We need YOUR help!
After years of trying, we have just been given a unique opportunity to purchase the land encircling the Sculthorpe Moor Nature Reserve: more than tripling the size of the protected area, preventing the land being sold on the open market and allowing the Trust to make it fully accessible to all.
On 16 May 2017, Hawk and Owl Trust launched an £850,000 appeal whereby members of the public can sponsor a parcel of the land to help raise the funds to purchase and manage the land for wildlife, while encouraging public access, education and celebrating its vibrant and varied history. This is part of an overall £1.7million fundraising challenge over the next two years to secure the land and put in the infrastructure needed to expand this jewel in the crown of nature reserves in North Norfolk.
The land (known as Sculthorpe Fen) has a long and very varied history with peat cutting, gravel extraction, reed cutting, gunpowder manufacture, brush making, shooting range, charcoal making, water mills and a Medieval motte-and-bailey castle just some of the activities we know have taken place here.
The Hawk and Owl Trust’s vision for Sculthorpe Fen is a future where a rich ecosystem co-exists with the local community with access for all where rural history, rural crafts and traditional sustainable management which benefits the landscape, people and wildlife are all celebrated. If the landscape is right, the wildlife will thrive. Hides, boardwalks and wheelchair-friendly paths will allow access to the whole area where habitat management will be achieved through use of traditional rare breed livestock, using the best animals for the job, rather than those that return the greatest economic value; where rural crafts will make use of the by-products from reserve management and Barn Owls and Marsh Harriers hunt over the land.
Nigel Middleton, Reserve Manager, said “Sculthorpe Moor Nature Reserve is a hidden gem, nestled on the valley of the stunning River Wensum. It’s value for wildlife is immense but, more than that it is a place of peace, a place to immerse yourself in the quiet and the amazing richness of the habitats. The Moor has been managed by Hawk and Owl Trust since 2001, and is surrounded by a large area of rough farmland, fen and plantation. We have recently been lucky enough to be offered the chance to buy that land. If it is sold on the open market it would have devastating consequences for the existing reserve, in terms of land use, access issues and even our ability to manage our own reserve, as we can’t do that without coming across the neighbouring land.”
Su Gough, Communication and PR Officer, said “Buying the land is just the first step: we need the public’s help to bring the vision to life! Being able to join the existing reserve with Sculthorpe Fen will result in a unique, diverse area for all to explore, where education, scientific research and quiet enjoyment exist side-by-side now and into the future. We have two years to raise this money and 2019 is the Hawk and Owl Trust’s 50th anniversary – perfect timing to place us in the position of turning the whole area into one of the UK’s premier nature reserves for wildlife and access”