Norfolk Wildlife Trust launches £1m appeal to secure future of Hickling Broad

Part of the Hickling Broad Estate, which has gone on sale.

Part of the Hickling Broad Estate, which has gone on sale. - Credit: Archant

A wildlife trust has launched an ambitious £1m appeal to secure the future of an iconic Broads landscape.

The Hickling Broad Estate is on the property market with a guide price of £2.3m

The Hickling Broad Estate is on the property market with a guide price of £2.3m - Credit: Archant

In September, several hundred acres of the Hickling Broad Estate, including about half of the broad, were put up for sale for £2.3m.

The Norfolk Wildlife Trust (NWT), which is a tenant of the land and owner of another part of the estate, has now revealed it has reached an agreement to buy the land - but is turning to its members for help securing the funds to buy the internationally-important reserve.

Brendan Joyce, chief executive of NWT, said: 'When the estate went up for sale, it was inevitable that there would be a lot of interest given its position at the heart of the Broads.

'Hickling is one of the best wildlife sites in the UK and, given our long-standing involvement in its management, we knew we had to push the boat out and do everything possible to secure its future.'

The Hickling Broad Estate is on the property market with a guide price of £2.3m

The Hickling Broad Estate is on the property market with a guide price of £2.3m - Credit: Archant

More than 1,400 acres of reedbed, fen, grazing marsh, open water and woodland make up the Hickling Broad National Nature Reserve, which offers a year-round haven for threatened wildlife including swallowtail butterflies, marsh harriers and the booming bittern.

It was in 1945 that the Mills family, who have owned the land for two centuries, agreed for much of it to be managed by the NWT.

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Hallam Mills said: 'The Hickling estate has been in my family for 200 years and during that time this lovely Broad has survived in fine style, despite the pressures of the modern world.

'The family is delighted that, out of many expressions of interest, the Broad is going to NWT, who in many ways were the Broad's natural owner. The wildlife and conservation interest of the reserve will be very safe in their hands.'

Mr Joyce said the trust was now working closely with those living and working around Hickling to ensure the broad's conservation and cultural interests were maintained.

'But we need help to complete the purchase and will be appealing to all our members and everyone who has an interest in and cares about this important place,' he said. 'Securing the future of this Broad will leave a great legacy for our 90th anniversary.'

To donate to the Hickling Broad land purchase appeal, click here or text LAND26 to 70070 with the amount of your donation.

Hickling Broad is the largest in the Norfolk and Suffolk wetlands network.

For more information, visit www.norfolkwildlifetrust.org.uk• Do you have a Broads story for us? Email lauren.cope@archant.co.uk

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