National Trust buys £130,000 plot of land at Salthouse to help coastal wildlife
PUBLISHED: 15:54 24 May 2018 | UPDATED: 16:45 24 May 2018
The National Trust has bought a £130,000 plot of land on the north Norfolk coast, which will be managed as a habitat for rare and protected wildlife including avocets.
Working in partnership with the current grazier, the trust has acquired 30 acres at Salthouse which it says will be “subjected to natural processes, such as the action of waves, weather, tides and changes in sea level” while its team works to help wildlife adapt to a changing climate and shoreline.
The site adjoins the Norfolk Wildlife Trust reserve at Salthouse Marshes, which also offers habitats for waders and wildfowl and hunting grounds for barn owls and marsh harriers.
The trust says the new area of land will help widen and connect habitats, which will ultimately make nature more resilient to future erosion and flooding.
Victoria Egan, the National Trust’s countryside manager on the Norfolk Coast said: “In the 21st century we face many new challenges along an ever-changing coastline. We can only meet these challenges by working with coastal communities, partner organisations and people who care as much as we do about the coast. We will continue to work with the grazier, who will manage this land as our tenant.
“The Norfolk coast is home to a great diversity of wildlife, including some of the world’s most important species. This space inland will mean that wildlife can move, adjust and retreat as the coastline changes. Coastal change isn’t going away, so we need to work together to look at what is projected to happen in the long term.”
One species which will benefit is the avocet, a bird once declared extinct in the UK, and whose comeback has made it a symbol of conservation success.
Ajay Tegala, a ranger in the trust’s Norfolk Coast team, said: “It is quite exciting to have a new patch of land with avocets on it. They are a fairly rare bird and very important for conservation, and we have six pairs nesting on this field. We have also got black-headed gulls and lapwings.
“It [the acquisition] expands our land ownership in the area, and it is part of the jigsaw of land ownership with the NWT along the coast. We have the same aims to protect the same species.
“We are grazing the land this summer so the grass is not too long for the birds, and there is infrastructure in place for us to control the water levels so it does not get too dry in the summer.”
The land purchase was funded by National Trust supporters and donors to its Neptune Coastline Campaign, which has supported work on Norfolk’s coastline for more than 50 years.