October 31 2014 Latest news:
Saturday, July 26, 2014
A “hidden gem” on the Suffolk coast has been handed over to conservationists to encourage the arrival of visitors and wildlife.
Council chiefs have transferred ownership of the 15.3-acre strip of land, known as The Haven, to the RSPB for development.
The area of scrub and grassland, which runs alongside the Aldeburgh to Thorpeness road, is the latest district council-owned asset to be granted to the local community.
The wildlife charity now hopes to use the land to develop neighbouring North Warren Nature Reserve, which is nearly half the size of nearby Minsmere but less commonly known.
Ben McFarland, RSPB area manager, said: “A huge amount of people walk or cycle along the path between Aldeburgh and Thorpeness, but they are oblivious to the reserve and its wildlife because they cannot see it.”
The reserve is mainly made up of wet grassland, and is home to local wildlife and geese waiting out the winter.
Mr McFarland said: “While we need to balance what we do here with our nature conservation work, obtaining this strip of land will allow us to develop the visitor side in a low key manner.”
The RSPB intends to create a mown access track and clear some of the scrub to allow better views across the reserve. It also plans to put up two new viewing platforms, elevating people above the scrubs and dyke to improve views across the reserve.
Mr McFarland said: “As well as creating better viewing facilities, pending planning permission, we are going to put in some new scrape and sluices to retain the water on the grasslands for a longer period. This should allow us to attract a wider selection of waders, as well as the geese, over a longer period.”
Suffolk Coastal’s head of resources, Robert Whiting, said: “North Warren is a real hidden gem within one of the prime tourist areas of East Suffolk. Transferring this land to the RSPB allows them to create an improved attraction for visitors, local people and wildlife alike.”