A money raising appeal to buy 76 acres of land near to a nature reserve in Assington has been a success after a ‘grass roots response’ to reach the target.
Three months ago the Suffolk Wildlife Trust launched a campaign to buy Ford’s Heath near Lavenheath in a bid to turn the area into a grassy common.
The area, situated next to Arger Fen and Spouse’s Vale nature reserves, will be used to re-establish ‘furzey commons’ – a transformation of the landscape into the rough heaths which used to cover much of south Suffolk.
Head of development at Suffolk Wildlife Trust, Christine Luxton, said the Trust plans to let nature take the lead in developing the landscape.
“It’s fantastic and we want to thank everyone who contributed,” she said.
“Often we are reliant on big grants but this recent campaign was successful thanks to a fantastic grassroots response – support came by way of legacies, individual gifts and local donations.”
One of the legacy gifts which made the purchase possible came from countryside admirer Gerald Ford.
Gerald’s brother, Geoff Ford, said: “Gerald loved Suffolk – the county of both his parents, and always wished to leave some permanent presence here.
“He was a life-long naturalist and would have been delighted to see his legacy being used to create a space for wildlife.”
The Trust’s CEO Julian Roughton said legacy gifts like Mr Ford’s have been instrumental in enabling the Trust to purchase and restore land in recent years.
“We are especially grateful to Gerald Ford for remembering Suffolk Wildlife Trust in his Will, which has enabled the purchase of Ford’s Heath,” he said.
“This lovely patch of wildlife filled countryside will be his legacy to Suffolk.
“Once again we will follow nature’s lead towards a landscape of grassy commons.
“As the habitats mature it will become a haven for wildlife and a place for people to cherish - for generations to come.”