This Landscape Partnership Scheme (LPS) will focus on the Brecks' fenland fringe, key freshwater habitats and primary river corridors that provided the conduit for biodiversity and early settlement of a hostile landscape. These areas are often overlooked in a landscape that is famous for being sandy and dry, yet they are the driving force behind the area’s unique biodiversity, and history of human settlement.
The Freshwater Habitats Trust rates the Brecks as one of Britain’s top three landscapes for freshwater wildlife, being equivalent in importance to the New Forest and the Broads. Its freshwater interests include biodiverse chalk streams, networks of ancient Pingo ponds (formed by periglacial ice lenses creating depressions that filled with water as the ice melted), and fluctuating meres (aquifer fed fluctuating water bodies).
Man's influence through development and agriculture has been, and continues to be, more consequential than in most of the rest of the UK. With the anticipated closure of military sites and tens of thousands of new houses expected to be built in the area over the next decade, recreational pressures increasing and massive changes in land use, all freshwater sites in the Brecks are now, and will continue to be, seriously impacted by water quality and quantity.
The story of water is fundamental to how the landscape was settled, from earliest times, Iceni tribes, to Roman, Anglo-Saxon, and Viking to medieval ages. As a result, the landscape boasts internationally significant heritage sites including Roman fen edge settlements and early Anglo-Saxon villages such as West Stow.
The built and natural heritage in the Brecks Fenland fringe landscape both result from, and are extremely vulnerable to, changes in the quality and quantity of one resource; Water. Historic and modern impacts on this resource create a unique opportunity to tell this story and engage with communities on a wide range of relevant issues.
The main aims and objectives are: