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Countryside waterways to be restored to increase tourists’ love of the Brecks

Lynford lakes in the Brecks.  Picture: Sonya Duncan

Lynford lakes in the Brecks. Picture: Sonya Duncan

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It hopes to build on a project which aimed to increase people’s love of the unique Brecks landscape.

RSPB Lakenheath Fen. Picture: Sonya Duncan RSPB Lakenheath Fen. Picture: Sonya Duncan

But instead of focusing on its popular heathlands, sandy soils and forests, the new Brecks’ Fen Edge and Rivers Landscape Partnership Scheme will bring attention to its little-known waterways.

The project will focus on a 231km sq area, taking in 47 parishes and four towns including Thetford and Brandon - and will aim to raise awareness of how water is fundamental to the story of landscape settlement, development and biodiversity of the area.

Restoration of and improving access to waterways, including the Little Ouse River, tow paths along the River Lark and a canoe slide at Brandon Staunch, are some of the 46 projects which will be delivered.

It will follow on from the successful Breaking New Ground (BNG) Landscape Partnership, which was formed in 2014.

Former Breaking New Ground project officer Ed Goodall and project manager Nick Dickson. Picture: Ian Burt Former Breaking New Ground project officer Ed Goodall and project manager Nick Dickson. Picture: Ian Burt

The three-year £2.2m scheme, which received a £1.5m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), delivered a range of heritage and landscape projects.

Development funding for the new £3.3m five-year scheme of £151,000 has been awarded by the HLF. If successful, a full grant of £2m will be given.

Nick Dickson, BNG project manager, said: “It is really exciting for the Brecks and it is nice to know the legacy of BNG will not fade away. Another six years of partnership conservation is awesome for the landscape.”

The Brecks is home to numerous endangered species, wet woodlands, internationally important pingo ponds and the UK’s only six fluctuating meres.

Breaking New Ground (BNG) stats being held up by former BNG project officer Ed Goodall (right) and project manager Nick Dickson. Picture: Ian Burt Breaking New Ground (BNG) stats being held up by former BNG project officer Ed Goodall (right) and project manager Nick Dickson. Picture: Ian Burt

Volunteers will be able to learn and build skills, including archeological, through workshops, and historical archives of the area can be developed and learnt.

Mr Dickson said one of BNG’s biggest achievements was the number of children who got involved. Around 5,607 pupils from 22 Brecks schools took part.

He added: “We want the next generation of conservationists to find their passion through this project.”

More than 60 organisations, including councils and wildlife organisations, will be part of the project, which will be based in Thetford.

The Little Ouse at Thetford. Picture: Simon Parker The Little Ouse at Thetford. Picture: Simon Parker

Suffolk County Council supported the development bid.

Visit the Breaking New Ground website.

Volunteer day for one of Breaking New Ground's projects.  Picture: Breaking New Ground Volunteer day for one of Breaking New Ground's projects. Picture: Breaking New Ground

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