Ouse Washes IPA
Location: The IPA spans the Cambridgeshire/Norfolk border, between Earith and Downham Market.
Grid Reference: TL 496 891
The Ouse Washes is a very large, 17th Century flood control structure designed to contain flood waters coming down the
Over the years the Washes have also provided high quality summer grazing for cattle and sheep and have developed into an internationally important wildlife site. The site is one of the country’s few remaining areas of extensive washland habitat. It is of particular note for, for the large area of unimproved neutral grassland communities which it holds and for the richness of the aquatic flora within the associated watercourse.
Plants you could see
The grassland communities of the area are characterised by such grasses as reed and floating sweet-grass Glyceria maxima and G.fluitans, reed canary-grass Phalaris arundinacea, marsh foxtail Alopecurus geniculatus together with a variety of sedges and rushes. Typical herbs include amphibious bistort Polygonum amphibium, water-pepper Polygonium hydropiper and tubular water-dropwort Oenanthe fistulosa.
More than 40% of the UK's aquatic plant species (over 260) are found here including Mousetail Myosurus minimus , Flowering Rush Butomus umbellatus, Whorled Water Milfoil Myriophyllum verticillatum, Marsh Woundwort Stachys palustris, Great Willow herb Epilobium hirsutum, fringed water-lily Nymphoides peltata, greater water-parsnip Sium latifolium and the four species of duckweeds Lemna spp.
The limnological interest of the Ouse Washes is further diversified by the
Image: Stockdales pool, Ouse Washes © RSPB