September 21 2014 Latest news:
West Suffolk reporter
Friday, August 1, 2014
A wildlife charity has already raised 10% of the funds needed to extend one of its west Suffolk reserves.
Suffolk Wildlife Trust launched a campaign earlier this week to buy 76 acres of mainly arable farmland near its highly acclaimed cluster of landholdings known as Arger Fen and Spouse’s Vale nature reserve close to Leavenheath.
The addition of the land parcel, known as Ford’s Heath after Gerald Ford whose legacy gift acted as a catalyst for the appeal, would mean the nature reserve stretches across 270 acres of ancient woodland, fen meadow, wet woodland and habitats developing through natural regeneration.
Julian Roughton, chief executive of the wildlife Trust said the appeal for £110,000 to secure Ford’s Heath and create a landscape like the wild furzy commons now lost to south Suffolk had “captured people’s imaginations”. He added: “Within a few days we’ve had a great response, so we’re really delighted. We have had a tremendous support for appeals such as this. Our supporters are really keen to see us add to our flagship sites, because lots of people know them and love them and recoginse the benefits of extending Arger Fen.”
Along with benefits to wildlife, the Trust aims to increase access to the area by creating a new circular walk. Mr Roughton said: “I think for the people of Leavneheath it’s going to add to that wonderful accessible landscape and a landscape that they are going to enjoy and see more wildlife as the years develop.”
The Trust, who hope to have raised the funds in the next couple of months, said the extended reserve will still be “but a piece in the jigsaw” of the wider landscape. Conservation advisors from the charity are working with neighbouring landowners to ensure the reserve is part of a well-connected landscape, linked to surrounding woods, hedges and grassland used by dormice and reptiles.
Donations to the Ford’s Heath appeal can be made to the trust at suffolkwildlifetrust.org, or the trust can be contacted on 01473 890089.