Urban nature reserve appeal receives £60k donation


A Norfolk Wildlife Trust (NWT) appeal for funds to create a nature reserve in Norwich has received a colossal boost.

Aviva is matching the £30,000 donation made by The Geoffrey Watling Charity, meaning that NWT is £60,000 closer to its target.

The site, known as Sweet Briar Marshes, covers 36 ha along the River Wensum near the centre of Norwich. It is hoped that managing the land as a nature reserve will support local populations of birds such as Common Reed Bunting, Willow Warbler and Common Snipe. Other wildlife, including Water Vole and Early Marsh Orchid will also benefit.

Willow Warbler is one of the birds set to benefit from the creation of the reserve (Neil Rendall).

Just over a quarter of the £600,000 needed to create the reserve has already been raised.

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"We are glad to be able to help Norfolk Wildlife Trust with its ambitions to safeguard Sweet Briar Marshes as a wild space for all the city," said Alan Watling, chairman of the trustees of The Geoffrey Watling Charity.

"It is a remarkable opportunity for the trust to connect Norwich communities, that have had such a difficult time over the past few years, with this wonderful haven for wildlife so close ot the heart of the city," he added.

Eliot Lyne, Chief Executive of NWT, said: "The Geoffrey Watling Charity are continuing in their fine tradition of supporting communities across Norfolk and beyond by bringing our vision for a new nature reserve for Norwich closer to reality.

"We are grateful for their generous donation, which will go a long way in supporting Norfolk's wildlife and people. Sweet Briar Marshes is an incredibly special place for wildlife, something rarely seen in such urban surroundings.

"This gives us a briliant opportunity to protect Norfolk's special wildlife while providing urban communities with better access to nature."