Norfolk Wildlife Trust reaches half-way point in £1m Hickling Broad appeal

Hickling Broad. Picture: Mike Page

Hickling Broad. Picture: Mike Page - Credit: Archant

A £1m appeal to safeguard the wildlife at one of Norfolk's most famous Broads has reached half its target in just three months.

The Norfolk Wildlife Trust (NWT) aims to raise £1m before the end of March to purchase 655 acres of the Hickling Broad Estate, which were put up for sale in September.

The trust chose World Wetlands Day to announce that more than £500,000 has so far been donated to its appeal – but said there is still a long way to go to ensure this wildlife-rich wetland is preserved.

NWT chief executive Brendan Joyce said: 'Hickling Broad is a nationally and internationally-important wildlife jewel. This will be the biggest land purchase in the trust's 90-year history. On a day that highlights the significance of wetlands across the world, we are asking everyone to think about one of the most important wetlands in the UK and help us.

'This is a golden opportunity to secure Hickling Broad for the future so that its wildlife is protected and that its natural resources, from which many people benefit, are used wisely and sustainably.'

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Hickling Broad is a Site of Scientific Special Interest (SSSI) and a National Nature Reserve (NNR). It is also designated as a Special Protection Area (SPA) and as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) in recognition of its European importance for its habitats and the wildlife that depends on them.

More than 1,400 acres of reedbed, fen, grazing marsh, open water and woodland make up the Hickling Broad NNR. Its wetland habitats offer a year-round haven for threatened wildlife such as swallowtail butterflies, marsh harriers, Norfolk hawker dragonflies, the common crane and the bittern.

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The Hickling Broad appeal is running alongside a similar campaign by neighbouring Suffolk Wildlife Trust (SWT), which is also trying to raise £1m to purchase land flanking its Carlton Marshes in the southern Broads.

The Trust has currently raised a third of its fundraising target, with 2,200 people donating £335,239 to the appeal since it was launched in late October.

Julian Roughton, SWT chief executive, said: 'Our vision to create 1,000 acres of wildness in the Broads is not just of local and national significance, it is internationally important. The reserve is located on a major flyway and we know if we create a rich landscape of water, marsh and mud, birds passing over on their global journeys will find it.'

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