Rich Soil Rich Heritage – Free Film

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Opportunities to view the 45 minute film called “Rich soil, rich heritage” all about the district and how it has been shaped by the many different people who have come here over the past 350 years.

Leaflet HLF

Enjoy!

 

RSPB Fen Drayton events coming soon

Welcome to the summer!

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Some edited highlights from the ‘RSPB Fen Drayton Events and Activities Summer 2014′ leaflet… download here: Fen Drayton Events 2014 leaflet

Leaflet front

Two events from the Summer programme in late July 2014

Sunday 27th July
Fen Drayton Lakes Family Activity Day, 10am – 4pm
Come and meet the RSPB team here at Fen Drayton Lakes and find out what we are doing to ‘give nature a home’.  Have a go at pond dipping, bug hunting, wildlife bingo or nature art, join one of our wildlife experts on a guided walk around the reserve or use one our wildlife explorer packs and head off on a self guided adventure. Watch a willow weaving demonstration and have a go.

Wednesday 30th July
Family wildlife wander, 10.15 am – 1 pm, adults £4, kids £2 (RSPB members half-price)
Join us for a relaxed walk enjoying the birds, wildlife and flora that Fen Drayton Lakes has to offer. This walk is aimed at families and is an ideal way to introduce the younger members of the family to the wonders of the natural world.

When are we open? Every day, from dawn till dusk!
We currently also have a fully accessible portable toilet in the main car park. The nearest public toilets are at the A14 service stations.

How to come and see us? Motorists can reach the car park (grid ref. TL342700) via the reserve entrance on the minor road between Swavesey and Fen Drayton – follow the brown road signs from either village.

The Cambridgeshire Guided Bus service has a request stop 250m from the car park. Buses run at 10 minute intervals Monday-Saturday, and at frequent intervals on Sundays, between St Ives and Cambridge.

We have cycle racks in Holywell Lake car park.

Every weekend and every Wednesday from 19th July to 21st September there will be staff and volunteers on site from 10am to 4pm. Self guided pond dipping and bug hunting kits are available as well as advice on what to see and where to go on the reserve. Activities will be available on other days please call 07739 921459 for details.
All events start from the main car park unless otherwise stated.

At this time of year the RSPB recommend insect repellent as some of our smaller creatures are hungry!

If you want to hear more from Pete Stroud (who volunteered with the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership last summer) who is summer warden at the RSPB’s Fen Drayton Lakes Reserve check out his latest blogpost

 

Summer placement volunteer started!

LogosHello, I am Lizzie Bannister and I am a new volunteer working for the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership on a summer placement, which is a great way to get back into the environmental sector and make use of what I learnt during my degrees in conservation studies. I enjoyed working hard on Wicken Fen National Nature Reserve and Hinchingbrooke Country Park in past summers so this office-based landscape project management work is a great progression for me.

I believe in working to promote and preserve our countryside for its many uses and as a valuable resource, so am interested in the many aspects like recreation, nature and agriculture associated with the landscape. Promoting the landscape, which I will also be doing on this placement, is important to me because through education and awareness-raising, principles can be properly upheld.

My background includes horses, farming and healthcare so I have understanding of different interests and needs involved. My research I did for my degrees also demonstrate the importance of natural cover and features that can moderate some climate change impacts on nature reserves and farmland, which also support other benefits like providing larger areas of vegetation for wildlife movement. I am thrilled to continue to work for a landscape that is local to me and with local communities, which will create a healthier place for its people and wildlife that can last into the future. I hope to gain work experience and to learn more, so I can continue to help improve and maintain places for us to live in and work with. I really appreciate the washes’ extensive grasslands with its opportunities and uses like flood storage and grazing, and interesting features that catch the eye and increase the value of land conservation.

Cattle at Mepal

Cattle grazing along the Washes at Mepal – image by Pete Johnstone for Cambridgeshire ACRE

Sutton 1

Flood water contained away from houses at Sutton Gault – image by Pete Johnstone for Cambridgeshire ACRE

Me and my Irish cob enjoy the farmland and its tracks, tree lines, copses, ditches and hedgerows where we see plenty of wildlife. One of our favourite rides is an old railway track that now serves as a byway lined by trees – see more about this in another blog! Travelling between towns and villages brings me to great views and features of the Fenland countryside and to appreciate its valuable food production role alongside the retained natural features that could be enhanced. I like to see and encourage use of these multifunctional lands and natural resourses by various people like cyclists, dog walkers and fishermen and many local businesses and activities that support the economy and society.

I actively work for the bigger picture of integrated, multi-beneficial and sustainable land uses that work with the wider landscape and enable wildlife to thrive and people to lead healthier lives, which I experience personally and understand academically.

Elvers Galore

markatousewasheslps:

Wonderful post reblogged here about the bumper numbers of elvers & eels getting back into the Ouse Washes area and surrounding waterways – what a great story:

Originally posted on Water Care Partnership:

An exceptionally early arrival of large numbers of elvers and eels has been recorded at the new Wiggenhall St Germans Pumping Station elver pass near Kings Lynn. After decades of very poor numbers of young eels returning from their breeding grounds in the Sargasso Sea, a significant improvement has been recorded in 2014 at many sites around the UK. At the new Wiggenhall St Germans Pumping Station, the second largest in Europe, an elver pass has been installed to allow the young eels to migrate into the waterways of the Middle Level catchment. The catchment covers 70,000 hectares of the Cambridgeshire and West Norfolk fens between the Nene Washes near Peterborough and the Ouse Washes from Earith to Downham Market.

