The Hawk & Owl Trust, Sculthorpe Moor Reserve By Keith Walker

At the invitation of member Seamus O’Dowd I was treated to a guided tour with Nigel Middleton the
Reserve Manager & Seamus, around the rapidly changing Reserve.
This came about following last year’s WVBS Membership Questionnaire, where members listed the
Reserve as one of the birding organisations WVBS should try and support and help develop. For those
WVBS members wanting more information the H & OT website is as follows :
Most of you will know and love the site and the work it does in the field of Raptors and much more.
Recently there has been a significant development and things are changing big time.
The Hawk and Owl Trust (H&OT) has recently bought 150 acres of land surrounding its existing 45-
acre Sculthorpe Moor nature reserve, near Fakenham.

The reserve is famous for its wildlife and habitats and can now offer a home to a vast range of wildlife
from plants and fungi, to otters and birds of prey.
The £1.7 million needed to buy the land and turn it into a wildlife paradise was raised in just two years,
thanks to public support.
This enabled the land to be secured and the three-year project to manage the land and develop the
infrastructure to be started.
The project relied on a major Heritage Lottery Fund award, and a significant amount was donated by
the Local Enterprise Programme (LEP).
The trust, whose headquarters is at Sculthorpe, is now well on the way to delivering the project to allow
public access to the land and develop the habitats to make the land more suitable for the widest range
of wildlife. It has a legion of volunteers with various skills to run the site and bring about the
The diggers rolled onto the Fenland area, which was ideal for conversion to a wetland facility, on August
5 2019 to scrape away the first bucket loads of soil in the formation of open water and redirection of the
ditches. A new entrance near the visitor centre has been created, as boardwalks and other fully
accessible pathways will be taking shape around the reserve. The aerial picture below shows a view of
the developed Wetland.
So how can the Society and its members help?
Obviously we can join the H & OT and also individuals can support the current boardwalk initiative
which is described on the website:-
As individuals we can volunteer to help with the myriad of tasks that the current army of volunteers
We and the H & OT can promote each other on our websites and they can highlight WVBS on the
premises at Sculthorpe.
We can also consider the possibility of a WVBS facility there, such as a hide/screening, or possibly help
develop some disabled facilities. Funding to be sought from external sources.
In return we can visit an enhanced Reserve where we can collate further information and gain a
commitment from the Reserve for sighting information.
I would welcome feedback and thoughts from members.

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