Lottery grant will train volunteers to safeguard birds of prey on Hawk and Owl trust’s Norfolk reserve at Sculthorpe Moor, near Fakenham

A new viewing platform built by volunteers at Sculthorpe Moor Nature Reserve. Picture: Matthew Usher

A new viewing platform built by volunteers at Sculthorpe Moor Nature Reserve. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Britain's only charity dedicated to wild birds of prey and owls has been given a £73,200 lottery grant to recruit and train more volunteers.

Work under way on the platform.

Work under way on the platform.

The Hawk and Owl Trust will employ a coordinator to oversee its Heritage Hands project at Sculthorpe Moor reserve, near Fakenham.

The scheme will train volunteers in skills such as species and habitat recording on the land it manages.

Nigel Middleton, the trust's conservation officer for the Eastern Region, said: 'We are thrilled to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund.

'This will enable us to give people a much more rewarding volunteering experience with the opportunity to learn new skills, and encourage more local people to try their hand at conservation through fulfilling volunteering.'

Robyn Llewellyn, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund East of England, said: 'Volunteers are vital to so many organisations caring for our nation's heritage, including the Hawk and Owl Trust.

'Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, we're pleased to support the Trust to equip its volunteers with the facilities, tools and skills they need to continue their hard work and inspire the next generation of custodians of our wonderful natural heritage.'

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The Hawk and Owl Trust works to protect wild birds of prey and their habitats. Birds of prey are at the top of the food chain and are very dependent on the quality of the landscape.

The trust works with land owners and managers to help provide the best quality landscape wide habitat possible, using their reserves, such as Sculthorpe Moor, as exemplars of good habitat management practise.

It was founded in 1969 to help save the peregrine falcon, which was on the verge of extinction in the UK through the effects of widely used pesticides such as DDT.

It now works for the conservation and appreciation of all wild birds of prey and their habitats – both in its nature reserves and in partnership with others.

Working with communities and other organisations, farmers, foresters and landowners, the trust researches, restores and manages nesting, roosting and feeding habitats and encourages greater understanding and appreciation of these very special birds.

For more on its work, click here.