Page last updated at 18:23 GMT, Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Farmland to become wildlife haven

Farmland on the Norfolk and Suffolk border is set to be transformed into a fenland wildlife haven.

Natural England selected the Little Ouse Headwaters Project to share in 2m of funding aimed at improving England's wetland habitats.

Volunteers applied for 37,000 to regenerate the farmland and link areas of fen at Thelnetham Fen and Blo' Norton Fen.

The fenland is home to newts, dragonflies, snipe and orchids.

The project was one of 15 to receive funding.

Natural England said the area of threatened wetland was a vital habitat for a wide range of insect, plant and other animal species.

Wildlife habitats

It added that most of East Anglia's wetlands had disappeared and many plants, animals and insects, including the fen orchid, were in decline.

The headwaters project has helped to restore wildlife habitats for frogs and newts to the Little Ouse.

Dr Helen Smith, one of the Little Ouse Headwaters Project volunteers, said: "This funding will contribute towards habitat restoration on an area of former fenland that we purchased last year.

"This site has been badly degraded by conversion to agriculture and later abandonment but its restoration is particularly important because it reunites two fragments of fen -Thelnetham and Blo' Norton Fens - that are internationally important for their wildlife."

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