Redgrave and Lopham Fen
Home to insect-eating plants and Britain's biggest spider, the fen raft spider, this dramatic fenland landscape is one of the most important wetlands in Europe and the source of the River Waveney. The fen is an exceptional place for wildlife and a testament to the vision of those who battled to save it The fen is a wild watery landscape of sedge, rush, heath and hundreds of pools created over many centuries by local people as they eked out a living, digging peat for fuel and cutting reed and sedge for thatching.
With well over 270 plant species, including many national or regional rarities, the fen boasts a diversity of plant life to satisfy even the keenest of botanists. Looking across the landscape now, it is hard to believe the fen was almost destroyed by post-war drainage and water abstraction. An abitious restoration project, completed in 2002, saved the fen from drying out. Today, many wetland species that we feared were lost forever are starting to return. Sundew, butterwort and marsh fragrant orchid are amongst them.
Facilities at Redgrave & Lopham Fen
Redgrave & Lopham Fen has over 50 breeding species of bird.
Large numbers of breeding wetland birds include bearded tit, cuckoo, grasshopper warbler, kingfisher, lapwing, little grebe, reed bunting, sedge & reed warbler, teal and water rail.
Breeding scrub, woodland and farm birds include hobby, sparrowhawk, great spotted woodpecker, woodcock, tawny owl, little owl and barn owl.
The reserve has huge range of fen plants, including several nationally scarce, and many principle fen species.
Many wetland species are also present, several nationally scarce – these include brown mosses such as Calliergon cuspidatum/giganticum and Campillium stellatum, and also four recorded bog moss species.
Redgrave & Lopham Fen is an extremely rich habitat for dragonflies with 21 species recorded. These include azure damselfly, banded demoiselle, black-tailed skimmer, bluetailed damselfly, broad-bodied chaser, brown hawker, common blue damselfly, common darter, emerald damselfly, emperor, four-spotted chaser hairy dragonfly, large red damselfly, migrant hawker, norfolk hawker, red-eyed damselfly, ruddy darter, scarce chaser, scarce emerald damselfly, small red-eyed damselfly and southern hawker.
27 species of butterfly have been recorded at the fen: brown argus, brimstone, clouded yellow, comma, common blue, essex skipper, gatekepper, grayling, green hairstreak, green-veined white, holly blue, large skipper, large white, meadow brown, orange-tip, painted lady, peacock, purple hairstreak, red admiral, ringlet, small copper, small heath, small skipper, small tortoiseshell, small white, speckled wood and wall.
Moths – several hundred macro & micro moth species have been recorded. Notable species include reed dagger, cream-bordered, green pea, dotted fanfoot, valerian pug, silver barred and Webb's wainscot.
Reptiles & amphibians
All four Suffolk reptile species present & breeding on the reserve - grass snake, adder, common lizard and slow worm. Also breeding great crested newt, smooth newt, common toad and common frog.
Mammals seen at the fen are otter, water vole, polecat, water shrew, harvest mouse, wood mouse, bank vole, field vole, common shrew, pygmy shrew, grey squirrel, hedgehog, mole, yellow-necked mouse, rabbit, brown hare, chinese water deer, muntjac deer, roe deer, red fox, stoat and weasel.
Bat species regularly seen at Redgrave are Natterer’s, brown long-eared and pipistrelle.
Fen raft spider
Fen raft spider Dolomedes plantarius* breeding on site, many other
species recorded, some notable. A new survey of spiders is highly
recommended to address current status & distribution on reserve.
Over 480 species of beetle have been recorded, including 52 Nationally Scarce species. Species of note include glow worm, 6 nationally scarce staphylinids, including Philonthus fumarius and Stenus palustris.
Seven charophytes have been recorded including lesser bearded
stonewort, bristly stonewort, delicate stonewort, common stonewort and hedgehog stonewort.
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