Great Fen: Speechly’s Farm
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Great Fen – Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire (WTBCN)

Great Fen: Speechly’s Farm

Great Fen: Speechly’s Farm is an opportunity to take 127 hectares of arable farmed fen peatland out of commercial production and restore to high water table, wetland fen habitats.  Delivering ecosystem services to improve the condition of neighbouring  Woodwalton Fen National Nature Reserve, it will provide a vital wildlife corridor by connecting two remaining fragments of original fen, Woodwalton and Holme Fen National Nature Reserves

  • Total Area (hectares)
  • project cost
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Our Wilder Carbon projects achieve a multitude of added benefits alongside carbon sequestration and reduction. We pick three unique features of each project to highlight the co benefits of the projects.

The site is located within the Great Fen, an ambitious landscape scale wetland creation and restoration initiative. The vision is to join up 2 extremely important National Nature Reserves (NNRs) and create new wetland and grassland habitats in the Fens.

The aim for Speechly's Farm is to manage the site in perpetuity through minimal intervention management. This will include some conservation grazing, that will result in an evolving mosaic of habitats attractive to a diverse range of flora and fauna that are currently restricted to the NNRs.  Raised water tables will reduce the loss of peat soils and reduce the need for pump drainage of the area.   

  • Icon showing plant for peat protection

    Peat Protection

  • Icon showing connectivity

    Connectivity

  • Icon showing grazing animal

    Wilder Grazing

  • Connectivity
    The Great Fen

    The site is located within the Great Fen, an ambitious landscape scale wetland creation and restoration initiative. The vision is to join up 2 extremely important National Nature Reserves (NNRs) and create new wetland and grassland habitats in the Fens. The wider Great Fen vision area extends across 3700 hectares from south of Peterborough to the north of Cambridge, near Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire.

    Currently some 1800 ha are under conservation management in the Great Fen. Ancient wild fens once stretched for miles across a huge part of East Anglia, but more than 99% of the habitat disappeared when the land was drained for agriculture. Only fragments now survive.  The 2 NNRs, Woodwalton Fen and Holme Fen, contain many species and habitats of conservation interest. Both are protected under UK legislation as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Woodwalton Fen is recognised as an internationally important Ramsar site and is a Special Area of Conservation (SAC).

  • Great Fen: Speechly’s Farm - The Vision
    wilding, wetting and innovating

    Acquired in 2023, kickstarted by NHLF and others’ support, the vision for Speechly’s Farm is to create a range of wetland habitats including open water, reedbed, marsh, wet grassland as well as some drier grassland in some slightly higher areas.  This will encourage natural recolonisation of fen and wetland species.  The design is based on existing topography, soils and water availability, employing some soft engineering and water control structures to retain water on site.  Periods of dry weather will be mitigated via water stored from times of peak flow. 

    The aim is to manage this site in perpetuity through minimal intervention management. This will  include some conservation grazing, that will result in an evolving mosaic of habitats attractive to a diverse range of flora and fauna that are currently restricted to the NNRs.  Raised water tables will reduce the loss of peat soils and reduce the need for pump drainage of the area.   

Halting the loss of peat is only half of the story at Speechly’s Farm on the Great Fen.   Bringing iconic wildlife back to what was once the one of the largest wetland habitats in the UK is the more charismatic half.  We will reunite the last refuges for fen wildlife at Woodwalton and Holme Fen Nature Reserves, with Speechly’s, the missing piece of the puzzle.  For the first time there will be a bridge that spreads wildlife across the landscape and shows how green finance can support restoration of a lost landscape, making the Fens more resilient for the future. 

Lorna Parker Restoration Manger, BCN Wildlife Trust

Wilder Carbon Logo over Yellow and Purple Heather

EIUs

Calculating Estimated Issuance Units

By restoring Speechly’s Farm and taking it out of commercial arable production it is estimated that a large proportion of carbon emissions will be removed, generating carbon credits that will be available to purchase up front as estimated issuance units (EIUs). We apply a generous buffer and use the best available data, calculating a minimum defensible estimate over the 50 year duration of the project. With matured habitat regeneration over time, we hope to one day see Speechly’s begin to sequester carbon.

Beds, Cambs and Northants Wildlife Trust is delighted to be a Trusted Deliverer.  Tackling the climate crisis through carbon storage has been central to the Great Fen since its inception, and it seems fitting that it is the first lowland Fen project to be registered in the UK  with Wilder Carbon. We selected Wilder Carbon for its high integrity, ethical standards and highly credible Standards Board and verification partners. Through this exciting project we will be delivering tangible carbon benefits and substantial biodiversity gains simultaneously.  

Brian Eversham CEO, BCN Wildlife Trust

With only a few fragments of original fen surviving, this will provide a vital haven to wildlife. Species such as the, fen violet, marsh moth and tansy beetle are rare, endangered and almost unique to the Fens. These can flourish again as these vital habitats are once again connected and new habitats created. Other species such as bitterns, barn owls and marsh harrier, a wealth of wading birds and amphibians could also benefit from this newly restored farm .

An additional part of the site, which is not included, under the Wilder Carbon Standard will be used to develop paludiculture which builds on the successful pilot elsewhere on the Great Fen piloted by the WTBCN.

PROJECT REGISTRATION DOCUMENTATION

  • Project Design Document COMING SOON

  • Management Plan COMING SOON

  • Monitoring Plan COMING SOON

  • External Validation COMING SOON

  • Management Agreement COMING SOON

  • Engagement Plan COMING SOON

  • Maps and Surveys COMING SOON

  • Carbon + Habitat Tool Project Outputs COMING SOON

  • Carbon + Habitat Tool Habitat Parcels COMING SOON

Speak to our Delivery Team

Our delivery team consists of in-house experts who can talk to you about your Wilder Carbon investment.

  • Evan Bowen-Jones
    Evan Bowen Jones
    Managing Director
  • Paul Hadaway
    Paul Hadaway
    Head of Implementation
  • Sarah Brownlie
    Project Manager
  • Dan Wynn
    Dan Wynn
    Head of NBS
  • Ross Johnson
    Ross Johnson
    NBS Manager
  • Robbie Still
    Robbie Still
    Head of Digital Development
  • Helen Gillespie-Brown
    Business Development Manager

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