New boardwalk opens at Hawk and Owl Trust’s Sculthorpe Moor Reserve in Norfolk

Some of the volunteers that helped to build the new boardwalk and the Volunteers' Hide at the reserv

Some of the volunteers that helped to build the new boardwalk and the Volunteers' Hide at the reserve. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Volunteer builders, sponsors and supporters of a new boardwalk and bird watching hide, which offer panoramic views of the Wensum Valley, were thanked at its official opening.

People visiting the nature reserve, near Fakenham, donated more than £14,000 towards the project, sponsoring individual planks to form the new pathway at £10 a time.

Yesterday, many enjoyed a stroll along the reed-lined riverside walk for the first time, after the ribbon was cut by Fakenham mayor Adrian Vertigan and the path was blessed by the Ven John Ashe, Archdeacon of Lynn.

Before the ceremony David Smith, trustee of the Hawk and Owl Trust, said the event was the culmination of two years of hard work restoring the reed beds, creating open water and building the hide and boardwalk from which visitors can enjoy views of the site.

'It's truly amazing what has been achieved in that time,' he added.

Hawk and Owl Trust conservation officer Nigel Middleton said the hide had been named the Volunteer Hide, in recognition of the group which had to helped build it. Piles had to be sank more than 3m into the peat to support the structure.

The Hawk and Owl Trust is soon to re-locate its headquarters to Sculthorpe. Its chairman Philip Merricks said it had appointed a new chief executive, based in Norfolk, whose name would be announced soon.

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In all, the reedbed, walk and hide scheme cost £150,000. Sponsors include Biffa, the Garfield Weston Foundation, Big Lottery, North Norfolk council and Friends of Sculthorpe Moor also contributed towards the boardwalk and hide.

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