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
#SaveCoulLinks - an urgent update from a vital campaign
My colleague, Kate Bellew, Senior Conservation Planner at RSPB Scotland has just posted this blog following an important meeting held by Highland Council to decide on the fate of Coul Links. Given the significance of the case - I'm reproducing...(rea...Posted 12/06/2018 by Andre Farrar
Planning Policy Wales: Securing a brighter future for nature in Wales
Following my blog 11 days ago on the draft National Planning Policy Framework for England, I'm delighted to introduce this guest blog on Planning Policy Wales by my colleague Christopher O'Brien. Guest blog by RSPB Cymru Senior Policy Officer...(read...Posted 21/05/2018 by Simon Marsh
Three decades fighting for peatlands
Wherever peat soils form - there is a conservation story - often of loss and damage, occasionally of restoration and hope. They form a fragile home for distinctive and often threatened wildlife and the properties of the peat provide life-giving benef...Posted 15/05/2018 by Andre Farrar
Building a Britain Fit for the Future (3)
Today we submit our final response to the Government’s consultation on a revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) for England. You can see our previous commentary on it here and here . The changes to the NPPF are wide-ranging, and most...(re...Posted 10/05/2018 by Simon Marsh