A community nature reserve is set to be created in south Norfolk after the Otter Trust purchased Dickleburgh Moor.
It has been used as a hay meadow for the past 31 years but will now be restored as a water meadow, creating a haven for wildlife.
Dickleburgh Moor has the potential to become the most significant nature reserve in south NorfolkBen Potterton
The site has flooded to cover 50 acres of meadows on the few occasions the pump has failed, with flocks of golden plover and whooper swans attracted to the Moor in the winter. With water levels currently reduced, the site is still home to water vole, lapwings and reed bunting, that can be seen easily, with Otters and occasionally rare visitors such as spoonbill adding to the site’s species list.
The moor was also a former glacial lake that has slowly silted, resulting in a peat deposit that has been pumped dry since the 1970s.
The numerous plots that formed the modern Moor were finally brought together in 1975 and eventually sold in 1985 to a local farmer.
The purchase of the moor coincides with the appointment of Ben Potterton, the owner of Shorelands Wildlife Gardens, as a new trustee.
He had been advising on a range of conservation projects and was appointed to revitalise the trust’s work and continue the legacy of its founder Philip Wayre, who died two years ago.
Mr Potterton said: “Dickleburgh Moor has the potential to become the most significant nature reserve in south Norfolk.
“The Otter Trust has been working with local residents, South Norfolk District Council, Dickleburgh Parish Council, Natural England and the Norfolk Wildlife Trust to ensure that the site can be restored in a sympathetic manner and improve public access.
“In the coming years, with the support of Natural England and the local community, the trust hope to create a shallow lake in the centre of the site, position some bird hides and a perimeter access path to improve visitor access and introduce a herd of Red Poll Cattle to improve the potential for breeding wading birds.
“To address some of the accessibility issues for the site, we are looking at the potential of introducing Suffolk Punch Horses, with bespoke carts that would ensure that all parts of the moor can be reached by visitors of all ages and abilities.”
The Otter Trust had purchased 45 acres. They are in the process of adding a further 16.