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Wicken Fen Vision

Tall reeds (Phragmites australis) against a blue sky at Wicken Fen National Nature Reserve, Cambridgeshire.
Tall reeds at Wicken Fen | © National Trust Images/Paul Harris

The Wider Wicken Vision is an ambitious plan for the next 75 years to create a diverse landscape for wildlife and people stretching from Wicken Fen to the edge of Cambridge. Find out how we plan to care for this rich oasis of wildlife, with more than 9,300 species recorded as living in this unique and special landscape.

Why we needed a plan for Wicken Fen

Less than 1 per cent of original fen survives in East Anglia, of which Wicken Fen is a fragment. Despite growing to 358 hectares (885 acres) by the end of the 20th century, the nature reserve was too small and isolated to guarantee the survival of all its rare and numerous species. It was also under pressure from the increasing number of people seeking its peace and tranquillity.

The Wider Wicken Vision

Launched in 1999, the Wicken Fen Vision is a 100-year plan to create a diverse landscape for wildlife, people and carbon; a historic landscape that will provide space in the modern world to breathe, think and explore.

We are looking to increase the historic landscape from Wicken Fen to the edge of Cambridge by working in partnerships for the benefit of people, climate and nature – an exciting and pioneering plan to take into the next century. Watch our story here.

An azure damselfly at Wicken Fen National Nature Reserve, Cambridgeshire.
An azure damselfly | © National Trust Images/Rob Coleman

Habitats and wildlife

To create an extensive landscape for wildlife that is sustainable and adaptable we will:

  • create more space for rare fenland as well as fen edge habitat and species, allowing wildlife to thrive and move across a fen landscape

  • work in partnership to create more spaces for habitat creation and public access

  • record and conserve important wildlife and landscape features

Access for everyone

To provide new and improved local green spaces for local people, we will:

  • inspire and connect people with nature, conservation and the landscape

  • deliver access and recreation opportunities that link with local communities

  • provide opportunities for learning and volunteering

  • protect the landscape and challenge decisions that may put our vision at risk


Carbon sequestration - how are we going about it?

  • through large-scale peat and habitat restoration, creating fenland landscape resiliant to anticipated climate change

  • by working in partnership to protect and maintain more peat soils in good condition in order to reduce emissions

Visitors looking at maps of Wicken Fen National Nature Reserve, Cambridgeshire.
Visitors looking at maps of Wicken Fen | © National Trust Images/John Miller

The first chapter of the Wicken Fen Vision

  • 474 hectares of land purchased

  • Over 5,000 wintering waterfowl using this new habitat

  • 48km of public access created or improved

  • 2,000 hectares of peat soils in the Vision area

  • 100+ konik poinies and highland cattle grazing

  • 2 bridges built

  • 65,000 people to the visitor centre each year (many more using the access network)

  • Lodes Way linked to National Cycle Network

  • Cycle hire opened

The Vision continues

After 25 years the need for the Vision is greater than ever before, with demands on our environment continuing to increase. The Wicken Fen Vision will deliver on a landscape scale to give nature the space it needs. It will continue to expand to create a healthy and beautiful natural environment that is bigger, better and more joined up for both wildlife and people.

We’re writing the next chapter in the story of a landscape that has evolved over centuries and we’d like you to be a part of this. Whether you’re a walker, farmer, cyclist, horse rider or birdwatcher; a volunteer, National Trust member, visitor or supporter; a councillor, business owner, teacher or community leader: whoever you are, you’re invited to be part of the Wicken Fen Vision. If you'd like to find out more about how you can get involved, do get in touch with us, drop by the visitor centre or follow our work on social media.

Visitors cycling at Wicken Fen National Nature Reserve, Cambridgeshire


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Footprints project at Wicken Fen 

Discover how we’re connecting the communities near Wicken Fen with nature and heritage as part of the Footprints project, thanks to a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant.

Konik ponies grazing at Wicken Fen National Nature Reserve, Cambridgeshire

Our work at Wicken Fen Nature Reserve 

Learn about some of the work we carry out at Wicken Fen Nature Reserve throughout the year to conserve this important landscape for visitors, plants and animals alike.

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The history of Wicken Fen 

We’ve cared for Wicken Fen National Nature Reserve for over 125 years. Discover its history and how we continue to look after this very special place.

Male reed bunting singing from a perch at Wicken Fen National Nature Reserve, Cambridgeshire

Wildlife at Wicken Fen 

Wicken Fen was the first nature reserve to be managed by the National Trust. Today it’s one of Europe's most important wetlands and home to over 9,000 species.

A family at Wicken Fen National Nature Reserve, Cambridgeshire

Family-friendly things to do at Wicken Fen 

If outdoor activities and learning about nature sound like a good day out for your family, Wicken Fen is the right place for you. Discover everything you need to plan your family day out, from events and activities for kids to hiring bikes.

Ranger in National Trust fleece inspecting white blossom on tree in orchard

Our cause 

We believe that nature, beauty and history are for everyone. That’s why we’re supporting wildlife, protecting historic sites and more. Find out about our work.