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Ancient fenland restoration boost

11 May 09 12:14 GMT

A nationally important area of ancient wetland in Norfolk is to be restored to its former glory following the awarding of a grant from Natural England.

Cranberry Rough near Great Hockham used to be open fenland and lake, which was created about 14,000 years ago.

Many rare plants and insects which thrived in the area have now been lost as the site has become overgrown.

More than £200,000 has been awarded by Natural England to restore the site of special scientific interest (SSSI).

'Of national importance'

The 80 hectares (198 acres) of fenland is the only place in Norfolk where the cranberry grows, hence the reserve's name.

Bev Nichols, from Natural England's West Suffolk and Breckland land management team, said: "This patch of land is of national importance.

"By restoring the SSSI to open fen we will preserve the nationally rare or scarce plants we have growing here, without completely losing the scrub habitat provided by the tangle of willows and alders."

The project is a joint venture between Norfolk Wildlife Trust and local land owner Breckles Grange Farming Co.

Work on the site is due to be finished by 15 May.

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