Breaking New Ground

Reconnecting People with The Brecks

Photo: Lynford Water, Nick Ford

The ‘Brecks Fen Edge and Rivers’ Landscape Partnership Scheme wins National Lottery Support

Suffolk County Council and The Breaking New Ground Landscape Partnership are delighted to announce that a new proposal for a £3.3M landscape conservation scheme focussing on the heritage of the Brecks Fen Edge and Rivers, has received initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Made possible by National Lottery players, the new scheme aims to understand, reveal, celebrate and protect the lost heritage of the Brecks’ Fen Edge & Rivers. It will raise awareness of how water is fundamental to the story of landscape settlement and development, and its biodiversity.

Development funding of £151,100 has also been awarded to help Suffolk County Council progress their plans to apply for a full grant at a later date.

Conservation effort has long-focused on the internationally important heaths and forests, but legacy development work from the Breaking New Ground Landscape Partnership identified significant risks and opportunities relating to this lesser-known watery landscape, which includes unique geology, the UK’s only 6 fluctuating meres, and a significant percentage of nationally rare species. 60 partner organisations will harness growing interest to deliver 46 innovative projects, ranging from citizen science delivering ground-breaking eDNA sampling for priority species in waterbodies, to unlocking stories of Viking invasions, and Boudicca’s revolt. Rivers and sensitive habitats will be restored with communities encouraged to value heritage and given skills to maintain it.

Commenting on the award, Councillor Matthew Hicks, Suffolk County Council Cabinet Member for Environment and Public Protection said: “This is wonderful news for the Brecks in both Suffolk and Norfolk and shows what can be achieved, when partnership working is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Suffolk County Council is proud to host and support innovative new initiatives such as the Brecks Fen Edge and Rivers Landscape Partnerships. I look forward to seeing the projects develop and the scheme take shape, during this 18-month development period”.

Drew Bennellick, HLF Head of Landscape and Natural Heritage, said: “Across the UK people are increasingly realising that nature is in trouble and it’s time to take a more proactive approach. Schemes like these provide a creative solution to helping people reconnect with landscapes and the environment, to implement solutions at a truly landscape-scale and tackle issues such as soil loss and flooding by supporting partnerships and coalitions of the willing.” Further details on the proposals and development phase of the Brecks Fen Edge and Rivers Landscape Partnership scheme will be presented by Nick Dickson, Breaking New Ground Project Manager, at the FREE Breaking New Ground Celebration Conference being held on Saturday the 18th November at the Carnegie Rooms in Thetford.