The Lowest Place in the UK

I’d been meaning to take a trip to the Great Fen for a while, so one day in July off I went.

There are a number of parts to the Great Fen, but the two main areas are Holme Fen and Woodwalton Fen. Holme Fen has been on TV a few times, showcasing the landscape restoration and the excavation of a Spitfire from a nearby farm. It also has pride of place as the lowest part of the UK sitting at 2.75m (9 ft) below sea level. This was my destination for the day.

I kicked off the day at Burnham’s Mere which is a lake a short walk from the carpark. As usual for summer time there wasn’t a lot of bird life about, a few swans and ducks, unexpectedly there were also cormorants in the trees on the far side of the lake. It’s always a bit of a strange sight seeing birds the size of Cormorants perched in trees, they never look like the tree could support them! I didn’t take any photos though since they were quite a way off and facing away from me.

After that I headed off into the area of Holme Fen that stretches around and behind Burnham’s Mere. This yielded a lot more wildlife. Lots of damselflies and dragonflies about, also hundreds of grasshoppers leaping about on and around the paths. At one point I also saw a deer jump of the trees in front of me, but it was off again before I could get a photo.

During the morning I also paid a visit to the large and relatively new Trundle Mere Lookout hide that stands looking over Rymes Reedbed. There wasn’t much to see from here on the day, partly due to the time of year and partly because the reedbed is still being restored. I’ll have to go back there again when there’s likely to be more to see.

After lunch I went for a walk around the Discovery Trail. This starts at the Holme Posts and takes a route around the old gamekeeper’s plantation and back through silver birch woodland that grew on the fen after the land was drained.

For the remainder of the afternoon I headed just round the corner to New Decoy Farm. This is an area of land which is being converted from farm land back into the wetlands that were there before. There is a walk around the site called the Dragonfly Trail, although on this occasion I actually saw more butterflies.

The tree with very exposed roots was quite interesting as it shows just how much the land has dropped since the tree started to grow. The potato field also caught my eye as a brilliant example of how the peat soil earned this area the nickname of the Black Fens.

All in another great day out, and I only actually visited a small fraction of the fen. Somewhere I will definitely be going back to in the future to explore more of!

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