WICKEN FEN
Have A Look At The Official Wicken Fen Web Site For Further Information

Wicken Fen is a last remaining example of the once extensive Great Fen Levels and the oldest nature reserve owned and managed by the National Trust, who first acquired parts of it in 1899. It is one of the most important wetland habitats in Britain and has been declared a National Nature Reserve.

With easy access for visitors, Wicken Fen offers a rare opportunity to experience this unusual landscape much as it would have appeared until the end of the 19th century. Today it forms a stark contrast with the surrounding, intensively drained farmland and harbours a precious diversity of plant and insect life. Here, the changing seasons produce dramatic effects from the green lushness of summer growth to the mystery of winter fogs and frosts.

Evidence of human activity is also an essential part of Wicken Fen. The traditional harvests of reed, sedge and litter (hay) still form most of the annual work load. In addition the restored drainage Windpump and the Fen Cottage repaired and furnished to reflect its early 20th century occupants are both vivid reminders of former times.

Opening times:
Nature Reserve: Open daily (except Christmas Day) from dawn till dusk.
William Thorpe Building: Open daily (except Christmas Day) from 9 am till dusk. Houses visitor reception, information, sales and the Warden's office.
Fen Cottage: Open April to end October. Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays. 2 pm - 5 pm. or by special arrangement for groups.

Admissions: Check official website for Information & Current Prices. http://www.wicken.org.uk/
National Trust members free. Cards must be shown.

Fen permits can be obtained from the visitor reception in the William Thorpe Building or, when this is closed. from the ticket machine outside which accepts most coins. The group rate is available to 15 people or more, who make an advance booking.
N.B. Visitors who decide to join the National Trust and take out membership at Wicken Fen will be refunded their cost of admission.

Access and facilities:
Waymarked trails.
There are two waymarked routes, the three quarters of a mile Boardwalk and the two and a quarter mile Nature Trail. Both can be extended to reach more than 10 miles of paths in total. There are also several bench seats and two bird hides.

When the Fen is watrrlogged, many of the paths are closed to protect the fragile surface from excessive damage. Information about the state of the paths is displayed at visitor reception. Stout footwear is always advisable. Between June and September mosquitoes can he a nuisance. Dogs are allowed if kept under strict control and held on a short lead.

Guides and Information:
The Wicken Fen souvenir guide, waterproof trail guide, species lists and gifts can be purchased from visitor reception. The William Thorpe Building also contains colourful displays about the history, nature and management of Wicken Fen.

Education:
The Education Warden at Wicken Fen offers a wide range of special activities which support work for the National Curriculum through all Key Stages. Booking is essential and teachers are requested to make a free preliminary visit to agree their own individual programme of study.

The William Thorpe Building contains a lecture space and a laboratory area. while outside there is a designated Education area (including a shelter) for practical work on the Fen.

Environmental activities offered include pond-dipping, insect identification. plant surveys and ditch profiling. Fen drainage is also relevant to NC History and Geography.

A modest facility fee is charged to cover most education activities although schools can consider NT Education Group Membership which entitles them to free admissions. For further information. resources and bookings, contact Sylvie Ballard, Education Department, Wicken Fen (01353) 723095.

Residential visits:
Basic self-catering dormitory accommodation for 28 people is available to schools or other groups in the Ganges Hut, open from March to November. Please book early with the Education Warden to avoid disappointment.

Refreshments:
Hot and cold drinks are available at peak times from visitor reception. A picnic area with tables is provided next to the car park. Please take all litter home with you.

Lavatories:
Lavatories with provision for wheelchair users are open from April to November at the car park. From December to March, non-adapted lavatories are open in the William Thorpe Building.

Visitors with disabilities:
Two wheelchairs are available for use on site. The boardwalk and bird hides have been specially designed to provide wheelchair access. Parking close to visitor reception is available by special arrangement.

Location:
Wicken Fen lies in the centre of a triangle formed by Cambridge, Ely and Newmarket. It is clearly signposted from the A1123, in the village of Wicken. Car and coach parking is free 150 metres from the reserve.

The Fen can also be reached by boat, via Reach Lode Lock. Craft should only tie up on the southern bank near the junction with Monk's Lode.

Contact:
Tim Bennett, Head Warden, The National Trust, Lode Lane, Wicken, Ely, Cambs. CB87 5XP.
Tel or fax: (01353) 720274