Lakenheath Fen

Lakenheath Fen

Lakenheath Fen
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Lakenheath Fen

  • Our annual Race for Wildlife 5k and 10k is now less than two months away

    If you visit the reserve regularly, some of you will know that we organise an annual Race for Wildlife around the reserve. As our event is now less than two months away, its over to Warden Emma to tell us more about it:

    The wonderful season of autumn is now upon us and here at RSPB Lakenheath Fen that can only mean one thing….

    It’s once again time to grab your running shoes and Race for Wildlife. For those of you who haven’t heard of this great event, it’s our annual 5k and 10km run around the reserve, taking place this year on Sunday 14 October – so get the date put in to your diaries!

    Both courses follow multi-terrain routes and are an enjoyable challenge to complete. The 5k route follows a scenic tour along our visitor trails, whilst the 10k route takes you on a behind the scenes tour of the usually hidden parts of the reserve. A perfect opportunity to experience the reserve at a slightly faster pace than usual, but who knows what wildlife you may spot on your way round.

    Both races will start at 11am with the start line being a short 10 minute walk from the visitor centre. The routes are marshalled all the way round by the team here and you’ll never be far from a friendly face offering words of encouragement as you pass. For those taking on the challenge of the 10k route, you’ll find a water station around the 5km mark after which you’re on the homeward straight!

    Finishing back at the visitor centre every participant will receive a well-earned medal and goody bag. For the top three male and female finishers in each distance there will be specially crafted handmade medals awarded as you cross the finish line.

    For that post run energy boost, homemade cakes (of all descriptions!) will be available to purchase, alongside hot drinks, in the visitor centre. Of course, these are just as important for those coming along to cheer all our runners on!

    If you are interested in taking place in this year’s Race for Wildlife, all of the important information can be found here:

    Please register in advance as the race is limited to 150 participants across both distances and we don’t want you to miss out. You can pay online via or send a cheque to the reserve office, payable to the RSPB. Alternatively, if you live close to the reserve, you can also pop in and pay in advance in the visitor centre by cash or credit card. If the race limit is not reached prior to the event, there may be places available on the day.

    The cost for the event is Adults £12, Children £6 (all children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult).

    We’re also encouraging those taking part to raise sponsorship or to set up a Just Giving page in order to raise even more money for the RSPB as a result of taking part in the event.

    All the money the RSPB raises from the event goes directly into work on the reserve, allowing us to give nature a home to the wonderful wildlife that calls RSPB Lakenheath Fen home for years to come.

    So whether this is your first run or you’ve got many under your belt, we hope this article has inspired you to take part in our Race for Wildlife this year. Please ring 01842 863400 or e-mail:; for more information about the event.

    I will leave you with some pictures from last year’s event:


    Image credits: Dave Rogers

    Image credits: Cat Serpant Barrett

    We hope to see you there!

  • Mid August recent sightings

    Good afternoon. I have now returned from my adventure working at RSPB Arne so here are some recent sightings for you.

    I will begin though by posting a picture that I took at New Fen viewpoint at the end of July that I haven’t had the opportunity to share yet:

    Image credit: David White

    Here are some sightings from the last couple of weeks:

    I am pleased to say that at least three cranes have been seen regularly on the reserve recently. They are best seen from Joist Fen viewpoint and they have been seen in flight today.

    Bitterns have been showing well from Mere Hide and Joist Fen viewpoint. Both adults and juvenile bearded tits have been seen on the approach to Mere Hide. Kingfishers have also been showing well from the visitor centre window and the Washland viewpoint.

    There have been good numbers of waders and wildfowl from the Washland viewpoint recently and here are some of the highlights:

    In terms of insects, a hummingbird hawkmoth has been making fairly regular appearances on the buddleia bush in front of the visitor centre. an impressive hornet mimic hoverfly has been seen in the same area.  I also saw our first marbled orb weaver spider of the year near the Washland viewpoint this morning.

    There have also been some interesting mammal sightings today. I saw a stoat near the Washland viewpoint before work this morning and some lucky visitors have seen an otter from Mere Hide this afternoon.

    If you are planning to come and visit, please note that there are still cattle grazing on the riverbank Public Footpath between the Washland viewpoint and Joist Fen viewpoint.

    We hope to see you soon.


  • Late July/ early August recent sightings

    Good afternoon. As I am going to work at RSPB Arne in Dorset for the next week or so, here are some recent sightings just before I go!

     I will begin with some late news from last Tuesday (24 July): An otter was seen from Mere Hide which is a great record for here.

    One species that is becoming more and more conspicuous on the reserve at the moment is the striking wasp spider. Here are some pictures that Warden Emma took last week: 

    Image credits: Emma Cuthbertson

    Although these pictures were taken in a part of the reserve that isn't open to the public, there may well be more of them near the reserve paths so keep an eye out for them. Last year, a female set up territory alongside the hard track adjacent to Trial Wood, the middle poplar plantation on the reserve. If you would really like to see one of these impressive arachnids, please ask on arrival and we can point you in the direction of the best place to look.

    Friday 27 July

    Despite the humid conditions, there were still several people out and about on the reserve. A stoat was seen near the Washland viewpoint and a bittern was seen from Mere Hide. 

    Saturday 28 July

    There were 19 black tailed godwits and three avocets feeding on the washland first thing. A kingfisher was fishing at the edge of the visitor centre pond and our first hummingbird hawkmoth of the year was spotted feeding on the buddleias in front of the visitor centre. While we were setting up for our Big Wild Sleepout event, we saw a fox in Brandon Fen and once everyone was set up, two barn owls were hunting near the camping area which were lovely to see. 

    Sunday 29 July

    I got up shortly after first light on Sunday morning to open the roadside barrier and to cover up the moth traps. I saw a tawny owl in flight over the entrance track and when I got back to the visitor centre, a kingfisher was feeding at the edge of the visitor centre pond.

    Unfortunately, the local bird ringers couldn't do their planned bird ringing demonstration due to the strength of the wind which is a shame. However, they did provide us with some good bird records from Sunday morning nonetheless (thanks guys!) from the washland and Brandon Fen:

    Monday 30 July

    Volunteer John saw a common sandpiper on the washland in the evening which is the first record of this species on the reserve for a while. He also counted at least 46 black tailed godwits from the Washland viewpoint.

    Tuesday 31 July

    Suzanne saw a sparrowhawk over Brandon Fen.

    Wednesday 1 August

    There was a stock dove singing in front of the visitor centre on Wednesday morning which is not something we hear very often from our office window! Suzanne saw a bittern and a buzzard in flight over Brandon Fen during her early morning walk. Local bird ringers Simon and Terry saw five whimbrels and six green sandpipers on the washland and a lucky visitor saw a turtle dove in Trial Wood, the middle poplar plantation.

    Meanwhile. closer to the visitor centre, a hummingbird hawkmoth was playing hide and seek with the local photographers and I spotted a smart willow emerald damselfly near the Washland viewpoint. An unidentified bird of prey put everything up on the washland in the afternoon. Judging by the panic that whatever it was caused, I am pretty sure it was either a peregrine or an osprey. I guess we will never know now though!

    If you are planning to visit the reserve, please note that there are still cattle grazing on the riverbank Public Footpath between the Washland viewpoint and Joist Fen viewpoint.  Please also note that Lakenheath village is currently closed to through traffic so if you are visiting the reserve from the south via the B1112, unfortunately, you will be diverted. This is due to be the case until around Friday 24 August. Please ring 01842 863400 or e-mail:; for more information.

    We hope to see you soon.