Norfolk Wildlife trust launches �500,000 appeal to protect rare habitats at Roydon Common, near King’s Lynn

A �500,000 appeal is being launched today to save some of Norfolk's rarest habitat.

If Norfolk Wildlife Trust can raise the money, it will be able to buy another 95 acres of land alongside its reserve at Roydon Common, near King's Lynn.

Roydon is home to some of our rarest wildlife, including nightjars, butterfly orchids, the sundew, water vole, adder and otter.

There also newts, raft spiders, dragonflies and 23 species of butterfly on and around the site.

The NWT paid a deposit on the site after if beat off other bidders to buy the land at auction. Now it has until the end of March to raise the remainder of the money.

'Our teams are working to raise funds from charitable trusts and grant funding sources but we desperately need support and donations from local people,' said chief executive Brendan Joyce.

'I am appealing to everyone in Norfolk to help us with whatever they can afford to.

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'It is an enormous amount of money we need to raise and in return for your support, you have my commitment that the trust will continue to work tirelessly for wildlife and people in Norfolk.'

More than 80pc of heathland in Norfolk has disappeared over the last century.

The NWT has restored areas of nearby Grimston Warren to heath, adding a 50-acre extension after an appeal raised �200,000 to fund extra land puchases two years ago.

Conservationists believe our wildlife now faces its biggest challenge since the last Ice Age.

They say joining up and extending reserves offers nature the best chance of adapting to climate change.

Norfolk Wildlife Trust's chief executive admits the charity's latest attempt to bring more of Norfolk's countryside under its care is a gamble.

'The obvious question people ask us if what happens if we don't succeed,' said Mr Joyce. 'My answer is we don't consider not succeeding.

'It's a lot to raise, half a million. We may not raise the whole amount, but we hope we'll raise a substantial amount.

'It was a gamble when we took the decision to go forward. We have to stick our necks out every so often.

'We do have reserves but once we've spent that money it's a big risk to take in the current climate.'

If it fails, the trust could lose both the land and the deposit it has paid. The site could also find itself in the hands of a less sympathetic owner.

If successful, the NWT's holdings around the Gaywood Valley, north-east of King's Lynn, would be around 900 acres.

'We're calling it a living landscape, because whilst building on the wildlife hotspots, we're also trying to formulate better understandings and agreements with neighbouring landowners up there with some success,' said Mr Joyce.

Anyone wishing to make a donation can call 01603 625540, post a cheque (payable to Norfolk Wildlife Trust) to Freepost ANG20591, Bewick House, 22 Thorpe Road, Norwich NR1 1ZW.

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