95 years since the Trust purchased Cley Marshes - can you help us with Thompson Common?

NWT seeking public support for appeal on its 95th anniversary 

Saturday 06 March, 2021

On the 95th anniversary of the purchase of our first nature reserve, Cley Marshes, Norfolk Wildlife Trust is seeking public support for its current land purchase appeal – to expand one of the Brecks’ most important nature reserves for wildlife – as it nears its fundraising target with only £30,000 left to raise.

It was on 6 March in 1926 that 12 wildlife enthusiasts, led by Dr Sydney Long, purchased Cley Marshes, to be preserved ‘as a bird-breeding sanctuary for all time’. Later in the year they created what was then known as Norfolk Naturalists Trust; initially to manage Cley Marshes, but with ambitious plans for the future. 

The aims established in 1926 still underpin the work of Norfolk Wildlife Trust today, the first Wildlife Trust in the UK. Since its earliest years the Trust has purchased and maintained nature reserves and now manages 60 important sites for wildlife, and for people to explore and enjoy. 

NWT’s current land purchase appeal focuses on a series of arable fields and seminatural woodland next to its National Nature Reserve, Thompson Common. The nature reserve is one of Norfolk’s biodiversity hotspots, supporting much rare and threatened wildlife including dragonflies, aquatic snails and many rare water plants. England’s rarest native amphibian the northern pool frog was reintroduced to the site in 2015. The land available would be brought into NWT’s conservation management to restore its Brecks heath grassland and prehistoric pingos that have been lost.

NWT must raise £625,625 by May to secure the land. An incredible legacy gave the Trust a significant head start and remarkable generosity of members, EDP readers and supporters from all over the UK means the finish line is now in sight, with just £30,000 left to raise.

Director of Development and Engagement at Norfolk Wildlife Trust, Nik Khandpur said: “With the help of our members, supporters and people who love this area, we are nearly there with our land purchase appeal – thank you so much to everyone who has donated during these difficult times. The land will mean we can better protect Thompson Common, recreate rare habitats which have been lost, and enable wildlife to move across the landscape which is crucial in the changing climate. Restoring this land back to its past richness will increase its resilience in the future. If you are able, please help us raise the final £30,000 before our May deadline.”

To mark its 95th anniversary year, NWT is carrying out a year-long wildlife audit of The Bishop’s House Garden in Norwich, revealing its urban wildlife and ways in which to improve your own wildlife garden. We are also working on a collaboration with UEA and Norfolk & Norwich Festival at Cley Marshes in the summer and a celebration of Norfolk’s fantastic wildlife areas with Archant. 

NWT Chief Executive, Pamela Abbott said: “As well as hopefully securing this precious land at Thompson Common, we are looking forward to sharing the achievements of many involved in Norfolk conservation who have made us what we are, and to inspiring the future conservationists who will save Norfolk’s wildlife for many years to come.”

Donations are hugely appreciated online or over the phone via 01603 625540. 
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