This part of the Great Fen area lies to the north and east of Holme Fen National Nature Reserve. At the moment there is no access across the area but restoration work can be viewed from the Trundle Mere Lookout. This can be reached using the network of paths in the northern part of Holme Fen.
Watching the dramatic restoration work that is taking place. Looking for birds that are already beginning to use the newly created pools and channels.
145 hectares (360 acres)
There may be sheep grazing on parts of the area.
Currently it is necessary to park in one of the laybys along the road that passes Holme Post. These can get very congested at busy times but please ensure that access along the narrow road and farm entrances are unimpeded at all times. Also please do not park on the verges as they are becoming very muddy. Parking half on and half off the road can be dangerous when any agricultural vehicles are coming through.
Blue badge holder parking: Rymes Reedbed and the access to Trundle Mere lookout is very much work in progress. At the moment we sincerely regret that there is no specific disabled access. The only route is via grass tracks through Holme Fen and these can become very boggy indeed, so for the moment at least, we cannot recommend that access be attempted by wheelchair users.
Contact us for more information
This part of the Great Fen area lies to the north and northeast of Holme Fen National Nature Reserve. It is bounded to the north by a major drainage dyke, Yaxley Lode, and to the west by the East Coast Mainline Railway.
Previously this was arable farmland - Holme Lode Farm and New Barn Farm. But before the farms existed this was the site of Trundle Mere, a large open body of water which, until it was drained in the 1840's was connected to its larger neighbour, Whittlesea Mere. There was also once a reedbed here named Rymes Reedbed, after which this part of the Great Fen area has been named.
The restoration of Rymes Reedbed began in 2011, so the land is still in the early stages of restoration work. Some fields have been sown with grass so that sheep can graze and remove the surplus nutrients applied when the land was under the plough. In other parts future meres, ponds and swampy areas have been excavated. In the short term there will be about 7 hectares of open water and swamp, 33 ha. of wet grassland and nearly 100 ha. of drier grassland and woodland. Several years after the first construction phase, the wet grassland will be encouraged to develop into reedbed with another 22 ha. of wet grassland established around the reedbed margins. Further wetland creation may be possible in the future depending on the availability of water.
During the construction phase the existing network of straight agricultural ditches was replaced by nearly 3 km of meandering new channels. These were excavated and given a profile that will be ideal for water voles, water shrews amd emergent vegetation. (Please click here to read about the state of construction work in summer 2013.)
This part of the Great Fen is being developed primarily for the benefit of wildlife - in particular for those species which are likely to require low levels of disturbance. For this reason, even when construction work is complete, public access will be restricted across most of the site. However, traditional land management practices such as grazing and reed cutting are expected to be possible in the future.
An elevated hide, Trundle Mere Lookout, has been built on the northeast corner of Holme Fen and this gives panoramic views across the new area.
At the moment the main features visible from the lookout are:
You can get a birds eye view of the hide and the surrounding area in the following video, shot in March 2016.
FPP 10 From the road adjacent to Holme Fen looking southeast.
FPP 12 From near the railway line looking east.
FPP 13 Looking west from the bank of Yaxley Lode Drain.
FPP 14 Looking south towards Trundle Mere Lookout
FPP 43 The view east from Trundle Mere Lookout.
Click on these links for a description of features of Rymes Reedbed
Trundle Mere is marked on the earliest maps of the area, and it was used as a source of wildfowl, fish, reeds and sedge by local people. In July 1774, during Lord Orford's voyage through the Fens by boat, he wrote:
"after dinner I sailed along the western shore into Trundle Meer, which is joined by a twenty foot drain to Whittlesey Meer and consists of about 100 acres, but is so overgrown with weeds that it is must be barren of fish and indeed it was with difficulty that we could navigate through it''.
Trundle Mere was shown on the 1824 Ordnance Survey map as being surrounded by marshy wetland and was home to many plants typical of raised bogs. This Mere was eventually drained in the 1840's, just a few years before Whittlesea Mere. Take a look at some more detailed information on the history of this area and the work archeologists have been doing to piece the past together.
You will walk through part of Holme Fen to reach Rymes Reedbed but there is much more to explore in this National Nature Reserve. There is more information on the Holme Fen page.
This is the next nearest reserve and lies alongside the B660. There are maps and information about the Great Fen and you can walk around some of the previously cultivated fields that are now being restored. Details are here.
Take a look at the Woodwalton Fen page for more information on visiting this beautiful National Nature Reserve.
If you need more information about Rymes Reedbed, if you have any special requirements, or would like to check conditions of the paths before you visit, please contact us.