Endangered turtle doves and water voles in the Ely area to be saved for future generations thanks to Lottery funding

PUBLISHED: 11:43 11 January 2018

Stretham Old Engine on the old west river. Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership PHOTO: Christopher Cain

Stretham Old Engine on the old west river. Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership PHOTO: Christopher Cain


Endangered animals like turtle doves and water voles and rare plants like greater water parsnip are set to be saved for future generations to be enjoyed thanks to Lottery funding.

The Old West River near Twenty Pence road crossingThe Old West River near Twenty Pence road crossing

Cambridgeshire ACRE is delighted that it has received support from the Heritage Lottery Fund for the ‘New Life on the Old West’ project.

The landscape on either side of the Old West River is recognised as a stronghold for many rare and endangered species, they say, and the money will help protect them

Included are Turtle doves, water voles, water beetles and aquatic plants like water violet and greater water parsnips.

Kirsten Bennett, Cambridgeshire ACRE’s chief executive said: “This is wonderful news for the communities in the Cambridgeshire Fens.

Community green space at CottenhamCommunity green space at Cottenham

“We are particularly grateful to all those local National Lottery players who will now see their community green spaces improved.

“Local landowners will also be able to benefit from wildlife-friendly improvements on their ditches and arable land.

“The demonstration sites will enable local people to proudly display wildlife-friendly management practices, the project supporting local parishes and community groups in their important work.”

Made possible by National Lottery players, the project aims to improve public understanding of the vulnerable landscape around the Cambridgeshire Fens’ Old West River, whilst developing demonstration sites to showcase new ways of working on the area’s community green spaces and ditch network.

Development funding of £99,000 has also been awarded to help Cambridgeshire ACRE progress its plans.

This will help the organisation to develop its project throughout 2018 working towards a full grant application of £729,900 to deliver the project from 2019 until 2022.

This area, with its many local settlements on either side of the Old West River, contains a great number of community green spaces and an extensive network of ditches and wetland habitats.

Together, these contribute to its high biodiversity value, making this a vital ecological corridor which links the internationally significant wetland reserves of National Trust’s Wicken Fen and RSPB Ouse Fen.

The project brings together a team of 30 expert conservation and land management organisations to counter the ongoing decline of wildlife and plants locally.

This collaborative approach provides a unique opportunity to test a landscape-scale conservation approach that has not been undertaken before in the Fens in this manner.

There will be opportunities for local people and schools to join in the citizen science, volunteering and events programmes coming up.

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