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Double funding boost for nature reserve

Will Cranstoun, Suffolk Wildlife Trust manager of Arger Fen ENGANL00120121029165236
Will Cranstoun, Suffolk Wildlife Trust manager of Arger Fen ENGANL00120121029165236

A Suffolk Wildlife Trust project to recreate some of the county’s lost landscapes has now entered a new phase.

Over the last three years the Trust has successfully extended the Arger Fen & Spouse’s Vale nature reserve by 153 acres, more than doubling the size of the Leavenheath site.

The aim of the land purchases, carried out in 2012, 2013 and 2014, was to add new habitats and transform arable land back to the “rough and furzy commons” that were once characteristic of this part of south Suffolk.

Although nature is being allowed to take the lead in the creation of this heathland, a light cutting regime helps to maintain the balance of open habitat and scrub and support the development of botanically rich rides in the young woodland.

With the increasing size of the reserve, the local staff and volunteer team required additional tools to help this restorative management. Now, following a grant of nearly £24,000 from Biffa Award and the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), the Trust has been able to purchase equipment that can be used by the west Suffolk reserves team.

Will Cranstoun Suffolk Wildlife Trust’s west Suffolk sites manager, said: “Arger Fen & Spouse’s Vale is known as one of the best bluebell woods in the Suffolk, but there is much more to this part of the county. The 1783 map shows a scattering of rough and furzy commons across the south of the county, from Sudbury to Nayland.

“Over the centuries these have all but disappeared, marked only by village names and clumps of bracken and gorse on roadside verges. One of the largest of these south Suffolk heaths was at Leavenheath.”

He added: “Although these wild places may have gone forever, this funding from Biffa Award and AONB means we can continue the management of Arger in a sustainable way and bring back a flavour of these lost landscapes.”

Gillian French, Biffa Award said: “We’re really pleased to be supporting Suffolk Wildlife Trust in recreating vital woodland habitat. This project is an excellent example of how grants from the Landfill Communities Fund can be used to rebuild biodiversity.”

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