Creation of new field studies centre

BIRDWATCHERS hope to put a feather in Felixstowe's cap with the creation of a new £22,000 field studies centre.Fundraising for the exciting project has gone well – and organisers are keeping fingers crossed that Suffolk Coastal gives it a further boost next week.

BIRDWATCHERS hope to put a feather in Felixstowe's cap with the creation of a new £22,000 field studies centre.

Fundraising for the exciting project has gone well – and organisers are keeping fingers crossed that Suffolk Coastal gives it a further boost next week.

The district council's grants task group is being asked to consider a £4,000 grant towards the project for the bird observatory at Landguard Fort.

So far Landguard Conservation Trust, a registered charity, has raised nearly three-quarters of the money needed, including £10,000 from the Suffolk Environmental Trust, £4,200 from members, £300 from a sponsored birdwatch, and £750 from Felixstowe Town Council and Suffolk Ornithologists' Group.


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The scheme for the commander's watchtower at the fort will involve installing toilets and sewage processing equipment, kitchen and accommodation at the observatory to improve public access and allow residential courses to take place. There will also be improvements to emergency and security lighting, washroom facilities, and a library-meeting room.

A report to the task group says: "This season there is a major improvement in public access by an arrangement with Landguard Fort Trust to include the observatory right battery in their public tours.

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"These tours are supplemented by bird ringing demonstrations when qualified volunteers are on site."

The Landguard peninsula – Suffolk's southernmost point – is gradually being turned into a major tourist attraction.

Visitors can roam around a nature reserve, visit the fort and the town's museum, and watch the shipping and the port operations, providing a full-day out.

The field studies and learning centre will help people understand more about the observatory's important work on migratory birds at Landguard, an important "stopping off" point for many migrating and breeding birds.

The council estimates that each year 500,000 people visit the Landguard peninsula, a Site of Special Scientific Interest sandwiched between the port and the North Sea.

But while it wants people to enjoy the area, it has warned that there is a need to ensure the growing number of visitors does not destroy its attractions.

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