HRH The Princess Royal visited Suffolk Wildlife Trust’s Carlton Marshes Nature Reserve to celebrate the Trust’s 60th year and to mark the opening of the new visitor centre, viewpoints and trails on the 1,000-acre reserve near Lowestoft.
On Tuesday 11th May, HRH The Princess Royal unveiled a plaque commemorating Suffolk Wildlife Trust’s 60th anniversary and met some of the key funders, staff and volunteers who have turned the ambitious vision for Carlton Marshes to become the southern gateway to the Broads National Park into reality.
The huge project to create a stunning, vast, nature reserve is the result of an inspirational collaboration: in 2018, the National Lottery Heritage Fund awarded a grant of £4.2 million to the project with an additional £1 million raised in donations and support from local people and businesses and £1 million from legacy gifts – a true community collaboration to create a stunning, landscape-scale nature reserve that is fully accessible to everyone.
The funding enabled Suffolk Wildlife Trust to buy former bean fields and transform them into a vibrant mix of wetland habitats where Broadland wildlife such as otters and kingfishers can thrive and to build a welcoming visitor centre with a café and create a network of beautiful trails.
Christine Luxton, Suffolk Wildlife Trust CEO commented, “I am delighted that HRH The Princess Royal has joined us to mark the opening of our new visitor centre and this fabulous nature reserve to commemorate the Trust’s 60th anniversary. With the challenges of coronavirus, it wasn’t possible to open last year as planned, so we are overjoyed to be at a point now where we will soon be able to throw our doors fully open and welcome people in. Throughout the pandemic, Carlton Marshes has been a place where local people have been able to walk and escape into nature. Connecting people with nature is incredibly important to Suffolk Wildlife Trust. Few nature reserves have a town as large as Lowestoft on their doorstep, and we know from our visitors that it has been a welcome sanctuary for them over the past year.”
HRH was escorted on the visit by Deputy Lieutenant, William Kendall.