Lottery money helps charity to buy fen land

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A CONSERVATION charity has been awarded a £370,400 Heritage Lottery Fund grant to restore and protect precious fenland water habitats between Thetford and Diss.

The Little Ouse Headwaters Project (LOHP) has purchased Webbs Fen, a 13-acre area of land between Thelnetham Fen and Bleyswycks Bank.

The new area adds to the charity’s existing 50 acres and will form a vital link in a series of sites that they have been working on since 2002.

Dr Jo-Anne Pitt, LOHP secretary, said: “We are all absolutely delighted. It is a major step forward for us as we are a small charity, and we are grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the confidence it has shown in us by awarding this grant.”

The HLF funding will also enable the group to restore two sites in Garboldisham – Scarfe Meadows and Broomscot Common. The grant will be used to improve public access via footpaths as well as promoting volunteering opportunities:

Dr Pitts said: “There was an appeal for volunteers via a newsletter which will be circulated three times a year in all the parishes the area covers. The charity is also looking to improve the website and develop its social networking presence.”

Robyn Llewellyn, head of the HLF, East of England, said: “The purchase of this small but significant piece of land will have a big impact on the Little Ouse. Not only will this grant help to safeguard an important fen habitat for the future, but thanks to Lottery players, many more people will be able to get involved, learn about and appreciate the natural heritage that is all around us.”

LOHP will also expand its work with other organisations, including schools and communities. Learning resources will be produced in conjunction with Garboldisham Primary School and the Sainsbury Centre for the Visual Arts.

Archives will be produced tracking the development of the sites on the LOHP’s website at www.lohp.org.uk