The Great Fen – natural history and conservation

Enjoy summer among the reedbeds, pastures and woodlands of one of the country’s most visionary conservation projects.

Since 1600, more than 99% of the original wetlands of the East Anglian Fens have been lost, including what was once the largest lake in England; Whittlesea Mere. In Cambridgeshire, between Huntingdon and Peterborough, the Great Fen Project aims to reconnect the last vital fragments of this habitat, at Woodwalton Fen and Holme Fen National Nature Reserves, and to restore an amazing 9,000 acres – one of the most ambitious conservation projects in the country.

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Once restored, the landscape will be an evolving mosaic of open water, reedbeds, meadows and wet woodland, safeguarding threatened wildlife and offering new opportunities for recreation and sustainable livelihoods. Already, the area provides a home to threatened birds such as marsh harrier, bittern and common crane, as well as otters, water voles, rare dragonflies, the fen violet and fen woodrush, which is found nowhere else in the country. In the future, lost species such as the swallowtail butterfly and spoonbill may also return.

Our holiday will be based in the nearby scenic market town of St Ives, on the banks of the River Ouse. From here we will explore the wetlands of Woodwalton Fen and the silver birch woodland of Holme Fen, learning about the restoration work already undertaken and seeing ‘behind the scenes’ of this exciting project. We will also enjoy a gentle boat ride along the River Ouse, learn about the traditional brick making industry of the fens and pay a visit to the nearby Nene Washes reserve.



June/July 2017


Henry Stanier


To be confirmed