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Suffolk Wildlife Trust passes important milestone in Lackford Lakes appeal

PUBLISHED: 12:48 14 September 2017

A stone-curlew stands in an area of common storksbill - the nationally rare bird will benefit if Suffolk Wildife Trust's Lackford Lakes appeal succeeds. Picture: SUFFOLK WILDLIFE TRUST

A stone-curlew stands in an area of common storksbill - the nationally rare bird will benefit if Suffolk Wildife Trust's Lackford Lakes appeal succeeds. Picture: SUFFOLK WILDLIFE TRUST

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An ‘overwhelming’ public response has been given to an appeal for £200,000 that will enable a ‘unique’ area of the Brecks to be protected for wildlife.

Part of the land Suffolk Wildlife Trust hopes to buy if its £200,000 Lackford Lakes appeal is successful. Picture: STEVE AYLWARD/SUFFOLK WILDLIFE TRUST Part of the land Suffolk Wildlife Trust hopes to buy if its £200,000 Lackford Lakes appeal is successful. Picture: STEVE AYLWARD/SUFFOLK WILDLIFE TRUST

Suffolk Wildlife Trust has reached the half-way stage in its appeal for £200,000 to help pay for an extension to its Lackford Lakes nature reserve near Bury St Edmunds.

The milestone has been reached just two weeks after the launch of the appeal and the trust says it has been “overwhelmed” by the level of the public’s support.

In the 30th anniversary of the reserve’s foundation, the acquisition will allow the wildlife charity to safeguard an area untouched by agriculture for 25 years and where rare Breckland species such as stone-curlew have thrived. The wetland edge of the 77-acre appeal area alongside the River Lark also provides important habitat for nightingales.

Will Cranstoun, west Suffolk sites manager for the trust, said: “Since Lackford Lakes was founded 30 years ago it has become a real wildlife haven, offering a myriad of habitats for different species and renowned nationally for its kingfishers, dragonflies and winter wildfowl. But also it has become a place where people can really get a close-up experience of nature.

Acclaimed naturalist, conservationist and horticulturist Bernard Tickner, who effectively founded the Lackford Lakes nature reserve 30 years ago. Picture: CONTRIBUTED Acclaimed naturalist, conservationist and horticulturist Bernard Tickner, who effectively founded the Lackford Lakes nature reserve 30 years ago. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

“This appeal shows how people have taken Lackford to heart and how strongly they feel about protecting the open Breckland landscapes of Suffolk.”

Julian Roughton, the charity’s chief executive, added: “This really is an opportunity to ensure that a unique part of Suffolk’s natural heritage is protected for future generations to enjoy. The fact that so many people have supported and shared the trust’s vision for a bigger, wilder Lackford Lakes is truly inspiring.”

The land adjoins Lackford village and similar fields bought by the trust in 2005. Linking them together will create a significantly bigger area in which specialist Breckland species, such as scarce solitary bee and wasps, ground beetles and the nationally rare stone-curlew, can flourish.

Lackford Lakes was effectively founded in 1987 when revered conservationist, naturalist and horticulturist Bernard Tickner, who lived alongside what was then a working quarry, purchased part of the site that had been worked out. He gifted the land, known as The Slough, to the trust to be managed for wildlife. In 1999, having exhausted the sand and gravel reserves, Atlas Aggregates - which had become RMC and subsequently CEMEX - gifted the entire remaining site to the trust.

To celebrate the 30th birthday of Lackford Lakes, family-friendly activities is planned for the site over the weekend of September 23 and 24, from 11am to 4pm on both days. Along with a chance to walk the land the trust hopes to buy, visitors will be able to enjoy activities including fete-style games, guided pond-dipping, bug hunts and crafts.

To donate to the appeal or for more information about the birthday weekend, visit www.suffolkwildlifetrust.org

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