Suffolk wilding project fundraiser passes halfway point


Suffolk Wildlife Trust's (SWT) hopes to transform a 116-ha farm into a new nature reserve are a step closer to becoming a reality as its fundraiser passed the £500,000 mark.

SWT hopes to rewild the site alongside the River Deben at Martlesham, near Ipswich, and a fundraiser was launched last autumn. The charity has now raised £530,000 of the £1m it needs to create the reserve. All donations are welcome.

The site will be left fallow and it is hoped shrubs will self-seed, creating a habitat for wildlife as diverse as Slow Worms and European Turtle Doves.

Suffolk Wildlife Trust hopes European Turtle Dove will benefit from the project at Martlesham (Nick Brown).

Ben McFarland, SWT's director of wildlife, conservation and recovery, said the wilding project will "let nature take the lead", adding: "We think that by stepping back and letting nature take the lead we can really ecologically uplift the areas to create an incredible habitat over time."

He said similar wilding schemes took between five and 10 years to deliver change for nature. The trust hopes the change will "drive biodiversity", encouraging rare birds, small mammals, reptiles and insects.

"We're also right on the edge of the Deben internationally important wetland site and we've got some grassland that can wet up to be really good for waders like Avocet – and potentially we're beginning to look at creating a new saltmarsh long the river," continued Mr McFarland.

To donate, visit the Martlesham Wilds website.