Holme Fen NNR is the lowest point in Britain, lying at the most westerly end of the East Anglian fens on the shore of the former Whittlesey Mere.
Main habitats: Woodland, Peatland
Area: 266 Ha
Site map: Nature on the Map
View a map of the reserve: (114kb).
Over many years drainage of the surrounding farm land has caused the peat to shrink. This shrinkage has been recorded by the Holme Fen Post, a cast-iron column that was sunk into the fen in 1852. The column (believed to have been part of the Crystal Palace) was sunk till its top was level with the peat surface, but it now rises some four m above ground level.
The NNR contains the largest pure birch woodland in the country together with raised mire and heathland habitats.
Around 450 species of fungi are found in the woodland and mixed scrub on the site and these habitats also support birds such as siskin, redpoll, nightingale, blackcap and woodpecker.
Commercial peat cutting in the reserve has led to the creation of areas of open water that support birds, dragonflies and marsh plants such as golden dock. Other plants found at the site include climbing corydalis, twayblade, meadow rue and the fen wood-rush.
The reserve is immediately north of the B660 midway between the villages of Holme and Ramsey St Mary's (two km to the east and west respectively). The town of Yaxley is seven km to the north west and Peterborough is 12 km to the north.
By car, access to the reserve is via minor roads from the B660.
The nearest toilet and refreshment facilities are in local towns and villages.
There are footpaths across the reserve, and leaflets and signs are provided for visitor information. There is a hide over-looking Burnham's Mere, an area of open water in the north west of the reserve.