17/06/06 Wildlife Haven opens


Families keen to explore the great outdoors this summer can visit a wild new venue right on their doorstep. 

Fiskerton Fen nature reserve, east of Lincoln, was officially opened at the weekend.

The seven-hectare site features a hide designed to look like a bronze age hut inspired by numerous archaeological artifacts discovered in the fen.

There is also a lake, which is already proving popular with waders and waterfowl, as well as boards telling visitors about the history of the area.

The reserve has been built on the site of a clay pit created when construction workers used the material for flood defences on the nearby River Witham.

It took five years to develop and original project manager Andrew Usborne says it was worth the hard work.

“We wanted to develop the flood defence without damaging the roads, so most of the material was transported either on the river or along the river bank,” he said.

“It was important for us to give something back. When we took the clay for the river banks we were left with just a field, but it’s great to give people this piece of tranquillity.”

The idea has proved to be very popular with residents in the nearby villages.

Keen bird watcher Kipper Scott, from Fiskerton, said: “Everyone in the village thinks it’s splendid and it has quickly established itself with the wildlife.

“With the old clay pit, the woodland and the river nearby, we’ve got ourselves a corridor of wildlife and this reserve has enhanced that.

“A lot of villagers are already using it and we’ve seen a lot of water birds settle here.”

Fiskerton Primary School has also been involved with the project. A display of clay artwork created by the pupils has been built next to the hide.

And on Friday, pupils were invited to the official opening and took part in a mini-beast hunt.

Charlotte Mason (seven) said: “We’ve been doing research on trees, plants and about creatures and their habitats.

“We’ve seen a few spiders, centipedes, woodlice and a soldier beetle. It’s wonderful here – there’s lots of ducks and birds to look at.”

Sarah Sharpe (six) said: “I’ve seen ants, grasshoppers and big dragonflies. We’ve put some of the smaller insects into magnifying glasses to look at them close up.”