Trust completes purchase of heath

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SUFFOLK Wildlife Trust has purchased Knettishall Heath following an ambitious £100,000 fund-raising campaign.

To celebrate the landmark move, the organisation has released the first of its Exmoor ponies on to the site with the help of Times journalist, nature writer and horseman Simon Barnes.

The trust bought the land from Riddlesworth Estate to create 434 acres of reserve and five miles of new nature trails after receiving a £720,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

They also had four weeks to raise £100,000 as a condition of the grant and following a bout of fund-raising have so far amassed more than £150,000.

It includes a legacy from William and Mary McAtamney, funds from local councillors Mark Ereira-Guyer and Joanna Spicer, schools, community groups and St Edmundsbury’s Rural Improvement Grant Scheme.

Extra money raised will go towards management costs.

Kerry Vaughan, the trust’s West Suffolk sites manager, said: “A big thank you to everyone who donated to the campaign. Without people’s support and enthusiasm we couldn’t have done it.”