OWLP Area

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The area the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership Scheme focuses on is a relatively narrow strip of land surrounding the unique man-made, 17th century channels called the Old and New Bedford Rivers and also includes many of the surrounding communities.

The OWLP area, outlined in purple on the map below, is relatively narrow and linear, 48.5 km long and covering 243 km². It extends northwards to Denver / Downham Market. The southern boundary includes the RSPB-managed Fen Drayton Lakes and Ouse Fen nature reserves near St Ives which are important for nature conservation and archaeology; here the Guided Busway and long-distance cycle routes provide good non-motorised access opportunities.

The area also includes the well-visited WWT reserve at Welney, as well as several communities including Welney, Manea, Mepal and Earith from which the OWLP area can be explored by following existing walking routes and discovery trails.

The OWLP area covers two Counties (Cambridgeshire and Norfolk), five different Districts (Kings Lynn & West Norfolk BC, Fenland DC, East Cambridgeshire DC, Huntingdonshire DC and South Cambridgeshire DC) and no less than 29 Parishes.

As part of a commissioned Landscape Character Assessment study and through Community Consultation works, the boundary of the OWLP area has been refined as part of the OWLP’s stage 2 submission to the Heritage Lottery Fund. The below map shows the final boundary chosen for the area, reflecting a strongly coherent landscape, driven by natural boundaries in the landscape and which local communities recognise.

The OWLP landscape is one of the least known and under-appreciated parts of East Anglia. The OWLP area has, nevertheless, a very distinct character and sense of place, following from its unique drainage history, expanding wetland habitat network and a largely unknown and unexplored set of nationally significant natural, historic and cultural heritage assets.

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