Lottery cash boost for flagship Suffolk nature reserve

A FLAGSHIP Suffolk nature reserve has been handed vital funding for an ambitious redevelopment project.

Discover Nature will start at RSPB Minsmere in September after the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) awarded �870,000 towards the scheme.

Visitor facilities will be totally re-vamped with new areas for families to learn about the wildlife.

There will also be a new reception area and education building along with improved access.

The first phase of the project – the resurfacing and extension of the car park – has been completed with funding from the East of England Development Agency.

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As well as creating more space for visitors, there will also be an electric car charge point for those who chose to take a more environmental approach to their journey.

Ian Barthorpe, RSPB's visitor and publicity officer for the Suffolk coast, said: 'The funding for this project and the initial work on our car park is cause for much celebration.

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'The completion of the car park marks the first step towards this much bigger redevelopment project at Minsmere and means the facilities at the reserve will be improved for all, making the reserve a truly first-rate visitor destination.'

The project has also received funding from the European Union's European Regional Development Fund, Waste Recycling Group via the Suffolk Environmental Trust, and Essex and Suffolk Water.

Adam Rowlands, RSPB Discover Nature project manager, said: 'Minsmere is the beating heart of Suffolk's wild coast. It will evolve as a place where all visitors can enjoy, discover and learn about the environment, forging lasting connections with wildlife.'

Robyn Llewellyn, head of HLF east of England, added: 'To be able to experience this breathtaking landscape first-hand, by walking the trails and seeing the wealth of species that make Minsmere their home, is absolutely wonderful.

'Thanks to this award, more people will have the chance to do exactly this, and through the creation of new facilities and education resources young people especially will have the opportunity to learn about and explore this precious reserve, meaning the impact of this will be felt long after this project is complete.'

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