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Suffolk: Wildlife reserve could become tourism beacon

PUBLISHED: 11:07 10 July 2014

Knettishall Heath, Suffolk Wildlife Trust nature reserve. Pictured is ranger Samantha Gay.

Knettishall Heath, Suffolk Wildlife Trust nature reserve. Pictured is ranger Samantha Gay.

A project to enhance one of Suffolk’s biggest and most important nature reserves could help the region become a beacon for wildlife tourism.

Contractors have been working for the past two months at Knettishall Heath to prepare the 250-acre site to become a “connected landscape” by removing miles of internal fences, which will be grazed by Exmoor ponies and allow heathland to merge 
into woodland and wood pasture.

Suffolk Wildlife Trust has said the unique site – one of the largest areas of heathland on the eastern edge of the Brecks – has the potential to be the county’s very own New Forest.

Sam Gay, people and wildlife ranger for the trust, said: “The infrastructure is moving along. We’re at the point where we have had contractors in for the past two months and we’ve got all the fencing finished on site and we’ve put in a trail for dog walkers to the south of the reserve, so they have a new trail that takes them away from livestock and away from ground-nesting birds as part of our conservation programme.”

Miss Gay said she hoped four cattlegrids on roads across the reserve could be in place by spring, following a public enquiry this autumn.

She added: “It’s very New Forest. We’re hoping that it will become a much more open fluid landscape.

“Because it is now quite special and unique in what it will be when it is finished, hopefully that will attract general enthusiasts to come to see it as well as locals.”

Keith Brown, chief executive of Visit East Anglia, said reserves like Knettishall were a “terrific reason” for people to visit Suffolk.

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