Lakenheath Fen

General Description

Lakenheath Fen was a 300 ha area of arable land, converted into a wetland of reedbed, open water and grazing marsh in 1995 by installing ditches and modifying the existing drainage regime. This contribute to the Bittern Species Action Plan and habitats for bittern were successfully developed. Lakenheath Fen now is a model project for further and ambitious wetland projects. The development processes were intensive, as is planning, survey and monitoring. A purpose-designed wetland reserve

On peat overlying sand. Peat depth variable. Water inputs are seepage from River Little Ouse, abstraction from the river in winter, and rain. There is an interceptor drain to collect seepage, and water is pumped throughout the reserve if rainfall is low. Some water is iron-rich from the sand aquifer. This could be seen as a bonus, as iron precipitates phosphorus.

Now has 18 pairs of marsh harrier, 40+ pairs of bearded tit, 5 pairs of bittern, water vole, otter and many other species. The site is as yet very eutrophic in terms of vegetation.

The project was funded from a Leonardo da Vinci grant.