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W is for Wetlands

The Little Ouse river rises at Redgrave and Lopham Fen and travels West through Brandon, Hinderclay Fen, Thelnetham Fen, Raydon Common and Hopton Common, an area of Wooded Valley Meadowlands and Fens.

Formed originally by glacial outwash these wetlands were drained for agriculture, leaving pockets of marshes, fens, and Alder Carrs – wet woodland which attract the birch, alder and dog rose and rich in ferns, mosses, lichen and fungi. This valley held peat deposits which were extracted for fuel whilst the river provided sedges and reed used for thatching.

Redgrave and Lopham Fen, maintained by Suffolk Wildlife Trust is open for visitors and is a haven for wildlife: dragonflies, butterflies, reptiles and amphibians, mammals; and in recent years the Fen Raft Spider, first introduced at Carlton Marshes, can been seen at Redgrave Fen.

Many birds are attracted to this area such as the Sedge Warbler, the Bearded Tit and birds of prey such as the Hobby and the Barn Owl which are illustrated here from History of British Birds by William Yarrel (1863), part of the Cullum Library Collection based at Bury Record Office.

Further reading:
http://www.suffolklandscape.org.uk/landscapes/Wooded-valley-meadowlands–fens.aspx