Mileham Fen
Conservation Project

This Information is published on behalf of Julian Cason, a trustee of the Mileham Charities.

Mileham Fen

Mileham Fen (aka Mileham Common) is an area of about 27 acres of mostly wet land to the south-west of the village accessed by a track (Marsh Lane) off the Litcham Road (See the map at the bottom of this page).  It was originally assigned to Trustees as part of the Enclosure Act for Mileham in 1812 as a 'Fuel Allotment' where the poor of the parish could cut turves.  It remains in the care of the Trustees of Mileham Charities.

It is part of the  River Nar SSSI¹ and in 2012 the Norfolk Wildlife Trust designated it as a County Wildlife Site and produced a comprehensive management plan for it.  This document describes it as 

"a mosaic fen site, dominated by tall reed and fen vegetation, with smaller areas of damp grassland, pockets of woodland and extensive patches of mature, sometimes dense scrub.  Below the reed, the vegetation is in places very diverse and of high quality."

In 2007 the Norfolk Flora Group surveyed the area identifying 126 species including several comparative rarities.  I have recorded over 50 species of birds which, because of the variety of habitats in a relatively small area, range from reed buntings and the occasional little egret to goldcrests, tree creepers and green woodpeckers.  The tree cover is similarly differentiated with willow and alder occupying wetter areas, oak and birch on the drier parts while blackthorn and bramble are the dominant scrub species. 

Volunteers Needed

I am one of the Trustees of Mileham Charities and am now in my second year of trying to implement the management plan for the site.  It is a daunting task.  Blackthorn, especially, requires regular cutting back or complete removal where it is encroaching into other valuable areas.  Reeds need cutting annually in order to maintain plant diversity.  A basic tenet of the management of such sites is that all cut material should be cleared.  This work cannot be done by machines and needs people to do it by hand.  You may have seen in the local 'Church and Village' magazine that a group of volunteers meet regularly to work on Litcham Common and it would be wonderful to establish a similar group for Mileham Fen.  

It would be great if you would be willing to become a Mileham Fen volunteer to help with the conservation tasks on our fen.  If you are interested please contact me using the button below or email me at


Photo of Damp grassland with hemp agrimony seed heads.

Damp grassland with hemp agrimony seed heads. Its flowers are loved by butterflies.

Photo of a part of the reed bed

A part of the reed bed 

Photo of cut reeds ready to be raked up and cleared

Cut reeds ready to be raked up and cleared

Photo of the fen bordered by birch, oak and willow

Wet fen bordered by birch, oak and willow

Photo of a flooded track through the reeds

A flooded track through the reeds.

Photo looking west across part of the fen

Looking west across part of the fen.

Photo of the fen with dense growth of sedge in the distance

A view of the fen with dense growth of sedge in the distance.

Some more background information about the fen can be found in the 2014 Norfolk Rivers Trust monitoring report.