The Brecks is a unique and interesting landscape. Made up of rare grass heathland, the largest lowland forest in the UK, wildlife-rich farmland and unusual wetlands, it spans almost 1,000 square kilometers across the heart of East Anglia.
You know you’re in the Brecks when you see the funny shaped, gnarled pine trees in rows – the pine lines.
Sandy, flinty soil, hot days and cool nights, combined with the fact it’s the driest part of the UK, create unique populations of wildlife and a distinctive terrain. People have influenced the Brecks too through farming, flint mining, rabbit warrening, military usage and forest planting.
Nearly 13,000 species have been recorded in The Brecks, with 28 per cent of the UK’s rarest species found here.
The Brecks is internationally important for its rare wildlife and heritage, but this is under threat. We’re working with communities, farmers, businesses and many organisations to help save it.
Reserves and other protected areas are a key part of Futurescapes. They provide core areas for nature to thrive and eventually repopulate the surrounding landscapes. The key RSPB reserves within this Futurescape are:
At Lakenheath Fen, the RSPB has converted arable farmland into a large wetland. There is a new visitor centre where you can find out more about the reserve, its wildlife and history. An events programme is run throughout the year and family explorer backpacks and trail guides are also available.
We're working to safeguard and improve special places for nature. Each Futurescape contains a range of initiatives in addition to our reserves. The combination of these creates better conditions for wildlife across the countryside.
The recovery of the enigmatic stone-curlew in the UK has been heavily reliant on help from RSPB staff. They have closely monitored the population and rescued nests and chicks from agricultural operations. The recent EU LIFE+ project has increased the amount of safe nesting habitat in order to reduce the need for intensive protection work, with the aim making the UK population more sustainable.
Futurescapes is all about collaboration. There are many organisations and people involved in managing land in The Brecks. Our challenge is working together to find ways of making more space for nature. To achieve this we’re working with:
- Breaking new ground
- Brecks Partnership
- British Trust for Ornithology
- Butterfly Conservation
- English Heritage
- The Environment Agency
- Forestry Commission
- Natural England
- National Trust
- Norfolk Biodiversity Information Service
- Norfolk Biodiversity Partnership
- Norfolk Wildlife Trust
- Suffolk Biodiversity Partnership
- Suffolk County Council
- Suffolk Wildlife Trust
Saving special places
What will the new NPPF mean for places, people and nature?
On Tuesday the Government published a new National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) for England. You can see our previous commentary on the draft version here , here and here . The NPPF sets out the Government’s planning policies for England...(read ...Posted 27/07/2018 by Steph
Save Lodge Hill: Thank you for your help, and next steps
Medway Council's latest consultation into their draft Local Plan, and in particular their plans to allocate large areas of land within and right next to Britain's best site for nightingales at Lodge Hill, is now closed (25 June 2018). Over...(read mo...Posted 26/06/2018 by Sara H
Fate of Coul Links now in the hands of Scottish Government URGENT call to action
Those of you following the campaign to Save Coul Links will know that we’re part of a group of conservation organisations fighting to stop proposals for a golf course on this triple protected wildlife site. Coul Links is one of the Scotland’s...(read...Posted 22/06/2018 by Andre Farrar
Updated - BTO confirm that Lodge Hill is the UK’s best site for breeding nightingales
Update: Posted 11.25am Monday 25 th June: We’ve updated our blog below to reflect our further analysis of BTO’s independent report since its release on Friday. It is useful to understand that where the BTO 's report refers to ‘Lodge...(read more)Posted 21/06/2018 by Sara H