Suffolk Wildlife Trust is hoping to raise £150,000 to extend its Grove Farm reserve along the Black Bourn river valley to create a 220 acre wildlife haven.
It says Grove Farm near Norton and Thurston already provides valuable wildlife habitat, with its thick hedges, network of ponds and riverside meadows, but bigger and more connected sites are better, so it wants to the reserve by 70 acres.
The riverside meadows and marshes it wants to buy will link Grove Farm into the Black Bourn valley and the landscape beyond. The trust says the new land creates ‘tremendous scope’ to extend species rich habitat by encouraging the hedges to spill out from the existing reserve and thorny scrub habitat to develop close to the river to link up smaller blocks of fragmented habitat.
Water vole, otter, barn owl and pipistrelle bats are all using the river valley and initial surveys have highlighted the potential to create a much wilder river corridor which will support a wide range of wetland wildlife.
Suffolk Wildlife Trust chief executive Julian Roughton said: “This is a unique opportunity to extend a nature reserve that sits deep in Suffolk’s agricultural heartland – making it an important refuge for farmland birds such as yellowhammer and skylark – species that are struggling to hold on in the wider countryside.
“The opportunity to add these riverside meadows and realise our vision for the Black Bourn Valley nature reserve is just too good to miss.”
Thanks to legacy gifts and a donation, the Trust says it is well on its way to buying the land, but now needs to raise the final £150,000 before the end of October when it aims to complete the purchase.
Donate at www.suffolkwildlifetrust.org/blackbourn