Arger Fen is a popular 110-hectare site managed by Suffolk Wildlife Trust. The reserve comprises of lowland fens, grassland and both ancient and new naturally regenerating woodland.
What am I looking at?
This view captures seasonal changes as well as the growth of Hullback’s Grove – a ash-dominated woodland being left to develop naturally with minimal intervention.
Site areas of Hullback’s Grove, Pecks Piece and Kingsland are former arable fields that are being allowed to develop into a mosaic of woodland, grassland and scrub. This is the largest habitat creation scheme yet undertaken by Suffolk Wildlife Trust
What lives here?
Many elusive mammals such as hazel dormice and barbastelle bats enjoy the mix of woodland and damp valley habitats at Arger Fen.
Woodland birds such as black cap, white throat and willow warbler can also been seen and heard amongst the trees, alongside numerous butterfly species including speckled wood, meadow brown, orange tip, holly blue and comma.
In 2016, Hullback’s Grove was chosen by a collaboration of European research institutes as a site to study the spread of the chalara – or ash dieback – disease.
Researchers found that 51% of ash trees surveys showed symptoms of the disease, which spread more rapidly at exposed forest edges and semi-open patches, which are more susceptible to air-born infections like dieback.
Researchers concluded that greater structural and species diversity, like in a natural forest, limits the spread chalara’s air-born spores. This important study has helped progress scientific understanding of the ash dieback and will likely influence broadleaf woodland management practices across Europe in years to come.
Walks and more
The labyrinth of woodland trails around this reserve is enough entertain enthusiastic walkers, but if you want to explore further afield, the historic villages of Lavenheath are well-connected via public footpaths from Arger Fen. You can find out more about walking in Lavenheath via our walking guide.