Wildlife trust hits £1m fundraising target for marsh reserve
- Credit: John Ferguson
Suffolk Wildlife Trust's public appeal to raise £1m to help create wildness as far as the eye can see at Carlton Marshes near Lowestoft has hit its target.
The money, raised through donations from members, supporters and charitable organisations, is the last part of the funding jigsaw needed to enable the biggest landscape transformation seen in the Broads for a decade.
The whole project, which includes the purchase of 384 acres of land, habitat restoration and the building of a state-of-the-art visitor centre will cost £8m.
Half of that figure, £4,063,000, came through a National Lottery grant – one of the largest received by a Wildlife Trust.
A further £4m has come through the Trust in the shape of legacy gifts, volunteer time and the public campaign. The Board of New Anglia LEP also awarded the Trust £250,000 in recognition of the reserve's potential to boost the local economy by more than £1m a year.
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Chief executive of Suffolk Wildlife Trust, Julian Roughton, said: 'The support for our vision for Carlton Marshes has been nothing short of spectacular. We knew when we started this campaign that £1m was an ambitious target, but the project is equally ambitious in that it will safeguard this precious piece of East Anglia for posterity.'
The process of habitat creation is due to begin soon with an ambition to transform the whole of the western fringe of Lowestoft into a water-filled landscape.
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More than 150 acres of marsh, fen meadow and shallow pools will be created, with thousands of metres of soft muddy edges, for wintering wildfowl and nationally declining waders like lapwing and redshank to feed.
A seven-mile network of restored freshwater ditches will be amongst the best in the UK and will allow Broadland specialists including plants, water voles and the rare fen raft spider to spread across the landscape. A gigantic reedbed will support breeding bittern as well as reed bunting and grasshopper warbler.
Mr Roughton added: 'The fact that so many people have recognised the importance of what we are trying to do, for both people and wildlife, really is very special. On behalf of Suffolk Wildlife Trust I would like to thank everyone who has given or supported the campaign for Carlton Marshes – their generosity will last for lifetimes.'