In all weathers and seasons, the Great Fen is a place to enjoy stunning wildlife, beautiful landscapes and a wide range of events and activities.
The Great Fen is providing an increasing number of locations where you can walk and enjoy extensive panoramas as well as particular spots of great wildlife or heritage importance. There are also education and school visits, community group visits and outreach sessions, the details of which are on the Events pages
Each part of the Great Fen has its own distinct character. The following areas are currently free to visit and open to visitors all year round.
This was the first new public site to be opened on the Great Fen and is located at the centre of the project area. Entering the bog-oak carpark you will find maps and information and you can take a walk past ponds, wet meadows and trees, to an unusual bird hide. As this site develops it will be a great place to see dragonflies around the ponds and breeding waders accross the fields. The Last of the Meres trail starts here (see below). At the beginning of the short Dragonfly trail you will find a picnic area shaded by an old walnut tree. This trail leads through the woodland and then to a bird hide constructed from straw bales. From here, during the winter months, you may see flocks of Siskin, Redpoll and Goldfinch, feeding around the hide. Continue through the woodland and you will find interpretation panels explaining the history of this part of the Great Fen.
Find out more about visiting New Decoy Farm
A peaceful, wildlife paradise, Woodwalton Fen is one of the UK's first nature reserves and is an internationally important place for wildlife. You can follow grass paths through the reeds, watch dragonflies dart along the ditches and see the aerial displays of Marsh Harriers. In the centre of the reserve is a unique feature: a 100-year-old thatched bungalow on stilts. Erected by Charles Rothschild when he bought the fen, it is open during special events. You can explore on waymarked trails, taking in meres, bird hides and a view of the whole of the Great Fen from the western bank. It is also a good place to see one of the more unusual species - Chinese Water Deer.
Find out more about visiting Woodwalton Fen.
The first area of Great Fen land to be bought in 2002 was Darlow's Farm and the adjacent Middle Farm came a little later. Both are in the early stages of restoration and are being grazed by cattle throughout the year. The farms form an expanse of wet meadow habitat and can be viewed well from the clay bank on the northern and western sides of Woodwalton Fen.
Find out more about looking across Darlow's and Middle Farms.
Here you can explore grassy paths through the beautiful Silver Birch woodland. The famous Holme Post shows how dramatically the ground level has dropped since the drainage of nearby Whittlesea Mere - once the largest lake in England outside the Lake District. Throughout the woodland and on the meres you can see wildlife, including many species of birds, butterflies and dragonflies. In autumn look out for the odd shapes of more than 500 different species of fungi. There is an accessible path (120m) to Boston's Mere, opposite the Holme Post.
Find out more about visiting Holme Fen.
Until the mid nineteenth century there was a vast reedbed here - the fringes of Trundle Mere, an offshoot of the famous Whittlesea Mere. Then, for 150 years it became productive arable land. Now, with the peat soil exhasuted, it is being restored to its former state as a wet haven for wildlife. Ditches are being re-profiled and large areas being excavated to create open meres fringed, once again, with reeds. It is not possible to walk across the area, but a large, elevated lookout has been built on the area's southwestern edge. From here it is possible to see the reconstruction work and watch the wildlife that is already reconising the area.
Find out more about visiting the Trundle Mere Lookout to look out across Rymes Reedbed.
Half a mile down the road from Woodwalton Fen is the Countryside Centre at Ramsey Heights, home to the Great Fen office and the team's schools and community work. The Centre is surrounded by a small nature reserve with short, gentle walks on grass paths and beside ponds. Pushchair and wheelchair access is possible along the Discovery Trail (approx 20-30 minutes). An all-terrain access buggy is also available, along with other aids. The nature reserve can be visited at any time. In the Centre itself there are a classroom and toilets, including an accessible toilet. You can also look into the kiln of the old Victorian brickworks. Both the centre and office are open during events and office hours (usually Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 4.30pm).
Find out more about visiting the Wildlife Trust Countryside Centre.
This new 10 km waymarked trail enables you to visit a mosaic of habitats in the northern part of the Great Fen area. Starting at the Information Point at New Decoy Farm it crosses Old Decoy Farm to the bank of the Old River Nene. From there it visits Engine Farm before joining the road running alongside Kesters Docking and into Holme Fen NNR. Finally the route of an old railway line leads back to the starting point.
More details of the Last of the Meres Trail are here.
As the Great Fen develops, there will be more and more places to explore. For example, plans are under way to construct a new hide looking across the area of wetland called Kester's Docking and, later, to create a new visitor centre in the heart of the Great Fen (latest news here).