Sweet Briar Marshes is of crucial importance to wildlife, both because of the species and habitats found there, but also because it lies alongside the River Wensum – Norfolk’s longest and most connected wildlife corridor. The site is also a valuable green space for the people of Norwich, especially those who live close by.
However, in 2020, this uniquely wild place and its sensitive ecology – including a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) – was in danger of being lost forever.
NWT, with the encouragement of local community groups, was compelled to step in. The land was in danger of being purchased by more than one buyer and sub-divided further for use as pony paddocks and increased non-conservation led grazing. The danger of increased deterioration of the site is was very real unless NWT brought the site into its care.
Thankfully, we were able to purchase the land in June 2022, due to amazing support from our project partners Aviva, The Geoffrey Watling Charity, The Paul Bassham and Leslie Mary Carter Charitable Trusts alongside others, and with generous public donations.
With your help we have raised £600,000 to:
- Acquire 90 acres of precious wilderness in the heart of Norwich
- Begin work to create a major new nature reserve for the City and its residents
- Protect and enhance a vital place for wildlife in an otherwise urban landscape
Our public appeal was generously match funded by Aviva to a value of £300,000, so every other penny given worked twice as hard.
We are and continue to be incredibly grateful for your support of this project, and you can still make a difference to the wildlife and communities of Sweet Briar Marshes today.
Purchasing the land is the first step to creating this flagship nature reserve but there is still work to be done, and any further donations will help to make our vision for a wilder Norwich a reality.
Watch a short video about how Norfolk Wildlife Trust purchased the land
See all upcoming events at Sweet Briar Marshes
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Our ambitions for Norwich are being made possible by the support of:
For over 200 years, Norwich has been Aviva’s historic home, and today over 5,000 staff still work in the city. As a long-term supporter of Norfolk Wildlife Trust, they share our commitment to sustainability through climate resilience, nature recovery, and building stronger communities. We are grateful that Aviva has generously donated £300,000 in match funding for the appeal, helping to secure Sweet Briar Marshes under NWT’s care for the future.
Esmée Fairbairn Foundation
We are extremely fortunate that the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation shared our concern for the future of Sweet Briar Marshes, and our vision for realising its potential. We are grateful for their intervention – by purchasing the land when it came up for sale, they gave us the opportunity to buy it back, and in doing so securing it in perpetuity, protecting it from harm, and enhancing its precious mosaic of habitats for the wildlife and communities it serves.