BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific North Midlands/East West/South-West London/South North Midlands/East West/South-West London/South
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK: England  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Friday, 29 November, 2002, 20:16 GMT
UK's lowest spot is getting lower
Holme Fen, Cambridgeshire
The cast-iron post shows how much the land has sunk
Conservationists have raised concerns that the lowest land spot in the UK is sinking.

Holme Fen, a national nature reserve near Peterborough in Cambridgeshire, has sunk by about four metres since draining work began in the 1850s, leaving it about 2.75 m below sea level.

Now conservationists are hoping to buy up surrounding farmland and stop the drainage, to preserve the area as an important wildlife habitat.

Chris Jerrard of Cambridgeshire Wildlife Trust said: "If we don't conserve places like this we are going to be losing species."

Jonathan Papworth
Mr Papworth would consider an offer to buy
The level of sinkage has been measured by a cast-iron pole sunk into the ground in 1852 so it rested on the clay beneath the peat.

Initially it was completely hidden - but now it is exposed as the drainage has caused the peat to disintegrate.

Farmer Jonathan Papworth, who could be asked to sell up if the conservation project goes ahead, said: "We are aware that the land is sinking year on year."

His great-grandfather bought Middle Farm at Connington in 1922, but Mr Papworth said he would take "exceptionally seriously" any offer to buy the place.

"I can understand the project," he said.

'Full cycle'

However, tenant farmer David Collett, who could be left landless if his farm's owner agrees to sell up, said he opposed such "big projects".

He said generations of his family had worked to convert the area from "wash" into farmland.

Alan Bowley, from the government conservation agency English Nature, agrees the drainage has been important over the decades for farmers.

"But now we've come full cycle," he said.


Click here to go to Cambridgeshire
See also:

11 Mar 02 | England
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more England stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more England stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes