A home to some of the UK’s rarest plants and animals is being restored thanks to a partnership led by Kent Wildlife Trust with the support of the Coca-Cola system and WWF.

A beautiful piece of ancient semi-natural fenland is gradually being restored to its former gloriously wild state. The fenland, home to some of the rarest species of plants and animals in the South East, is part of a unique partnership led by Kent Wildlife Trust with the support of the Coca-Cola system and WWF and a grant from The Coca-Cola Foundation.

The extinction of hundreds of species

Historically, Ham Fen was a part of 700 hectares of peat-rich valley fen. However due to drainage for intensive agriculture over the years, the fenland was reduced significantly. This contributed to the regional extinction of hundreds of species: most notably the rare fen orchid and marsh fritillary butterfly.

“By improving water quality and quantity across our project sites, we are laying the foundations for exploring the reintroduction of species previously lost, like the fen orchid and marsh fritillary butterfly.” —  Chloe Sadler, Kent Wildlife Trust’s Water for Wildlife Officer

Risk from pollution and water abstraction

The last remaining five hectares of fenland – an oasis of wilderness in the heart of some of the most intensive agriculture in Kent – continue to be under pressure and at risk from water abstraction and pollution from chemical fertilisers, herbicides and pesticides.

Safely replenishing 100% of the water we use

Supported by a partnership between WWF, The Rivers Trust and the Coca-Cola system (including Coca-Cola Great Britain and Coca-Cola European Partners), the project will contribute to The Coca-Cola Company’s ‘replenish’ promise to safely return the equivalent amount of water used in all our drinks and production to communities and nature.

Improving quality, quantity and availability

The Coca-Cola Company achieves this goal annually through supporting hundreds of conservation projects in thousands of communities around the globe that improve the quantity, quality and availability of fresh water in watersheds.

Helping rare species to thrive

Chloe Sadler, Kent Wildlife Trust’s Water for Wildlife Officer, says: “This funding has really paved the way for the continued restoration of rare fenland habitat both on our Ham Fen Reserve and, for the first time, in the wider landscape.

“By improving water quality and quantity across our project sites, we are not only enabling the raft of rare and restricted species already present to expand and thrive (such as great-fen sedge, greater tussock-sedge, bog pimpernel, bladderwort, water vole, water shrew, otter, Eurasian beaver, marsh warbler and reed bunting) but we are also laying the foundations for exploring the reintroduction of species previously lost, like the fen orchid and marsh fritillary butterfly.”

Other conservation groups supported by the partnership are:

  • Thames 21: who are creating a constructed wetland in Broomfield Park, North London, to improve urban water quality
  • South East Rivers Trust: who are tackling urban pollution in the Beverley Brook, South West London, through the installation of an innovative underground water treatment chamber

Find out more about our sustainability projects.