Little Downham couple set 2018 opening date for 'wildlife hub' bird sanctuary

PUBLISHED: 17:25 26 May 2016 | UPDATED: 17:25 26 May 2016

Mary Gris outside the plot of land in Little Downham where the bird sanctuary is to be built.

Mary Gris outside the plot of land in Little Downham where the bird sanctuary is to be built.

Archant

A nature-loving couple from Little Downham are hoping to transform a piece of land next to their home into a haven for wildlife and birds by building a bird sanctuary.

Mary Gris.Mary Gris.

Fernando and Mary Gris, of Third Drove, had a planning application for the sanctuary accepted in the spring of 2015, and are hoping to get building work under way next year.

They plan to turn the four-acre barren patch of land into a “hub” for farm birds and animals, and also hope that the sanctuary will draw professional bird watchers in to the region.

Mrs Gris said: “It’s really quite exciting. We’re in a prime place here and we wanted to do something to encourage the wildlife back in.

“We love all the birds and the wildlife and it’s lovely to just sit in the garden and watch it all on a sunny day.

The four-acre piece of land where the Gris family's bird sanctuary is to be built next year.The four-acre piece of land where the Gris family's bird sanctuary is to be built next year.

“We’ve been here since 1990, and there used to be so many different birds coming in but that’s dwindled recently.

“My husband planted 900 trees 12 years ago, and since then we’ve seen much more birds and even some deer walking around, so hopefully, with the sanctuary, we’ll see even more.”

Mr and Mrs Gris, who run their wholesale company from their home, are also looking to build a new office on the land which they bought five years ago.

With the guidance of the RSPB, the couple hope to see the project completed by mid-2018.

How the bird sanctuary in Third Drove, Little Downham, could look.How the bird sanctuary in Third Drove, Little Downham, could look.

Once built, the sanctuary will ill include a hidden observatory for bird-watching, a water pool, grassed roofs and solar panels.

Wildlife areas will be created, including feeding stations and grassed beds, to encourage animals and insects and there will also be a host of eco-friendly features including rain water harvesting, wood stove, natural insulation, and ground source heat pumps.

The sanctuary will be entirely self-funded by the Gris family, and they are asking fellow nature-lovers to donate funds so building can be completed on schedule.

For more information, or to donate, visit https://www.gofundme.com/266abfg.

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