Willow Tree Fen - A Living Landscape

Creating a Living Landscape in the Lincolnshire Fens

Of Lincolnshire's original 100,000 hectares of wild wet fenland, only 55 hectares now remain - a loss of over 99.99%. This loss is responsible for the decline and extinction of much of the flora and fauna dependent upon these diverse wetland habitats.

The remaining fenland is concentrated in the Baston and Thurlby Fen Nature Reserves and Counter Drain Special Area of Conservation which are distinguished for their botanically rich and nationally important wetland plant communities.

Willow Tree Fen is connected to Baston Fen and Thurlby Fen Slipe nature reserves by the River Glen and the Counter Drain.

The River Glen has a catchment area of 350 square kilometres. It runs from its origin in the South Kesteven Limestone Uplands between Grantham and Bourne for over 60 kilometres before discharging into the River Welland at Surfleet Seas End.

The Counter Drain is a nationally important wildlife site and part of a network of biodiverse areas protected by the European Union. This large slow flowing drainage channel, managed by the Welland & Deepings Internal Drainage Board, has a rich community of aquatic and emergent plants including pondweeds, yellow-water lily and crow-foots.

Baston Fen nature reserve is the only remaining Lincolnshire washland on peat soils that is managed for wildlife by winter flooding and summer grazing. Owned and managed by the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust it is the last stronghold for many fenland species.

Thurlby Fen Slipe nature reserve consists of old flooded borrow–pits with gravel beds, reedbeds, scrub and grassland. The inter-connected pools are fed by spring and river water welling up from the underlying bedrock and gravels.

Find out more about Lincolnshire's Living Landscapes.

Click on the image below to open 3D interactive panorama of Willow Tree Fen.


Working in partnership to achieve the vision of the Fens

South Lincolnshire Fenland Partnership

Willow Tree Fen restoration is part of a wider restoration project by the South Lincolnshire Fenland Partnership, which aims to restore and re-create up to 800 hectares of Lincolnshire's lost wild fenlands between Bourne and Market Deeping.

Habitat restoration will include areas of wet grassland utilised for grazing and hay production, reedbeds, swampland, wet woodlands and open water. Working with local landowners, farm tenants, the mineral industry and local communities, the project partners are seeking to create a sustainably managed landscape in which wildlife and people will thrive.

Fens for the Future

Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust and the South Lincolnshire Fenlands Partnership are part of Fens for the Future.
The aim of Fens for the Future is to establish a network of waterways and wetlands across the length and breadth of Fens. This will provide a lifeline for much of the rare and beautiful wildlife of the Fens but they will also support a productive and sustainable agricultural landscape well into the future through the delivery of key environmental services that we will increasingly rely on in a changing climate. This network will also provide a more accessible landscape for people to explore the nature and history of the Fens. This will in turn attract much needed inward investment for local communities and businesses.