Newly planted reedbed at Fairburn Ings RSPB reserve

Humberhead Levels

Humberhead Levels

The Humberhead Levels is a naturally wet landscape where four of England’s major rivers meet, forming the Humber Estuary. 

Made up of arable farmland, rivers and a patchwork of wetlands, the Levels are home to cranes, bitterns and marsh harriers, as well as otters and water voles.

However, large areas of the Levels’ important wetlands have been lost to drainage schemes which keep the landscape dry for farming. This has resulted in isolated areas which are too small and disjointed for wildlife to thrive.

Working with various partners under the Humberhead Levels Partnership, we want to create and restore ribbons of wetland habitats extending along the rivers and streams, linking the major wetlands in the Derwent Ings, Aire Valley, Humber Estuary and Thorne and Hatfield Moors.

Improving this landscape for nature will also increase the wellbeing of local communities and provide new opportunities for local businesses. 

By restoring and creating wetlands we can reduce flood risk to property, helping farmers and wildlife in hot dry summers and lock up carbon dioxide, a gas known to contribute to climate change.


Explore the area

Find out what’s going on near this Futurescape, including places to visit, news and local events, plus how you can work or volunteer for us. 


European otter Lutra lutra, eating in sheltered spot, Norfolk, England, March

Nearby reserves

Reserves and other protected areas are a key part of Futurescapes. They provide core areas for nature to thrive and eventually repopulate the surrounding landscapes. The key RSPB reserves within this Futurescape are:

Blacktoft Sands

Come to Blacktoft Sands throughout the year and see how many of our 270 species of birds you can see! The tidal reedbed is the largest in England and is important for breeding bearded tits, bitterns and marsh harriers.

Fairburn Ings

With pond dipping, regular fun events and walks to help you get away from it all, RSPB Fairburn Ings is the ideal place for adults and children to discover more about the natural world. 

St Aidan's

St Aidan's is a perfect place to relax, unwind or exercise in a stress-free environment and get up close to nature. 

isitors at Fairburn Ings RSPB reserve, June 2008
Fairburn Ings, RSPB reserve

Our partners

Futurescapes is all about collaboration. There are many organisations and people involved in managing land in the Humberhead Levels. Our challenge is working together to find ways of making more space for nature. To achieve this we’re working with:

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