Old Decoy Farm and Stokes Farm
Size: 210 acres (85 hectares)
Restoration began: 2009
Fixed Point Photography: See points 26, 27 and 28.
Old Decoy farm is on the north-east boundary of the project area. It lies to the north of the B660 and is bounded by the old course of the River Nene. Part of the Holmewood Estate Project, restoration began on Old Decoy Farm in 2009. The land was seeded with grass to take nutrients out of the soil, ready for the next stages of restoration, including hay crops and grazing. Sheep can be seen grazing on the site during the winter months and cattle graze a small area year round.
A new ditch was dug during 2013 to connect the slacker in the bank of the old River Nene to the ditch network at Old Decoy. A clay bund was then placed in a section of one of the southern ditches at Old decoy and another ditch was partly infilled to prevent water draining away from the whole section.
Two water control structures were placed within two parallel ditches at the northern end of the Old Decoy ditch network to allow the flow of water from the slacker to be controlled and diverted to where it is needed.
The final stage of restoration will be the creation of a habitat water storage pool at the northern edge of Old Decoy where water can be stored to be used when there has been a particularly dry period and extra water is needed in the system.
Old Decoy is particularly interesting with regards to geology as there are areas in the south of Old Decoy where there are roddons. These are areas of old water channels that eventually dried up and were infilled by silt and gravels. These areas make wetland creation challenging as water tends to drain away rather than hold.
The new Last of the Meres Trail now crosses Old Decoy farm allowing you to see the progress of restoration so far.
Four extra fields, formerly part of Stokes Farm, were a later addition to the area known as Old Decoy farm. These were sown with grass seed in the autumn of 2013. These fields lie east of the track that leads from the B660 to the farm buildings.
The River Nene (old course) running past Old Decoy Farm
The area can be located on this map of the Great Fen.