The Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust has commissioned consultants led by Richard Glen Associates to develop a plan for access to the South Lincolnshire Fens, based on Willow Tree Fen nature reserve.
Richard Glen says: "Our job is to come up with ideas for developing the reserve as a visitor attraction whilst maintaining its importance for wildlife. We want to make it easier for everyone to visit the Fens whether they are walkers, cyclists, horse riders or come by car, whether they live locally or are visiting from further afield. We welcome people’s ideas for recreational routes and links with local towns and villages, on how to promote the area and on how local communities and the local economy can benefit."
Visitors to Waterside Garden Centre at Baston will be able to give their views to the consultants and pass on their ideas during the afternoon of Wednesday 17 October. If you cannot be there visit the South Lincolnshire Fenlands Partnership website, www.lincsfenlands.org.uk, where you can fill in a simple questionnaire or you can post your comments on Facebook (search for "South Lincolnshire Fenlands Gateway Access Plan").
Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust acquired Willow Tree Fen in 2009. Since then much work has gone into developing the nature reserve, which lies between Spalding and Bourne, to improve it for both wildlife and visitors. Fields that not so long ago grew crops are now home to a host of water and wetland bird species and rare plants such as the greater water-parsnip which is found in only a handful of locations in Lincolnshire. Circular walks have been created, new birdwatching hides have been built and a former barn has been converted into a classroom and education facility.
99% of the County's fenland has been ploughed up and the South Lincolnshire Fenlands Partnership, led by Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust, aims eventually to reclaim around 800 hectares of this unique landscape. It is a landscape for people as well as wildlife; its heritage and history are an important part of our past and everyone should be able to enjoy its distinctive character and atmosphere. An integral part of the project is to reconnect people with the Fens and encourage them to get out there.
Rachel Shaw, PR Officer for the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust said: "The Fens are there to be enjoyed. Willow Tree Fen nature reserve is a great place for people to visit who appreciate wildlife, tranquillity and wide, open landscapes. The access plan will help link the reserve to the wider countryside making it easier to visit and enjoy."