The Great Fen is an expanse of nationally significant fen landscape between Peterborough and Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire. The area was once ‘wild fen’, but in the 17th Century the fens of Eastern England were drained to create peat-rich farmland. This resulted in 99% of the wild fen being destroyed. The fenland that remained was too small and isolated to continue to support the special wildlife that had survived. The area needed landscape-scale change.
In 2000, five organisations, including our client – the Wildlife Trusts of Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire – joined together to conceive the Great Fen project. Between them, they provided the insight and expertise in conservation, recreation, business and tourism, flood protection, water management, community and visitor engagement. The Great Fen Steering Group set out on a 50-year habitat restoration project, one of the largest in Europe. It has created a huge nature recovery network including the connection of the two National Nature Reserves giving the unique species they hold enough space to thrive.
20 years on, the Great Fen is a great place to visit, with many talks and activities taking place at the Wildlife Trust Visitors Centre and many different trail options.
It all began with a Compton fundraising study and consulting work to identify the first tranches of capital funding and volunteer leadership.