The Great Fen

Introduction

The Great Fen is a long-term 50 year project that aims to link two national nature reserves, Woodwalton Fen and Holme Fen, together to create a large national nature reserve of 3700 ha.

Description

The wild fens once stretched for hundreds of miles across Eastern England. They were home to beavers, otters, and thousands of different types of animals and plants, many unique to the area. When the land was drained for farming, beginning in the 17th century, more than 99% of this wild habitat disappeared.

Project Aims

Two of the last fragments of wild fen, Woodwalton Fen and Holme Fen, are under threat because both reserves are too small and isolated. By connecting these precious fragments, this project will create 3700 ha of fen landscape between the cities of Huntingdon and Peterborough. To achieve a landscape of many benefits, the Great Fen project has a four pronged strategy: 1.Implement restoration and habitat creation 2.Improve access and enjoyment 3.Foster socio-economic development 4.Contribute to climate change adaptation and mitigation Using maps and images, the Great Fen Masterplan (published in 2010) sets out how the Great Fen project will re-create the 3700 ha of ancient fenland landscape over the coming years and decades, and how it will deliver a wide range of benefits for the surrounding area. Included in the strategy are plans for: •A mosaic of wildlife habitats to support a variety of fen species •Visitor facilities, including a café, trails, natural play areas and events •New footpaths, cycleways and bridleways linking to local communities •Areas to store floodwater during high rainfall, to help protect surrounding farmland and communities •Zones to encourage access to some areas, but protect the most sensitive areas from heavy disturbance

Site Activity

The Great Fen is a long-term and ambitious project, requiring the work, expertise and support of many people and partners. The project is delivered by a partnership of five organisations, each bringing their own areas of expertise. This partnership includes Environment Agency, Huntingdonshire District Council, Middle Level Commissioners, Natural England and The Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire. As part of this project, there are currently more than 866 ha of land in restoration and 1340 ha managed for nature conservation. By the end of 2013, the area managed for nature conservation will increase to 1519 ha. As a result, the project has witnessed increasing numbers of wildlife, from breeding barn owls, kestrels, lapwing and snipe, to rare plants and invertebrates. However, nature conservation is not the only focus of the Great Fen project. Working with and supporting over 100 active volunteers, the Great Fen team works with thousands of people each year. As well as events, the team runs interactive schools programmes for all ages, a range of walks, talks and visits for groups, and many other community projects, including film, photo and audio projects. With this ongoing programme of engagement, the project continues to look at how economic benefit and social wellbeing can be delivered to local people, businesses and farmers.

{"zoom":9,"lat":52.4437285,"lon":-0.1913919,"markers":{"0":{"lat":52.4437285,"lon":-0.1913919}}}

Project Name: The Great Fen

Organisation / Lead partner: The Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire

Location: Ramsey Heights, Cambridgeshire

Conservation Status: National Nature Reserves(NNR)

Predominately: Lowland

Peat Habitats: Fen

Project Type: Restoration, Citizen science/ community engagement.

Year Project Began: 2001

IUCN UK PP Conf 21
Conference 2021 Registration OpenSign up for this year's IUCN UK Peatland Programme conference ‘Peatlands in Partnership: a road to…
Butterburn flow
Nature for Climate Peatland Grant SchemeInformation about the scheme to restore English peatlands and how to apply for funding.
IUCN UK PP Conference 2021
IUCN UK PP Conference 2021 - Save the dateSave the Dates: 13th - 16th September 2021
Minister Poots pictured with Jennifer Fulton, CEO of Ulster Wildlife
Northern Ireland Peatland Strategy ConsultationEnvironment Minister, Edwin Poots has launched a public consultation on the draft Northern Ireland…
Virtual Peatland Pavilion
Peatland Pavilion proposal for COP26 programmeOpportunity to contribute to and participate in proposing and shaping the first ever dedicated…
Diggers on Bwlch y Groes
Wales’ first carbon-funded peatland restoration project is complete!A peatland restoration project at Bwlch y Groes on the edge of the Snowdonia National Park is the…
England launches Peat Action Plan
England launches Peat Action PlanThe IUCN UK Peatland Programme welcomes the long-awaited publication of the England Peat Action…
Screenshot of PeatDatHub database
Launch of the PeatDataHub PeatDataHub is a research hub for communicating peatland science and managing peatland monitoring…
Eyes on the Bog equipment displayed on Water Works site
Eyes on the Bog monitoring at the Water Works projectJack Clough (University of East London’s) takes us through the process of installing an Eyes on the…
Helicopter flying over Moors for the Future site with restoration materials
Moors for the Future deliver biggest conservation season yet in a challenging yearAgainst a backdrop of ever-changing circumstances and a challenging year for nature, Moors for the…
Musician Sarah Smout on Fleet Moss with her cello
Yorkshire Peat Partnership: A music video on Fleet MossWith the help of Yorkshire Peat Parnership, musician Sarah Smout filmed a music video on Fleet Moss…
Cottongrass on peatland © Marches Mosses BogLIFE Project
Marches Mosses BogLIFE Project and Australian Wetlands Collaboration puts Arts Council England Funding to WorkThe ‘Mosses and Marshes’ project has newly been awarded a grant from Arts Council England.