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University of East Anglia opens campus wildlife trail

01 February 12 12:20
Puss moth at UEA

A new nature trail has opened at the University of East Anglia (UEA) campus in Norwich following a £9,000 grant from the Big Lottery Fund.

Featuring a wide range of habitats, including woodland and reed beds, the 5km trail features up to 2,000 species, according to a recent UEA survey.

Species include kingfishers, otters and the rare swallowtail butterfly.

The grant has been used to provide visitors with wildlife information boards and trail guides.

The trail was officially opened on Wednesday by former UEA student and naturalist writer Mark Cocker.

He said: "All wildlife-rich areas are immensely important but a wildlife-rich area like the UEA Broad, which is so close to the city centre, is of double significance, because it offers opportunities for the largest number of people to enjoy it.

"The creation of the UEA Wildlife Trail is a fabulous asset for Norwich residents, allowing us all to experience the natural environment right on our doorstep."

The species survey on the site was conducted over 18 months by the UEA's School of Biological Sciences, lead by Dr Iain Barr.

He said: "If you're interested in getting close to bats the trail is particularly good for this along the river valley, we found some rarely-recorded species of wasp and breeding Norfolk hawker dragonflies.

"The trail has a high density of really interesting wildlife. It offers a real opportunity to explore some of the best of Norfolk nature without the need to travel to a more specialist reserve."

Elaine Sherrifs, of UEA Volunteers, who organised the project, said: "The grant has enabled us to help inform visitors about the diversity of species, how the environment is managed and points of interest along the way.

"This should enrich the experience of walking alongside the river, through the woods, across the meadows or around the UEA Broad."

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