RSPB Broads Land Management Project update

Published: 13th October, 2020

The RSPB’s Broads Land Management project aims to provide targeted advice and land management to landowners and partners to enhance connectivity and creation of wet grassland to benefit breeding waders within a defined area of the Broads.

Soil spreader installing Footdrains

Autumn update

After a lovely summer and early autumn, it has now turned rather damp, which no doubt will benefit the returning wintering wildfowl from their breeding grounds. Farmers are currently allowing their cattle to graze the grass down on their marshes, which will create suitable foraging areas for species such as Pink-footed geese and Wigeon as they start arriving. It will soon be time to undertake the wintering wildfowl surveys, with more farmers interested in having surveys.

Continued positive progress is being made since the easing of lockdown restrictions and has allowed farm visits to continue again since early June. The number of farmers and landowners given and gratefully receiving advice has continued to increase. The annual targeted advice of 250ha has been exceeded (737.80ha within and 43.89ha outside the boundary area) since lock down has been eased.

Footdrain connected to the Dyke

Of the 10 farms visited over the last three months:

  • One farmer has bought his own weed wiping machine after advice was given to reduce the area of Juncus on his marshes.
  • Seven landowners will be having some of their footdrains reprofiled this year
  • Three landowners are having footdrains created (see photo below)

Footdrain connected to a ditch with no obstructions allowing sufficient water flow

Footdrain Reprofiling

Footdrain reprofiling has been going well, with a good number of farmers and landowners having their footdrains reprofiled ready for next year’s breeding season. Footdrains holding water with muddy edges are absolutely key to providing food for foraging chicks in May and June.

Our work with British Sugar in Cantley has led to a great working partnership, with a joint article going in the farming section of the Eastern Daily Press (EDP). Read it here.

Work is currently being undertaken with the spoil spreader on farms and estates to create nearly 5000m of new footdrains and reprofile over 20,000m of existing footdrains. This is a great achievement and will provide huge benefits for foraging chicks in next year’s breeding season.

Events – Fair to Nature

Our event which would have been held at Raveningham Estate later this year on wet grassland management and arable reversion will not go ahead due to current restriction. This year’s event for farmers and landowners will be held in November via Teams. *Please note this event has now ended.

We plan for next year’s event to be held at British Sugar, Cantley, grazing marshes, following on from the building of a great working relationship which has evolved over the past few months!

For More information contact Andrew Holland, Broads Wet Grassland Adviser

RSPB - giving nature a home