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RSPB Ouse Fen


By Paul Brackley


Female Marsh harrier. Picture by Piotr Krze[lak.
Female Marsh harrier. Picture by Piotr Krze[lak.

Grassland, open water and the biggest reedbed in the UK.

RSPB Ouse Fen

Address: 10 Bluntisham Road, Needingworth, St Ives PE27 4TA

Opening hours: Open at all times

Entry prices: Free to members; donations encouraged from non-member

Parking: Free car park

Toilets: None

Refreshments: None

Hides: None

Accessibility: Partly wheelchair and pushchair accessible

Dogs: Welcome when kept under close control. They’re only allowed on trails, footpaths and bridleways

Top marks to the RSPB for its ambition: It’s working on a 30-year vision with Hanson in the Cambridgeshire Fens to transform this working sand and gravel quarry into a huge nature reserve featuring grassland, open water and, ultimately, the biggest reedbed in the UK.

There is already some real visible success, with 10 booming bitterns, six pairs of marsh harriers and lots of bearded tits calling the reserve home in 2016, which marks the halfway point in the project. Birds of prey, farmland species, waders, ducks, grebes and swans can seen at the site almost all year round.

A range of trails cross the site - and eventually 30km of new rights of way will cross the site. In May 2016, a further 96 hectares of restored land was handed over from Hanson Aggregates to the RSPB, taking the reserve to a massive 218 hectares.

As the coastal strongholds of species like bitterns, bearded tits and marsh harriers come under pressure from rising sea levels and storm surges, it is locations like Ouse Fen that will provide vital inland habitat for these species.

For more information visit the RSPB Ouse Fen website.



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