The Land of the Fanns Landscape Partnership Scheme has been able to keep certain projects running over the lockdown with the help of partners and, as that now begins to ease, there is lots to report on such as the developments at Pages Wood.
Pages Wood is a Forestry England site in Harold Wood in the borough of Havering. Its 74 hectares offer a variety of habitats for both wildlife and people, with a mosaic of forest, wetland, and river habitats. Leading waterways charity Thames 21 in partnership with Land of the Fanns and Forestry England have been working to enhance its wetland habitats. While government restrictions have prevented volunteer events from taking place, it has been able to continue working on enhancements using contractors.
A series of new wetland scrapes have been created on the floodplain of the River Ingrebourne. A wetland scrape is a slight depression in the land with very gentle sloping sides, which collects and holds rain and flood water. They help support a more varied habitat of wetland grasses and meadows, enhancing the freshwater ecosystem at Pages Wood and creating new habitats for many creatures which live on land, in the water or on the wing, such as wading birds, which use wetlands for feeding and breeding.
Alongside this a series ofthree ponds have been created. The aim of which is to hold water on the floodplain, slowing water as it moves downstream. Ponds are very important habitats, with two thirds of freshwater species being supported by pond habitats. More than 50% of the UK’s pond habitats were lost in the 20th century, so this work is very important in restoring these vital habitats.
Lily Mackie, Thames 21 River Restoration Project Manager said‘We hope many people will come to Pages Wood and watch as these important new habitats develop and grow over the summer. The wood’s 100, 000 trees and excellent views make it a great place to walk and cycle. Now it is a better site too for wildlife.’
Benjamin Sanderson, Land of the Fanns Scheme Manager said: ‘The work at Pages is a brilliant example of the partnership work that is happening as part of the Land of the Fanns Landscape Partnership Scheme, even during lockdown. Thanks to a great team effort and funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Thames Water and Forestry England, these improvements will hopefully transform and improve wetland habitats as these newly created areas begin to re-establish with vegetation.’
The Land of the Fanns is unique £2.4 million Landscape Partnership Scheme, awarded £1.36 million by the Heritage Lottery Fund in 2016. The five year Scheme brings together nine partner organisations with a commitment to work towards a shared goal of enabling local people to discover, restore and enjoy what’s special about the local landscape. Thames Chase Trust is the project’s lead partner. Thames Chase Trust manages the Thames Chase Community Forest in which the Land of the Fanns office is based.
The other partners are: Forestry England, Thames Estuary Partnership, Brentwood Borough Council, London Borough of Havering, Essex County Council, London Borough of Barking & Dagenham, Thames21 and Thurrock Council.
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