Norwich nature reserve appeal gets £60k boost

Sweet Briar Marshes - Credit: Richard Osbourne

A staggering £60,000 has been pledged to a public appeal which will create a new nature reserve in Norwich.

The Geoffrey Watling Charity made a generous donation of £30,000 towards Norfolk Wildlife Trust's (NWT) appeal, an amount that will be matched by Aviva for the creation of a new reserve for wildlife and people based at Sweet Briar Marshes.

The 90-acre site, runs along the River Wensum close to the city centre and aims to provide a haven of wildness and peace.

NWT is working to support rare and vulnerable wildlife such as water vole, water shrew, orchids, reed bunting, willow warbler and snipe.

An early marsh orchid

An early marsh orchid - Credit: Amy Lewis

An urban green space will also be created to enable local communities to benefit from better access to nature.

The public appeal has now reached more than £200,000 of the total £600,000 needed to make the reserve a reality.

Trustees from the Geoffrey Watling Charity visited the proposed site with NWT chief executive Eliot Lyne to celebrate their significant donation to the nature reserve appeal.

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Alan Watling, chairman of the trustees for the Geoffrey Watling Charity, said: "We are glad to be able to help Norfolk Wildlife Trust with it ambitions to safeguard Sweet Briar Marshes as a wild space for all the city.  

Geoffrey WatlingTrustees Alexandra Haswell, David Lundean, Susan Watling, Alan Watling, Richard Marks and NWT CEO Eliot Lyne

Geoffrey Watling trustees Alexandra Haswell, David Lundean, Susan Watling, Alan Watling, Richard Marks and Norfolk Wildlife Trust chief executive Eliot Lyne - Credit: Norfolk Wildlife Trust

"It is a remarkable opportunity for the Trust to connect Norwich communities, that have had such a difficult time over the past few years, with this wonderful haven for wildlife so close to the heart of the city."

Eliot Lyne added: "The Geoffrey Watling Charity are continuing in their fine tradition of supporting communities across Norfolk and beyond by bringing our vision for a new nature reserve for Norwich closer to reality. We are grateful for their generous donation, which will go a long way in supporting Norfolk’s wildlife and people. 

Sweet Briar Marshes

Sweet Briar Marshes - Credit: Richard Osbourne

"Sweet Briar Marshes is an incredibly special place for wildlife, something rarely seen in such urban surroundings. This gives us a brilliant opportunity to protect Norfolk’s special wildlife whilst providing urban communities with better access to nature."