In December 2022 we launched our Saving Suffolk campaign. Part of this mission was to help Suffolk Wildlife Trust to create Martlesham Wilds – a brand-new nature reserve on the Deben estuary.
Purchasing 289-acres of arable land required significant fundraising, to the tune of £1m. The land was purchased with a loan, which Suffolk Wildlife Trust had to repay within a year.
We’re thrilled that Suffolk Wildlife Trust, their supporters, and our members, have jointly managed to hit this ambitious target!
To celebrate this fantastic achievement, we wanted to share just some of the ways in which our members and staff got involved.
We gave our members three chances to experience Martlesham Wilds for themselves with a guided walk led by Suffolk Wildlife Trust – followed by hot drinks and cake on us! These exclusive member events took place in April, July and August. We chose tours nearest to low tide to provide the best hope of seeing the huge variety of wading birds which inhabit this estuary.
Wild at Work Days and Volunteering
While not directly supporting Martlesham Wilds, we gave our staff the chance to try some nature conservation around the county – and they did! 21 members of our staff took part in one of three Suffolk Wildlife Trust Wild Work Days. Activities ranged from removing pine and birch seedlings to harvesting willow.
An additional five members of staff took part in a Marine Conservation Trust-approved beach clean at Thorpeness.
To help spread the word about the project, we commissioned award-winning film company SubMotion, to produce an emotive film. The film premiered at our AGM in March. To date it’s been viewed by over 14,435 people online – and has been watched many times over.
Support from members
In addition to donations in branch, we’ve been impressed by the support from our members. One member kindly knitted/crocheted some very cute springtime animals. These were sold in our Woodbridge branch, with all proceeds going towards the campaign. We also allowed Suffolk Wildlife Trust to install a donation station, so members could donate to the project directly in branch using contactless cards or phones.
We’re continuing to support Suffolk Wildlife Trust with Martlesham Wilds until at least 2025. Elements including signage, fencing, and introducing grazing cattle or ponies – all of which the Trust have scheduled over the next 2 years.
The Society made a donation of £10,000 towards Martlesham Wilds in 2022 and will contribute at least £5,000 per year in 2023 and 2024.
Martlesham Wilds will help to bring back the abundance of wildlife that is missing from our countryside; benefiting current and future generations alike. We’re delighted to be a part of it!