Great Fen

The Great Fen is one of the most important habitat restoration projects in Europe - step into this vast landscape via the interactive 360° spin photograph

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360 view

The wild fens once stretched for hundreds of miles across Eastern England. When the land was drained for farming more than 99% of this wildlife habitat disappeared. Two of the last fragments, the National Nature Reserves (NNRs) of Woodwalton Fen and Holme Fen, are now too small and isolated to provide a safe haven for rare wildlife in the long term. This is why the Wildlife Trust is working with partners to connect these precious fragments and create a vast, enriched fen landscape that is good for people and for wildlife - 14 square miles (over 9,000 acres) in total between Huntingdon and Peterborough.

Short eared Owl - Kevin LunhamFrom reedbeds to meadows, there are now more than 2,140 acres (866 hectares) of land in restoration and 3,750 acres (1517 hectares) managed for nature conservation (including the two NNRs). There is a growing variety of wildlife, from breeding barn owls, overwintering short eared owls (right by K Lunham), lapwing and snipe at Darlow's Farm, to rare plants and invertebrates found on Summer Standing and Middle Farms.

Visiting today you will already find exciting wildlife, beautiful landscapes and a variety of events at various parts of the Great Fen project area.  The parts currently accessible are the Woodwalton Fen and Holme Fen National Nature Reserves, the Wildlife Trust Countryside Centre at Ramsey Heights and New Decoy farm where there is the Great Fen Information Centre. It is also possible to look out across areas that are currently under restoration - the fields of Darlow's Farm, Middle Farm, Corney's Farm, Kester's docking,  Old Decoy Farm and Rymes Reedbed.

Many of these areas can be viewed from the Last of the Meres trail - a circular walk connecting the northern parts of the Great Fen, extending from newly restored areas at New Decoy Farm to the historic site of Engine Farm, through to the woodland of Holme Fen and back via the old Holme-to-Ramsey railway line. The route also crosses the former site of Whittlesea Mere, the largest lowland lake south of the Lake District before it was drained in 1851. The route follows new paths in the northern section of the Great Fen area. It is 10k in length taking approximately 4 hours to complete (more information at the Great Fen website).

Bittern in flightWoodwalton Fen and Holme Fen are currently managed by Natural England and are home to some of the rarest species in Britain, such as bitterns (left by J Hodgson), fen violets and fen woodrush. Holme Fen is one of the finest fungi sites in the country. The Wildlife Trust Countryside Centre at Ramsey Heights provides opportunities to learn about the fenland landscape. Visits for schools, family events and training workshops bring you face to face with fauna and immerse you in the stories of fenland.

Follow the Great Fen on facebook and twitter for regular updates of events, wildlife sightings and more. The current events leaflet can be downloaded below.

 Reserves within the Great Fen

Holme Fen
Woodwalton Fen
The Wildlife Trust Countryside Centre

Darlows and Middle Farms
New Decoy Farm
Rymes Reedbed

Great Fen Events