We have now formally entered Higher Level Stewardship with an agreed entry date of 1st August 2008.  Initially, the annual payment offered was in the region of £1700 per year.  After further discussions with NE, this has now risen to £4411.80 per year, giving us more money to carry out the work required within the agreement.


We have received a one off payment of £715.00 towards preparation of our Farm Environment plan.  The plan was prepared by ourselves and Natural England, with no cost to the fen funds, thus giving is a further £715 to carry out work on the fen.


With regard to the leaking drain, this matter is now in the hands of Natural England and Norfolk County Council.  We await further progress.


The Fen Committee has completed the Management Plan and submitted it to NE for final approval.


The wet autumn and cold winter so far have not helped us progress with our volunteer working parties, although a hardy band of seven did manage to make some inroads into the prominent tree stumps and other clearance on the ride in to the fen on Sunday 25th Jan 09, despite the cold and damp.  Not quite what we had hoped to do, but progress none-the-less.  I will take this opportunity to remind everyone that we have our next working party on Sunday 22nd February 09.


We have experienced great difficulty in engaging scrub clearance contractors as most of the reputable ones are booked months in advance. (We were lucky last year).  We may still be able to get some work done next month.


Within the HLS agreement we will receive funding for reed cutting. As with the scrub clearance contractors, reed cutters are also very busy – meaning that we will have to plan ahead.  Although we have not made as much progress on scrub clearance and reed cutting as we would have liked, we will increase our expenditure over the autumn/winter 2009/2010 by looking for relevant contractors as soon as possible.


The EA will be installing dipwells and a piezometer on the fen in the future, and will give us a one off payment for this.  This payment is currently being discussed with their consultants.


Work is continuing on obtaining the relevant permissions to fence part of the Highland Fen for grazing.  Mike Bushby from Beachamwell came to the ‘Boughton Fen through the Seasons’ evening and was very impressed with what we are doing.  He has kindly given us about 700m of fencing wire, to help us with this work.  If we bought this new, it would cost us about £500.00.  Our thanks go to him for this kind donation, and also to Geoff Procter for storing it until we need it.


On a different note, if anyone sees dogs relieving themselves along Stringside drain, or anywhere else on the fen, please let us know so that we have a word in their owner’s ear, and offer them a plastic bag!



I would like to thank everyone who has contributed help to fen related projects over the past few months, and particularly to Angela and Kevin for producing and distributing the excellent Newsletter, which was given to every household in Boughton, and has also gone far and wide via the internet.


Mark Pogmore