continued to financially support otter conservation and research initiatives and since 2013 the Earsham site had been leased to the River Waveney Trust. However, concerns were raised over the maintenance and responsibility this placed on the RWT.

'The site had deteriorated and required a significant amount of investment and a decision was taken to redevelop it,' said Mr Potterton. He said that while it would only officially open on July 2 and 3, it would be accessible to the public from Saturday, June 24. 'We're planning a fun day with food and music for that day,' he said, adding that exact details were still to be released. 'Going forward from June 24 there will be no charge for entry from 10am to 6pm daily.' Friday's walk starts at 7.30pm and tickets cost £10. They are available from the Bungay Library. For more information phone 01986 892748.

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