Beating Heart of the Wetland

Beating Heart of the Wetland

An area of Cambridgeshire's Great Fen has benefited with a generous grant from Viridor Credits and the Landfill Communities Fund

The creation of new wetland at the heart of the Great Fen (in the areas known as New Decoy and Corney's Farm) has been possible by a £50,000 grant from Viridor Credits and the Landfill Communities Fund. During the last year, the restoration of this 141 hectares area of ex-arable land from dry grassland has helped make a significant contribution to the conservation of fenland habitats.

Rewetting the restored grassland has provided two blocks of nesting habitat for breeding wading birds, while new ditches and water control structures now allow the movement of water to where it is needed, creating optimum conditions for wader chicks to feed in the spring, while not compromising the water level requirements of neighbouring farmers. The restoration is important for threatened wildlife such as lapwing and snipe, whose soft bills need the moist soil to dig for insects and earthworms, while a range of aquatic plants and insects will colonise from the adjacent NNR at Holme Fen.

Great Fen manager Kate Carver says: "Viridor’s generous grant of £50,000 has contributed towards the delivery of essential engineering work needed to create of 119 hectares of wet grassland at the heart of the Great Fen, one of the largest habitat restoration schemes in Europe. Ditches and water control structures will allow us to provide nesting habitat for breeding and wintering birds, and the infrastructure covered by this application allows us to move water to where it is needed and hold it there to create optimum conditions. The work started in autumn 2016 and has been completed this summer."

Taking advantage of the developed infrastructure, visitors will be able to get close to the Fen’s wildlife, viewable from an existing car park and picnic area, a 3km circular route and the unique straw bale bird hide, Jon's Hide