The RSPB is to take radical action to save one of it’s most popular reserves from the sea.
Titchwell Marsh on the north Norfolk coast faces inundation by the North Sea and so to protect the future of the reserve the decision has been taken to allow the sea to reclaim part of the reserve in order to save the remainder. The current 30-year-old sea walls are being slowly eroded. If the waters were to break through the current defenses then the entire reserve, which is a mix of brackish and fresh water marshes and reedbed, will be lost along with the habitat for rare breeding birds like the bittern and marsh harrier.
Under the proposed scheme, the sea wall will be moved back behind the present brackish marsh, which will be allowed to return to tidal saltmarsh.
This will allow new and improved sea defences to protect the fresh water marsh and the reedbeds with their breeding birds from the rising tides. At the same time visitor facilities will be enhanced and it is hoped the newly created saltmarsh will become a visitor attraction in its own right.
Rob Coleman, the reserve’s manager, is quoted on the news section of the RSPB website: “I know this is a huge change for Titchwell and for the very many people who share our deep love for the reserve, but the need to go ahead with this scheme was clear.
“We faced a stark choice between sacrificing the brackish marsh or losing the whole site to the sea.
“In drawing up these changes we have listened hard to local people and to visitors. As a result, the new-look site will keep and improve on all the things that make Titchwell special for them.”
RSPB website (news)