Heritage Lottery Fund grant gives nature a home in Cambridgeshire

Rupert Masefield

Wednesday 21 September 2016

A £120,000 three year project to provide new homes for nature is reaching completion at RSPB Fen Drayton Lakes nature reserve, near Swavesey.

Earthworks are currently underway to deliver improvements to the wildlife habitat of the nature reserve in South Cambridgeshire, just 10 miles from the city of Cambridge. One of the biggest projects carried out on the reserve in recent years, it will be a major boost for some of the UK's most vulnerable species.

The work will see enhancements to existing islands, re-profiling of lake shores and removing invasive willow scrub for the benefit of birds all year round. The improved habitat will be especially beneficial for threatened species such as lapwing and redshank, along with a host of other resident waterside birds that call the reserve home.

The project has also seen the creation of a new viewing area adjacent to the guided busway and a new visitor welcome shelter, both generously supported by a £31,670 grant from the Mick George Community Fund. Over the coming months visitors can also expect to see improved interpretation and signage around the reserve as well as a new seasonal trail and a programme of events aimed at the local community.

Chris Hudson, RSPB Senior Sites Manager for Fen Drayton Lakes commented: "This huge programme of work will benefit some of our most precious wildlife, providing new opportunities for visitors to enjoy the reserve and discover nature on their doorstep. We are very grateful for the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund in helping make this possible."

The project forms part of the wider Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership Scheme, which brings together a range of organisations working to inspire strong community involvement and provide long term social, economic and environmental benefits to this rural part of Cambridgeshire.

Mark Nokkert, Programme Manager, Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership said: "The RSPB have been moving the earth for nature! I am delighted to see the changes to the reserve, all aided by funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund distributed through the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership. Fen Drayton Lakes is such an important green lung for surrounding communities and is a fascinating southern gateway for people to explore the natural heritage of the Ouse Washes Landscape close-up: come and visit, be surprised and inspired!"

1. About the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership Scheme:
  • The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) awarded a major grant to the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership: Heart of the Fens scheme in March 2014.
  • This OWLP scheme is funded till March 2017.
  • The Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership (OWLP) area covers two Counties, five Districts and 29 Parishes, and stretches for nearly 50 km from Downham Market in Norfolk to St. Ives in Cambridgeshire.
  • The partnership aims to improve community interaction and participation to maintain and safeguard the OWLP area's inherent landscape beauty, its wetland habitats of international importance and its hidden archaeological and historical 'gems'.
  • The 27 key partners are: Arts Development in East Cambridgeshire (ADeC); Bill Blake Heritage Documentation; Borough Council of King's Lynn and West Norfolk; Cambridge Archaeological Unit; Cambridgeshire ACRE; Cambridgeshire Association for Local History; Cambridgeshire County Council; Diocese of Ely; Ely Museum; Environment Agency; Fen Skating Association; Fens Museum Partnership; Green Light Trust; Manea Parish Council; Manea & Welney District Drainage Commissioners; Mepal Parish Council; Mike Petty; Natural England; Prickwillow Engine Trust; Rosmini Centre; Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB); Sutton Parish Council; Welney Parish Council; Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT); Wildlife Conservation Partnership (WCP); Workers' Educational Association (WEA); Fenland District Council.
  • Website www.ousewashes.org.uk
  • The Partnership is led and facilitated by Cambridgeshire ACRE (www.cambsacre.org.uk) Funder: The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) - www.hlf.org.uk
2. About Mick George:
  • Mick George has grown to become one of the leading suppliers to the construction industry in East Anglia and the East Midlands with a commercial fleet size in excess of 240 HGV vehicles.
  • They specialise in bulk excavation, demolition & earthmoving services, ready mixed concrete, a wide range of skip hire and waste management services, Commercial Trade Waste Service and aggregate supply.
  • Mick George has an extensive network of operating sites strategically located across their operating region including quarries, landfill, transfer stations, concrete batching plants, state-of-the-art recycling centres and soil washing facilities.
  • They have recently launched a brand new Commercial Waste service for businesses across East Anglia and the East Midlands.
  • The rapid growth of Mick George over the years has led to the creation of 100's of new jobs within the local area, and Mick George Ltd now employs over 550 staff.
  • The business growth of Mick George has been recognised with a number of awards, including winning the 2015 Cambridge Business Award for Growth and being ranked in the Sunday Times Fast Track 100 league table in 2016.
  • One of the company's main priorities is support within the local community. Mick George is heavily involved in sponsorship of both small local sports club, such as St Ives F.C and Park Farm Pumas, as well as much larger sports clubs like Peterborough United and Cambridge United. The companyprioritises involvement in local events, environment and charities, most recently setting a challenge to raise £100,000 for Addenbrookes Charitable Trust .
  • For further information, please visit: www.mickgeorge.co.uk

3. RSPB Fen Drayton Lakes nature reserveis a complex of lakes and traditional riverside meadows, next to the River Great Ouse, which used to be gravel workings. It is a fantastic place to explore and watch birds with huge numbers of ducks, swans and geese on the lakes in winter. In summer, terns, hobbies and a variety of dragonflies are regularly seen. Otters also live here, but are rarely seen. You can find out more and plan a visit at www.rspb.org.uk/fendraytonlakes

Last Updated: Tuesday 28 August 2018

Tagged with: Country: England Topic: Conservation Topic: Giving Nature a Home Topic: Habitat conservation Topic: Reserves Topic: Water and wetlands