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
Victory for Harapan Rainforest
Beautiful Hutan Harapan forest is a precious remnant of the rainforest that once covered much of Sumatra (Photo: RSPB-images/Steve Roland) Hutan Harapan is one of the last remaining areas of dry lowland Sumatran forest and is among the most th...(r...Posted 12/04/2019 by Heather Mitchell
Rila Mountains: The Final Piece in Bulgaria's Protected Area Network for Birds
Daniel Pullan, our International Casework Manager writes: I was thrilled last week when my Bulgarian colleague Irina Mateeva told me that the Bulgarian Government had designated the last part of the Rila Mountains as a Special Protection Area. This a...Posted 04/04/2019 by Heather Mitchell
A net gain for nature
How can built development leave the natural environment in a better shape than it was before? This is the question at the heart of Defra’s recent consultation on ‘biodiversity net gain’. We know from the State of Nature 2016 report ...(read more)Posted 01/03/2019 by Simon Marsh
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