Sweet Briar Marshes Appeal

Help us create a flagship nature reserve for the city

Close to the heart of Norwich lies Sweet Briar Marshes: 90 acres of fen, rough meadow, grazing marsh, old hedgerows and young woodland. This mosaic of habitats, unusually for a city centre, was arable farmland until as recently as the late 1990s, and today provides a treasure trove of nature, wildness and peace.

But this uniquely wild place is increasingly surrounded by urban development, and its sensitive ecology – including a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) – is in danger of being lost forever…

Today, with the chance to secure the land, restore its biodiversity, and enhance it for people and wildlife alike, we have the remarkable opportunity to rewrite the story of Sweet Briar Marshes.

We want to create A Wilder Norwich For All with Sweet Briar at its centre: an urban green space that is both rich in wildlife and enriching to the lives of the communities it serves; accessible to and valued by all the species who share it.

We urgently need your help. We need to raise £600,000 to:
  • Acquire 90 acres of precious wilderness in the heart of Norwich
  • Begin work to create a major new nature discovery reserve for the City and its residents
  • Protect and enhance a vital stepping stone for wildlife in an otherwise urban landscape
We already have a head start: our public appeal will be generously match funded by Aviva to a value of £300,000, so every penny you give will work twice as hard. Help us raise £300,000 to unlock these vital funds, acquire the land, and begin to plan for its restoration.
Otter by Mike Dawson Sweet Briar Marshes FAQs
Bogbean, by David North
Linnet, by Nick Appleton
Marsh cinquefoil by Vicky Nall

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 pledged up to £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 earlier this year, they have given 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.