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Suffolk nature gets cash boost

PUBLISHED: 20:30 21 June 2003 | UPDATED: 14:02 03 March 2010

SUFFOLK nature reserves are set for a £200,000 cash injection that could attract an extra 10,000 visitors to the county.

Ann Havard, 44, has been appointed as Wildspace Officer to improve accessibility, education and community involvement in the Gipping Valley's seven nature reserves.

SUFFOLK nature reserves are set for a £200,000 cash injection that could attract an extra 10,000 visitors to the county.

Ann Havard, 44, has been appointed as Wildspace Officer to improve accessibility, education and community involvement in the Gipping Valley's seven nature reserves.

"The Gipping Valley is a flagship area for those who enjoy the countryside and it's hoped this initiative will attract an extra 10,000 people a year," said Mrs Havard, who began working in her role in April.

The project, a joint venture from Suffolk County Council, Mid Suffolk council, Ipswich council, English Nature, Anglian Water Environmental Partnership and the Environment Agency, also aims to improve accessibility for the disabled.

It is hoped it will benefit around 500 disabled users and enable them to access the delights of Suffolk's rolling countryside and wildlife. Fishing platforms for the disabled are among the improvements being made.

Three new nature reserves could also be established, one in Rede Wood, between Claydon and Henley, and two in Ipswich, in Stoke Park Wood and Bobbits Lane Meadow.

New information boards, site leaflets and education material for local schools will all be provided, while footpaths, ponds and otter homes will be improved as part of the scheme.

Mrs Havard, who is employed by the county council, said: "The aims of this partnership project are to increase biodiversity and extend access and information opportunities on the local nature reserves within Ipswich and the Gipping Valley.

"We want local communities to get involved in their local nature reserve. It's all about finding out more about what's happening in your own back yard."

The Wildspace Project is being officially launched on Monday.

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