Largest ever grant from Biffa Award helps Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust deliver decades long dream of purchasing Attenborough Nature Reserve

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust has today spoken of its delight at becoming the legal owners of Attenborough Nature Reserve thanks to a £750,000 grant from Biffa Award and public backing for its Attenborough Lifeline Appeal.
The future of ANR is in our hands

The purchase of the reserve, opened back in 1966 by Sir David Attenborough - who also helped launch the appeal for funds last year, has been made possible thanks to a £750,000 grant from Biffa Award as part of the Landfill Communities Fund, public donations and backing from Wildlife Trust members.

Such is the popularity of the nature reserve, an area of restored former sand and gravel quarries alongside the River Trent south of Nottingham, that the charity reached its ambitious £1million target in a matter of weeks – enabling legal negotiations over the sale of the site by CEMEX UK who had previously operated a sand and gravel quarry on site to begin.

Speaking on behalf of the Trust, Chief Executive Paul Wilkinson said: “The support of Biffa Award and the backing of the public and our supporters has delivered a prize that we have been working towards for decades. Attenborough is a cherished site, where so many come to connect with nature. Our aspiration has always been to take the site into our ownership so that we can plan for its long-term future and that future begins today. We would like to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone that has made it possible including Biffa Award, our supporters and CEMEX.”

Now, with contracts signed and exchanged, Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust is planning for the long-term future of the site, which provides a safe haven for over 1,000 species including otters and bitterns and welcomes an estimated half a million visitors each year.

Our aspiration has always been to take the site into our ownership so that we can plan for its long-term future and that future begins today.
Paul Wilkinson, Chief Executive
Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust

The campaign to secure the future of the reserve, which has been managed by Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust for over 50 years, was launched in November 2019 - following the end of commercial sand and gravel extraction which helped shape the site for almost a century. Public donations flooded in with over £130,000 being given in the first 12 days of the appeal – with donations sent from as far afield as the Isles of Scilly and Shetland.

Following news that contracts for the purchase of the reserve had been exchanged Biffa Award’s Grants Manager Rachel Maidment said: “It is a privilege to have been able to play a part in securing the future of Attenborough Nature Reserve for generations to come. We awarded Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust £750,000, which is the maximum grant possible through the Biffa Award Partnership Grants Scheme, demonstrating the importance that our Board placed on this nationally important reserve. Securing habitats like this for a variety of rare species and providing the opportunity for people to experience, explore and enjoy wildlife is extremely important.”

We awarded Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust £750,000, which is the maximum grant possible through the Biffa Award Partnership Grants Scheme, demonstrating the importance that our Board placed on this nationally important reserve.
Rachel Maidment, Grants Manager
Biffa Award

Biffa Award is a multi-million-pound fund that helps to build communities and transform lives by awarding grants to communities and environmental projects across the UK.

Since being opened by Sir David in 1966 Attenborough Nature Reserve, situated on the edge of Nottingham, has become one of the best loved nature reserves in the UK. The Trust has worked closely with CEMEX over this period to create a reserve which is an excellent example of how industry can work with conservation bodies to create a site high in biodiversity which is of national importance.

The reserve has remained open through the various lockdown restrictions and has been discovered by an entirely new audience seeking solace in nature and a safe space to exercise and to meet up with family and friends.

Paul added: “The value and importance of nature and natural greenspaces for people has never been clearer and we are so excited we can now plan for the future of this special place. Our aim is to make it an even better place for people to experience the wonders of nature and to inspire people to take action for the natural world.”

Over the coming months the Trust will work closely with former owners CEMEX as the company completes the final phases of restoration.

Stephen Redwood, Land Development and Permitting Director for CEMEX Europe said “After more than half a century of partnership, we are enormously pleased to see the transfer of this amazing and award winning site to the Trust being completed. To see Attenborough evolve into such an important nature reserve in such close proximity to major population centres has been most rewarding. Our partnership with the Trust - which has included the establishment of the impressive Visitor Centre with support from the company’s own Landfill Communities Fund - has been a major success and we look forward to the Trust taking ownership as the site moves on to the next phase in its development.”

After more than half a century of partnership, we are enormously pleased to see the transfer of this amazing and award winning site to the Trust being completed.
Stephen Redwood, Land Development and Permitting Director
CEMEX Europe

Get involved

Further details about Attenborough Nature Reserve and how to support the Trust’s work at the site can be found via the button below.

Attenboough Nature Reserve and Centre