Author: Emily Kench. This item originally appeared in the July edition of Let's Talk magazine.
Snettisham is special. As the sun rises and sets, it touches vast mudflats that divide the sea and inland lagoons. When the sea rolls in on a high-tide, the mudflats disappear – blink and you’ll miss it – the tide doesn’t hang around in north Norfolk.
As the silt is submerged, whirling waders abandon their feast of worms and cockles and take to the skies. Spinning overhead, trying to make hasty decisions between dipping in for a last bite or heading to drier land, groups of knot, avocet and bar-tailed godwit spiral between the two.
Back in December 2013, the waders of The Wash probably didn’t have a lot of time to think about a final bite. A spring tide coupled with a storm surge tearing down the North Sea, and backed by the wind, left this wonderful home for wildlife a little-worse-for-wear. The tide tumbled in breaching the shingle bank and seawater forced its way into the lagoons. At their fullest extent, the depth of the water was over 12 feet higher than normal.
The scenes were bleak. Boardwalks were washed away, two of the lagoon’s islands were lost and three out of four hides on the reserve became unusable. Yet, the storm surge hadn’t just impacted Snettisham, other important RSPB nature reserves Titchwell, Minsmere, North Warren, Dingle Marshes, Strumpshaw Fen and Havergate Island had also bared the brunt.
In light of the devastation, the RSPB launched an appeal - and using money generously donated by supporters - were able to utilise these funds where they were most urgently needed: protecting wildlife. Dedicated volunteers and partners worked hard to repair the damage to the reserve’s habitats, and in time nature once again flourished.
Yet the reserve is not just special for wildlife, it is also incredibly special for its visitors. Whilst the homes of wildlife residents were quickly restored, visitors to The Wash have had to be slightly more patient, but four years later, and that is about to change.
How can you help?
The RSPB now wants to replace the destroyed hides with a single new building which will be bigger and better, stand-up to future storm surges and help to inspire a whole new generation of nature lovers with the sights and sounds of The Wash. On Monday 10 July, the RSPB launched a special 28 day Crowdfunding campaign to help raise the funds needed.
In exchange for pledging money to the Crowdfunding appeal, the RSPB will be offering ‘money can’t buy’ rewards which include some fantastic products and experiences, many of which have been donated by local businesses, artists, photographers and volunteers. The RSPB hopes that these rewards will inspire people to donate and together we can build a hide that offers unparalleled views of the wildlife of The Wash. This will be a building that inspires not only those who love Snettisham already, but a whole new generation of nature lovers and future wildlife champions.
To find out more visit: crowdfunder.co.uk/snettishamhide or call: 01485 545263
Follow the Crowdfunding progress on Twitter and Facebook by searching #SnettsHide
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