Riverlink Appeal

Vice Patrons: The Most Hon the Marquess of Cholmondeley, Her Grace the Duchess of Grafton GCVO, Dr Frederick Ratcliffe CBE JP


The River Link Appeal, launched in 2005, aims to raise funds to reconnect and restore the important, but fragmented, wildlife sites along the Headwaters of the River Little Ouse

Welcome from Bob Hayward  - Chair of the charity:Bob Hayward (centre) with the Bishops of Norwich and Bury St Edmunds at the opening of 'Bob's Bridge'

"We are a community environmental conservation project with a proven record over 15 years of successfully obtaining, restoring, and managing land alongside the Little Ouse river for the benefit of people and wildlife.   We are directed and operated by skilled volunteers who live in the local villages who give their time freely which greatly multiplies the effect of the generous financial support from organisations and individuals.  We wish to build on that success by extending further along the river to reach our ultimate aim of managing a continuous corridor of land. 

There are many opportunities for financial support whether large or small as we are involved with schools, art, history, and endangered species in addition to maintaining the existing land and making new acquisitions.

The comment of the judges of our CPRE award was that “The huge community effort behind it is amazing”.

If you are ever in the area you are most welcome to visit to see how we could multiply the effect of your financial support." 

The unique landscape of wildlife-rich fens, woods and meadows in the Little Ouse valley has been in decline for decades, but the process of protection and restoration is now under way thanks to the voluntary efforts of local residents.

From informal village conservation groups, both a new charity committed to involving the local community, and plans for major river corridor restoration project, emerged in 2003. Reinstatement of traditional land management alongside more major restoration work, has already resulted in remarkable improvements to the wildlife interest of the area, and new sites have been opened up to public access. Our eventual aim is to establish a continuous corridor of sustainably managed land around the headwaters of the river.

We must continue to build on our initial successes by securing new funds to support further land acquisition, major restoration projects, and increased access. In addition, once taken into conservation management, there is a need for a long-term commitment of funds to ensure the continuity of land management and maintain the landscape, wildlife and recreational value of the area. We launched The River Link Appeal in 2004 to raise urgent funds to continue to provide for the work of the Little Ouse Headwaters Project.

Our original appeal target was based on the ongoing management costs and capital costs for restoration of the six sites managed by the Little Ouse Headwaters Project in 2005. By 2007 we had expanded the remit of the Appeal to raise the funds for the purchase and restoration of two new sites, Parkers Piece and Bleyswycks Bank, and in 2010 the Appeal was re-launched to fund a new phase in the development of the LOHP. Together with a Heritage Lottery Fund grant, the Appeal enabled us to purchase two important new sites (Webbs Fen and Scarfe Meadows), take on a long-term lease of a third site (Broomscot Common), and put in place the management needed to restore their wildlife interest and allow public access. In 2014 the appeal, once again with help from the Heritage Lottery Fund, enabled us to take advantage of a unique opportunity to purchase another former fen site, now known as New Fen. Most recently, late in 2015, we were able to purchase two more sites, a small, ancient meadow and also the last part of the former Thelnetham Fen not yet under conservation management. Another generous Heritage Lottery Fund grant facilitated the purchase of the fen site but we now need to raise funds for its restoration and to ensure its future management.

In addition to the acquisition and restoration of these precious sites along our river corridor, the charity now needs to contract more help with site and project management tasks to ensure that we can sustain the work involved in managing our, now over 70 hectare, estate. This is an exciting and challenging phase in our development that is enabling us to make huge advances in our long term objective of creating a river corridor linking the valley's important wildlife sites. The LOHP remains committed to achieving this in a way that retains and enhances our community roots and enables more people to enjoy the valley. To achieve these targets the LOHP, thorough its River Link Appeal, is making applications to both national and local charitable trusts, foundations and companies both directly and through a network of Vice Patrons, or Key Supporters.

If you would like to discuss any aspect of the appeal please contact the River Link Appeal Director Email: sarah.grieveson [at] btinternet.com

We are indebted to the following donors for their generosity:

the Alan Evans Memorial Trust, Alfred Williams Charitable Trust, the Animal Defence Trust, The Aquarius Charitable Foundation, the Barbara Barlow Charitable Trust, the BBC Radio Norfolk Helpline Charity Trust, the Britten-Pears Foundation, the Denis Buxton Trust, the John Buxton Trust, The Charles Hayward Foundation, the CLA Charitable Trust, The Clark Bradbury Charitable Trust, Robert Clutterbuck Charitable Trust, Sir Timothy Coleman, the Courtyard Farm Trust, D C Moncrieff Charitable Trust, the Fishmongers' Company, the Frognal Trust, the R & J Garner Trust, DJ Getty Jr Trust, the D'Oyle Carte Charitable Trust, the Fitzmaurice Charitable Trust, Helen & Geoffrey de Freitas Charitable Trust, the Frognal Trust, the Garfield Weston Foundation, the Gerald Micklem Charitable Trust, the Simon Gibson Charitable Trust, the Girdlers' Company Charitable Trust, the Goodman Trust, the Hamamelis Trust, the H B Allen Charitable Trust, HDH Wills 1965 Charitable Trust, the Idlewild Trust, the Jack Patson Charitable Trust, the John Spedan Lewis Foundation, the John Jarrold Trust, the Leach Fourteenth Trust, Leslie Mary Carter Charitable Trust, Kirby Laing Foundation, the Linley Shaw Foundation, Major Bernard Mills CBE, Marchig Animal Welfare Trust, The Mackintosh Foundation, the Manifold Trust, Mr & Mrs J P Marland's Charitable Settlement, the Marquess of Cholmondeley, the Mary Webb Trust, O2 Its Your Community, the Paul Bassham Charitable Trust, the Pennycress Trust, Peter Moores Foundation, the JSF Pollitzer Charitable Settlement, John Porteous Esq., Dr Fredrick Ratcliffe, Radio Norfolk, Rainford Trust, Robert Kiln Charitable Trust, Rowan Bentall Charitable Trust, Ryklow Charitable Trust 1992, Skinners' Company, Lady Neville Charity, the E H Smith CT, the N Smith Charitable Trust, the Somerleyton Charitable Trust, the Robert Kiln Charitable Trust, the WF Southall Trust, The Steel Charitable Trust, the Tubney Charitable Trust, the Yorkshire & Clydesdale Bank Foundation, the Barbara Whatmore Charitable Trust, the Will Charitable Trust, the Martin Wills Wildlife Maintenance Trust and the Woodroffe Benton Foundation.