Covering more than 41,000 hectares, the Nene Valley rises in the west of Northamptonshire and extends the length of the county before flowing through Peterborough then out to the Wash – step inside this landscape by clicking on the interactive 360° spin photo to feel part of the bigger picture...


360 view

Throughout history the Nene Valley has been shaped by people and nature and has been of vital importance to the county’s industry, including agriculture, the famous leather and shoe industry and gravel extraction.

The Nene offers a myriad of natural habitats, including wildflower meadows, wetlands, marshes, woodlands and wet grasslands. This diversity of habitats makes the valley one of the most important inland localities in England for a whole range of wildlife including kingfishers, herons, otters, grass snakes. Not only that, it is internationally renowned for its variety of over-wintering water birds such as curlew, lapwing, wigeon and gadwall.

Nene Valley illustration by Rachel Hudson and Nene Valley NIA

Illustration by Rachel Hudson commissioned by the Nene Valley NIA

Nevertheless, these habitats and the wildlife that live there face many challenges in the coming years due to planned population growth and anticipated climate change, with the valley experiencing more frequent droughts and increasing flash floods. In addition these habitats are mostly found in isolated patches, surrounded by urban areas and intensively farmed land. Land drainage and flood defence schemes have already enabled farmland to drain more rapidly and in many places disconnected the river from its floodplain. The resulting loss of wet and marshy grasslands has led to dramatic declines in numbers of some species, including breeding wading birds.

The importance of large-scale habitat conservation is becoming ever more apparent in order to provide better havens for wildlife and people, and space for species to move and adapt in light of the threats that they face. In the Nene Valley we are working with farmers and landowners to encourage them to manage their land in more wildlife-friendly ways. Not only will this help to link our reserves and other isolated habitats, benefitting many struggling species but it will also help to manage flooding and provide open spaces for people to explore right along the valley.

Tell us about the wildlife you see in Nene Valley

We have a number of Facebook groups where you can share your wildlife experiences of the Nene Valley. Do join the Nene Wetlands and ILM group, the Summer Leys group, the Friends of Woodston Ponds, or the Titchmarsh NR group.

Scheme area: 41,000 hectares

Wildlife Trust nature reserves within the Nene Valley Living Landscape:

Abington Meadows
Barford Wood and Meadows
Barnes Meadow
Bugbrooke Meadow
Kingsthorpe Meadow
Nene Wetlands
Southfield Farm Marsh
Stanground Wash
Storton’s Pits/Duston Mill Meadow
Summer Leys
Tailby Meadow
Wansford Pastures and Standen's Pasture
Wicksteed Park
Woodston Ponds





FilenameFile size
Nene Valley NIA final report.pdf3.17 MB