River Flood Plains
A river plain is situated in a lowland valley containing a river which can possibly regularly flood.
Reed beds can become naturally established on the edges of ponds, cut-off channels and in
seasonally wet, low lying areas within these lowland situations.
Reed beds will naturally establish on river banks where there is a low flow rate. These areas
may remain wet all year, particularly if the soil is retentive, (i.e. peat), or the area fed by a stream.
Low Lying Coastal Plains
Low lying these plains occur where the incursion of the sea has been prevented by the construction of sea defences, or by the construction of bunds creating an environment which frequently changes from fresh to brackish water on the landward side. Reeds will grow successfully in these hostile conditions.
Clay and Gravel Pits
These are harsh and incongruous with their surroundings. Vegetation will find a way to establish eventually, but the process can take a long time. Restoration
can be recommended to improve conditions. Reed can be established on margins. This will immediately improve biodiversity and make a contribution to the wildlife habitat. This will result in an increase in birds and invertebrates using the area.
Natural and Man Made Lakes
Reeds are often found naturally established along the margins of man made water bodies. The considerable benefit realised in these circumstances are both
practical and environmentally desirable. Reed with its strong root and rhizome systems is a very useful aid to reduction of erosion along the
banks of a river. Good habitats for Bittern, Bearded Tit, and Marsh Harriers along with many species of invertebrates.
Geographical Areas of Naturally Established and Occurring Reed Beds
Historically in the UK the area with the most extensive reed coverage was in the Fens of Eastern England. From the 17th Century extensive
areas of drainage systems have been undertaken to bring this extremely low lying area of England under arable cultivation. The result of this
is a steep decline in the reed bed areas.
Further accelerated after 1945 with a great intensity in the drainage works, which continued right up until the 1970’s. It is estimated that
Norfolk and Suffolk between them have in the region of 2500ha of reed beds, and nationally there are in the region of 6500ha from large naturally occurring areas to smaller sites of less than 1ha. The Inner Tay Estuary is a tidal area of reed bed over 400ha in size, and is one of the largest contiguous areas in the UK.
Other large areas, Leighton Moss RSPB Reserve Silverdale, Lancashire.