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New Education Centre

We are underway with an ambitious project to create a new, purpose built centre for environmental education overlooking our wildflower meadow at the heart of our stunning riverside nature reserve on the Suffolk/Essex Border.

Read more below.

We opened our original classroom in 1985, since then over 100,000 schoolchildren have visited Daws Hall Nature Reserve. An estimated further 50,000 members of the public visit through our programme of open days and workshops.

Over the past 40 years the needs of the Trust have changed, so too have the popularity of our education programmes, average class sizes and accessibility requirements.

In 2022 Daws Hall Trust was granted planning permission to construct a purpose-built education centre, situated at the top of the Wildflower meadow.

As well as a new centre to operate from, The Reserve also needs improved road access. This will allow coaches to safely unload classes directly onto site as well as provide dedicated parking for our public visitors.

The Need

The Building

The New Education Centre at Daws Hall will be a modern, purpose built, versatile building aiming to not only meet the present but future needs of the Trust.

The centre will feature a multi-use classroom space with panoramic views of the stunning wildflower meadow. The space will have the ability to divide into two or act as one large space, accommodating a range of needs from our regular classes to public facing functions and community events.

The building also features office facilities, kitchen, toilet facilities, storage and space to display our archive. The design brings all the needs of Daws Hall Trust under one roof.

The improved road access and parking allows for closer access to the Reserve itself to visitors as well as step free access into the Education Centre Building itself.

All building projects have an environmental impact. As a Nature Reserve and Environmental Education Centre, conservation and the environment are at the heart of everything we do.

We are striving to bring this environmental concern into every element of the design of the New Education Centre and efforts have been made to create a low impact design using environmentally conscious material and construction choices wherever possible.

As well as environmentally conscious materials we are exploring rainwater harvesting, minimising heat loss and light pollution to protect our valuable habitats and reduce our overall environmental impact in the running as well as the construction of the centre.

Landscaping around the building as well as the roadway into the site will be designed with our habitats in mind. The wildflower meadow extended to surround the car park and road, immersing visitors in the habitat and creating a net gain in habitat even after construction has taken place. The building will also feature bird and bee boxes so that we can set an example by sharing our new home with the other wild residents of Daws Hall.

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The Environment

Timeline: The Story So Far


Planning permission achieved

Following successive years of growth, increased class sizes and a need to renew the classroom facilities, the idea to construct a New Education Centre was put forward. After delays caused by the pandemic, the new education centre project gains planning permission.

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Centralised funding ends

Following government cuts a number of smaller nature reserves and field centres throughout the country lose funding. Daws Hall Trust continues to operate independently. Despite setbacks from the loss of funding the Trust begins to grow and continues to receive schools who are enthused by the high quality teaching and access to the diverse mosaic of habitats on site.


Opening of Daws Hall Field Centre

Following support from over 100 local friends as well as grant giving organisations and the county council, an old cart lodge at Daws Hall is converted into a classroom for school groups to visit and study at the new nature reserve project.

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