The Little Ouse Headwaters project (LOHP) is a charity set up by local residents in 2002 to promote the conservation and enjoyment of the fenland habitats and landscapes of the upper valley of the Little Ouse.
Blo'Norton Fen, designated as an SSI
and managed by LOHP.
The rivers Little Ouse and Waveney both have their origins in the shallow valley which marks the historic boundary between the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk. This river corridor formerly held the most extensive area of valley fenland habitat in England, uniting the great wildernesses of Breckland and Broadland.
The river was canalised as early as the 18th Century but more radical changes to the the Little Ouse headwaters followed the Second World War, when over-deepening of the channel and land drainage led to drying-out and conversion to arable agriculture of much of the surrounding land. Small areas of fenland survived but their wildlife interest declined. Many factors contributed to this decline. These included the ending of traditional management practices such as peat digging and reed and sedge cutting, the lowering of water tables as a result of abstraction, a reduction in water quality as a result of agricultural pollution and the inability of many species to survive in such small, isolated patches of land. Today, despite these losses, pockets of land around the headwaters of the Little Ouse and Waveney still retain wildlife that is recognised as being of international importance.
The charity is run entirely by volunteers. Its trustees comprise nominees from the Parish Councils in the project area together with other local residents with particular knowledge and interests relevant to the project.