Reed Cutting in Norfolk

Reed Cutting in Norfolk

The Broads Reed and Sedge Cutters Association (Brasca) is nearing the end of a three-year project, funded with a £24,558 grant from The Prince’s Countryside Fund, to help younger reed cutters take courses to be able to work safely in quite a wild environment.

Part of the project was the publication of a training and instruction booklet offering guidance on harvesting techniques, the restoration of old reed beds, and how to maintain the beds to promote good reed growth.

The National Society of Master Thatchers has supported Brasca for many years and look forward to helping for years to come.

How much Water Reed is used in the UK? 

We have about 800 thatchers in the UK and around half of them use reeds. They will each thatch approx. 1200m² a year. Each square meter takes about 10 bundles of reed. This results in around 5 million bundles used each year. With the UK producing about 10 – 20%, the shortfall is imported from overseas where quality can vary.

There is a vast quantity of good quality reed here to be cut in the UK, and reed beds to bring back to life.

Sustainability – Making a living from the land.

The investment into reed cutting will help re-establish good marsh management and this in turn will ensure a healthy habitat for the diverse wildlife species, benefiting all involved from reed cutters, to thatchers, and visitors who come to enjoy the Broads’ fauna, flora and their associated activities.

It is important to have this holistic approach to life on the Broads. Without the cutters producing good quality reeds, thatching will be seriously affected and without thatchers there will be little need for cutters, these resources could become extinct and marsh management would again go into decline, habitats would be damaged and wildlife species will be lost.

It is fantastic that reed cutters are being recognised and training programmes are available which give their skills credit.

The Broads is a delicate ecosystem which, to keep it healthy, is reliant on the people who work there and care for it.

A sustainable industry will ensure there are skills and materials for the future of the Broads.