The ‘Brecks Fen Edge and Rivers’ Landscape Partnership Scheme wins £2m National Lottery grant

Monday 30 September, 2019

Communities, schools and the landscape of the Brecks will benefit from another series of exciting landscape and heritage conservation projects thanks to a £2m grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Suffolk County Council and The Brecks Fen Edge & Rivers Landscape Partnership are delighted to announce that the proposal for a £3.5m landscape conservation scheme to follow hot on the heels of the popular ‘Breaking New Ground Landscape Partnership Scheme’ has been successful.

Made possible by National Lottery players, the £2m grant will unlock a further £1.5m in match funding from partners and volunteers, and will engage local communities, schools and like-minded organisations to understand, reveal, celebrate and protect the lost heritage of the Brecks’ Fen Edge & Rivers over the next five years.

Rated as one of Britain’s top three landscapes for freshwater wildlife, the Brecks is home to nature as significant as that in the New Forest and the Broads. Across the scheme area lie biodiverse chalk streams and networks of ancient Pingo ponds. Although the area is famed for being sandy and dry, it is the watery landscapes that are the driving force behind the area’s unique biodiversity, and its history of human settlement.

The scheme will enable the partnership to capitalise on the successful ‘Breaking New Ground' which ended in 2017, and engage local communities and partners in telling the story of the Brecks and to develop a sense of pride and belonging to this fascinating landscape that will translate into a long lasting legacy.

Twenty-four innovative projects will engage schools, landowners and communities, to highlight the value and sensitivity of water resources in the area, creating a legacy of awareness and conservation.

Norfolk Wildlife Trust has two projects: ghost pingo restoration; and education in local schools.


Lost Ponds: Reinstating Ghost Pingos

A rare relict of the last Ice Age, pingos (a specialist form of pond) occur in significant numbers in the Brecks. This project will look to bring a number of lost 'ghost' pingos back to life; improve our understanding of pingos through citizen science; and share best practice to ensure effective conservation of this unique resource.


Watery Wildlife

Norfolk and Suffolk Wildlife Trusts will work with four primary schools and surrounding communities to introduce staff and children to the wealth of watery wildlife in their local countryside. NWT will be introducing local schools to Thompson Common.

Senior Education Officer for NWT, Annabel Hill said: “The five year project will enable the Trusts to work in-depth with the schools and community groups, investigating the full range of wildlife, from water beetles to newts and water voles to dragonflies, building confidence in the outdoors and inspiring learning about the nature around them.”

Anne Jenkins, Director, England: Midlands & East, The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “Characterised by fascinating features such river valleys, chalk streams, nationally rare Pingo ponds and fluctuating meres, it is no surprise the Brecks are rated within the top three of the UK's freshwater habitats. We know that National Lottery players hold natural heritage projects, such as this ambitious Landscape Partnership Scheme, in high esteem and I am sure that many of them will be delighted to learn more about the area and its hidden natural treasures. We are also heartened by Suffolk County Council’s commitment to preserving and exploring their natural heritage, and that our funding will enable their work and passion to continue and benefit the communities of the Norfolk and Suffolk Brecks.”
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