Close to the centre of Norwich lies Sweet Briar Marshes: 90 acres of fen, rough meadow, grazing marsh, old hedgerows and young woodland, full of incredible wildlife.
This uniquely wild place and its sensitive ecology – including a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) – was in danger of being lost forever. We launched a public appeal last year to save it and thanks to enormous support from funders, the local community and our loyal supporters, were able to take the land into our ownership.
Long-term NWT supporters, Aviva, generously pledged up to £300,000 in match funding, helping to complete the public appeal to purchase Sweet Briar Marshes just four months after it was launched, making this the fastest appeal success in our history. Aviva will continue to support the project, through the discovery phase and beyond, both financially and through volunteering.
Having bought this land, we now have the chance to restore its biodiversity, enhance it for people and wildlife alike, and have the remarkable opportunity to write the next chapter in the story of Sweet Briar Marshes. However, we don’t want to do this on our own. We want to involve the local community in helping us to design this new, wild place.
The ‘Discovery Stage’
Since purchasing Sweet Briar Marshes, we have been busy getting to know the site. This has involved carrying out surveys to find out as much as possible about the ecology, and establishing a reserves and community engagement team.
Water vole, common toad and frog, orchids, reed bunting, willow warbler and snipe are just some of the species that have been found in our baseline ecological surveys, as we move forward with exciting plans to create a new wild space for nature and people in Norwich.
Working alongside the community
Those who live close by Sweet Briar Marshes are key to helping us ensure the reserve works for nature and people. We have been working closely with local people, groups and schools to encourage them to share their ideas about what they want to see on NWT Sweet Briar Marshes at a series of events and workshops. As well as investigating how they would like to be involved with this amazing wild space in Norwich.
Find out more about our shared vision for Sweet Briar Marshes.