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Hopton Fen

A soggy slice of rare beauty, Hopton Fen is one of a string of valley fen sites that conjure up a wetland landscape that once dominated this part of Suffolk.

Located within walking distance of Market Weston Fen, the footpath into the reserve slopes gently into a world of waterlogged peat and bristling stands of saw sedge, reed and rushes.


Although protected from drainage by the Hopton Combined Charities, the lack of demand for fen products such as sedge and reed led to a slow scrubbing over that impacted on traditional plant communities.

But following woodland clearance and the introduction of grazing to restore and maintain an open fenland landscape, rare fen-dependent species have begun to reappear. In spring, look out for black bog rush, southern, marsh fragrant and early marsh orchid, adder’s tongue fern, twayblade and bogbean, while hemp agrimony and the azure blue Devil’s-bitscabious flower later in the season.

Shallow pools created by peat cutting were one of the richest fen environments and while there is no longer a demand for peat turfs for heating and cooking, the Trust is recreating the habitat by excavating new pools. These turf ponds have been rapidly colonised by fascinating species such as the insect-munching bladderwort and strange aquatic plants with ‘skeletons’, called stoneworts.

The reserve is a hotspot for birds too, with breeding nightingale, sedge and reed warbler and flocks of redwing in the autumn.

Hopton Fen trail map - click to view

Nearby nature reserves

Market Weston Fen
1 miles - Suffolk Wildlife Trust
Thelnetham Fen
2 miles - Suffolk Wildlife Trust
Knettishall Heath
2 miles - Suffolk Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

Reserve information

Location
Nethergate Street, Hopton
Diss
Suffolk
IP22 2QZ
Map reference
TL990796
Great for...
birdwatching
overwintering birds
spring flowers
Best time to visit
May - Sep
Get directions
Find out here
Public transport
Plan your journey
Opening Times
Open at all times
Size
15.00 hectares
Access
Yes

Walking information
Soft & wet. Avoid fen peat which has deep holes
Parking
Street parking in Hopton village
Dogs
Dogs must be on lead
Reserve manager
Richard Young
Tel: 01379 687618

Downloads

Factsheets and guides for your visit