Suffolk Broads - Big, wet and Wild

 A feature from the June 2017 issue of Suffolk Norfolk Life magazine
Suffolk Norfolk Life June 2017Click to view this issue »
Suffolk’s Broads are a wildlife gem, and a vision is unfolding to make them even better, says Laurie Forsyth

Size makes a difference, and bigger is usually better. Suffolk Wildlife Trust long ago nailed its colours to the mast with regard to the size of nature reserves: their effectiveness increases with their acreage.

Across the UK, the Wildlife Trusts, RSPB and other conservation bodies increasingly plan land acquisitions and conservation management projects on a very large landscape scale. At this moment, the trust is striding ahead with the biggest land purchase in its 55-year history, which will result in the creation of a huge wetland nature reserve in the Broads.

The trust already has a popular and well-known Broads nature reserve – 627- acre Carlton and Oulton Marshes in the valley of the river Waveney. Flanking it are 384 acres of poor quality arable land that was part of the Broads wetlands until the fields were drained long ago. The trust has mounted an Appeal for funds to help purchase and restore them to wetland once more, which will increase the size of the existing reserve to over 1,000 acres. It will be a giant in the landscape. Like their counterparts in Norfolk, the Suffolk Broads are medieval peat diggings that were abandoned after they flooded centuries ago. Described as an ecological treasure house, the Broads wetlands are a jigsaw of lakes, rivers, reedbeds, fens, wet woodland, dykes and grazing marshes packed with wildife: that is the trust’s vision of the future for the degraded 384 acres they are about to purchase. It will take time, money and expert management, but it will happen, believe me.

Walking in Carlton Marshes is easy – few places are flatter. In summer, the warmth is just what insects need to be active, and the marshy grasses and fenny pool edges are alive with multi-legged invertebrate activity.

Read the full article in the June 2017 issue of Suffolk Norfolk Life Magazine
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