Wildlife trust's final push to hit appeal target on 95th anniversary

The Norfolk Wildlife Trust reserve at Thompson Common

The Norfolk Wildlife Trust needs to raise another £30,000 to hit the £625,625 target to expand its reserve Thompson Common - Credit: Shaun Lawson

On the 95th anniversary of buying its first nature reserve, Norfolk Wildlife Trust (NWT) has appealed for help to raise the final £30,000 needed to make its latest land purchase for nature.

The trust needs to raise £625,625 by May to expand its Thompson Common reserve near Watton, one of the Brecks’ most important nature reserves.

And with the finishing line in sight, it has renewed its appeal on the same day on which the fledgling trust made its first land acquisition 95 years earlier.

Dr Sydney Long, who founded the Norfolk Naturalists Trust in 1926

Dr Sydney Long, who founded the Norfolk Naturalists Trust in 1926 - Credit: Norfolk Wildlife Trust

On March 6, 1926, a dozen wildlife enthusiasts led by Dr Sydney Long purchased Cley Marshes to be preserved as "a bird-breeding sanctuary for all time".

Later that year they created what was then known as Norfolk Naturalists Trust, whose aims still underpin the work of NWT, the first Wildlife Trust in the UK, which now manages 60 important sites for wildlife, and for people to enjoy.

NWT’s current land purchase appeal focuses on a series of arable fields and semi-natural woodland next to its National Nature Reserve at Thompson Common, a biodiversity hotspot, supporting much rare and threatened wildlife including dragonflies, aquatic snails and many rare water plants.

England’s rarest native amphibian the northern pool frog was reintroduced to the site in 2015.

Pool frogs were reintroduced to Thompson Common in 2015

Pool frogs were reintroduced to Thompson Common in 2015 - Credit: Jim Foster

Nik Khandpur, the trust's director of development and engagement, said: "With the help of our members, supporters and people who love this area, we are nearly there with our land purchase appeal – thank you so much to everyone who has donated during these difficult times.

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"The land will mean we can better protect Thompson Common, recreate rare habitats which have been lost, and enable wildlife to move across the landscape which is crucial in the changing climate.

"Restoring this land back to its past richness will increase its resilience in the future.

"If you are able, please help us raise the final £30,000 before our May deadline.”

To mark its 95th anniversary year, NWT is carrying out a year-long wildlife audit of The Bishop’s House Garden in Norwich, and it is also also working on a collaboration with UEA and Norfolk and Norwich Festival at Cley Marshes in the summer, as well as a celebration of Norfolk’s wildlife areas with Archant, publisher of the EDP.

NWT chief executive Pamela Abbott said: “As well as hopefully securing this precious land at Thompson Common, we are looking forward to sharing the achievements of many involved in Norfolk conservation who have made us what we are, and to inspiring the future conservationists who will save Norfolk’s wildlife for many years to come."

A 1926 bill of sale poster for Cley Marshes

A 1926 bill of sale poster for Cley Marshes - Credit: Norfolk Wildlife Trust

Norfolk Wildlife Trust's first nature reserve at Cley Marshes

Norfolk Wildlife Trust's first nature reserve at Cley Marshes - Credit: Richard Osbourne


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