News from our Conservation Manager

 Hello, I'm Ellie Beach Conservation Manager for Little Ouse Headwaters Project (LOHP), welcome to my page 'News from our Conservation Manager' where I will keep you up to date with what is going on down on the fens. I will update the page as often as I can when I have intersting news, the main news page will still be used for any important articles.



Volunteering and Event Update - March 2020

Following the Government's Coronavirus guidelines about social distancing, all of our events, activities and volunteer work parties are postponed for March and April to keep people safe and adhere to the advice. We will monitor the situation as things develop and hope to be up and running as soon as possible. Keep safe out there.


Volunteer Help - 27th February 2020

Throughout February LOHP Volunteers were joined by 5 Green Light Trust Volunteers based in Bury St Edmunds. The two teams have come together, teaching each other new skills and getting so much work done it's unbelievable, we nearly ran out of tasks. From cutting back encroaching scrub from around the reedbed and heathland, to laying and planting a hedge, to installing bird and Barn Owl nest boxes - there was something to keep everyone busy. Thank you to everyone for all your hard work, especially to the cake bakers who had to make double the amount!

 Fuelled by cakes              LOHP and Green Light Trust Volunteers Hinderclay Fen


New Boardwalk Blo' Norton Fen - 24th February 2020

Against the wind, rain and floods contractors have completed a new section of boardwalk along the riverside path on Blo' Norton Fen near Swallow Bridge. It has been installed in an area which was becoming very eroded and causing damage to the riverbank. The site is still very wet so wellies are recommended. 

 New Boardwalk under construction Blo' Norton Fen              New Boardwalk completed Blo' Norton Fen


More Rain and Wind - February 2020

It seems to be a constant stream of wind and rain at the moment, with the odd sunny day thrown in for good measure. The wind has brought down quite a few trees across LOHP sites which volunteers have had to clear up to keep paths open. On New Fen several ash trees came over which had ash dieback (see image). All this water is great news for the wetlands but unfortunately the constant rainfall has also increased river levels leading to flooding to some of our sites, the water from the river brings with it lots of silt and nutrients which can be detrimental to the species rich fens.   

 Bleyswycks Bank in Flood Jan 2020              Parkers Piecein Flood Feb 2020


Happy New Year - Is the wet weather behind us? - 7th January 2020

I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year, I hope you all had a restful festive period. After the long dry summer and damp autumn, we suddenly had the most rain we had seen in a while. At the end of December just before Christmas we had an unexpected downpour over night and were greeted with a rather different looking fen.

New Fen looking NE after Flooding Dec 2019 © Rowena Langston 

New Fen looking very different to what it did in the autumn when you could walk across it without your wellies on. Now you can't tell where the boundary of the site is. Its a good job we managed to remove all the cut vegetation before we got all this rain or it would have probably floated off around the site and be much harder to remove. 

10 points if you can guess where this is? 

Bleyswycks Bank looking West after Flooding Dec 2019 © Rowena Langston 


Amazingly this is the Little Ouse running past Bleyswycks Bank (looking west) which for most of the spring and summer had been at its lowest level. But now you can hardly work out where the river, path and grassland start. The posts in the picture are the tops of the electric fence posts that run the length of Parkers Piece and Bleyswycks Bank. The cows were a little bit delayed coming off the site this year but luckily they left the week before the flood, we had even been organised enough to bring in the electric fence battery as well which was a good job as the box had become submerged with water. 

 Gulls on Carr Meadow after Dec 2019 Flooding © Rowena Langston              Blo' Norton Ford after Flooding Dec 2019 © Rowena Langston

While the gulls on Carr Meadow were having a lovely time. Others were struggling trying to cross the ford at Blo' Norton due to the raised water levels. Thanks to Rowena Langston who was out and about taking lots of photos.


LOHP Volunteer Conference 2019 - 4th December 2019

LOHP Volunteer Conference 2019

On Wednesday 4th December as a change to the normal Wednesday work party we held our annual LOHP Volunteer Conference. With about 40 volunteers attending from all our different volunteering activities, we had to change venues at the last minute to accommodate everyone and luckily Redgrave and Lopham Fen Visitor Centre came to our rescue - thanks for taking us in at short notice.


LOHP Volunteer Conference 2019 i

The morning's event was a variety of different talks covering a range of topics so there was something for everyone. From Otters in Suffolk and on the Little Ouse and a really revealing video, of clips from trail cameras of Otters getting up to all sorts of things; to cute lapwing chicks and how fencing can help them survive predator attacks when on the nest; to finding natural solutions to invasive plant problems. There was of course a selection of cakes for the break. The event was well received so I had better start getting the line up together for next year.


Tails at the AGM - 29th November 2019

Conservation Manager Talk AGM 2019

Friday evening 29th November saw our 18th Annual General Meeting of LOHP held at Garboldisam Village Hall. The event was really well attended with over 100 people joining us and bringing along plates of food to share afterwards, which was very generous. After the more formal part of the AGM it was my turn. This was my largest audiance for a talk for LOHP so far, and it went really well, I spoke about what we had been up to over the year with particular focus on New Fen, Reeves Meadows and our Water Vole Raft Project which lead on nicely to the main speakers talk.

Water Vole © Arthur Rivett

Darren Tansley from Essex Wildlife Trust joined us as our main speaker for the evening, his talk on 'Saving Ratty - What is the future of the Water Vole' was really informative. I have heard Darren talk in the past and thoroughly enjoyed it along with the audience who asked lots of questions afterwards. Darren's talk was followed by the annual raffle and then food and mingling.

Water Vole ©  Arthur Rivett