The new St Germans Pumping Station near Wiggenhall St Germans, Kings Lynn. It is one of the largest pumping stations in Europe.          Photo Cliff Carson   ref. IMG_2394

The new St Germans Pumping Station near Wiggenhall St Germans, Kings Lynn. It is one of the largest pumping stations in Europe. Photo Cliff Carson ref. IMG_2394

At the beginning…

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His-story … her-story …. your-story ….our-story

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Great things have been happening in the old ironmonger’s shop JH Adams in the past few months. The shop has been transformed into Littleport’s one and only dedicated heritage centre. Much sloshing of buckets and frantic mopping, cleaning and dusting has been taking place.

Adams centre cleaning outside

Together with a great deal of paperwork and form filling behind the scenes (not nearly so much fun!).   Much of this work had to take place during filming for The Horseman’s Word, Heritage Lottery Funded film project. The old shop took another step back in time over the May Bank Holiday when it was transformed into an old saddlery shop for the cast and crew from the Field Theatre Group.

A Board of Trustees has been established to over see the formation of the Adams Heritage Centre Littleport into a CIO (Charitable Incorporated Organisation). Simply put, this means that the centre will become a community heritage organisation of, by and for, the community.  It is planned to open the centre open one day a week initially. As well as regularly changing displays and exhibitions highlighting the varied history and heritage of the town and fenland, we are hoping to get stuck in with our community engagement delivery.

As far as we are concerned it means everything. The centre and its contents will be available to all: whether you are a researcher, academic or serious historian, or if you simply want to come in and have a good old gossip! You are most welcome. We will be running family activity sessions.

These include:

# Family craft sessions (making toys and simple craft pieces with parents, grandparents and carers).
# Classic story sessions (for ages 5 to 7): curl up in our story corner and enjoy a selection of spellbinding classic tales from the golden age of children’s literature. Let Winnie the Pooh, Mary Poppins and Toad, Ratty and Mole do the talking.
# Reminiscence and memory sessions for older residents, including dementia sufferers.
# Laugh and learn.
All these good things will get underway … as soon as we have some tables and chairs (we’re working on that one).

And of course, these are just our ideas! We want to hear yours.

We are launching the centre with an open weekend 19 & 20 July, 10-4. We are looking forward to showing Littleport residents what we have achieved so far, and explaining our great plans for this lovely building.

On Sunday 20 July, a WW1 re-enactor will be at the centre all day. Great War Society member Neil Bignal will be talking to the public about the role of an ordinary soldier in the great war.

Adams Heritage Centre Littleport July 2014 open Weekend

We have already received numerous donations of articles from the community. Most poignantly, a memorial board dedicated to WW1 fallen soldiers from Burnt Chimney Drove, has been donated to the centre. The board was rescued on its way to a skip!
It is now in the centre for all to see.

A festival stand for Littleport’s WW1 commemorative events will be in the centre, as well as a wonderful scale model of the old shop created by Trevor Vincent. There will be plenty more to see … but we’re keeping a few things up our sleeves till then!

Best Wishes, Deb Curtis, Trustee, publicity officer, Facebook: Adams Heritage Centre Littleport for full updates and fresh news postings

Where are all the Cuckoos?

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The Cuckoo can still be heard across the Ouse Washes, however, all is not well with this iconic summer visitor. During the last twenty-five years we have lost almost three-quarters of the breeding population nationally.

cucko 008 e (Edmund Fellowes) (A)

Photo by Edmund Fellowes/ BTO of a Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus)

The decline has been greatest in England, with the Cuckoos in Scotland holding their own, or even increasing slightly in some areas, whilst those that breed in Wales are losing ground but not to the same extent as those in England.

We know quite a lot about Cuckoos whilst they are here in the UK once they leave the UK much of what they do is a mystery. Or, at least that was the case until scientists at the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) fitted tags to five birds in Norfolk in the spring of 2011.

The five birds were given names; two of them, Chris and Martin, after the BBC Springwatch presenters, Chris Packham and Martin Hughes-Games. They both set off, Chris in mid-June, and Martin at the end of June, which at the time surprised BTO scientists as it was thought that they might head off towards the end of August.  Both headed south through Italy, across the Mediterranean and the Sahara Desert spend the winter in the Congo Rainforest – prior to this the winter location was a complete mystery.

In February 2012, both birds started to head north but instead of taking a straight line 5,000 mile journey back to Norfolk, they headed into West Africa before crossing the Sahara once again -  effectively adding another 2,000 miles to their journey. From here they made their way back to the UK but Martin only made it as far as south east Spain, where he ran into an unseasonal hail storm and didn’t make it any further. Chris, however, made it all the way back to Norfolk.  Chris is currently still on the Norfolk/Suffolk border, where he has spent the last four summers but could leave for the Congo Rainforest any day now. He is the only bird remaining from the first five that were tagged in 2011. He has been joined this year by birds from Sherwood Forest, the New Forest, Sussex and Dartmoor, and the BTO are currently following 23 Cuckoos as they make their way south.

Cuckoo with tag

Photo by Phil Atkinson/ BTO of a tagged Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus)

As I write this, Thursday 3 July, only four birds remain in the UK, including Chris. The others are spread across Europe, with birds in France, Spain, Italy and Bosnia-Herzogovina. Not all of them will make it safely to the winter quarters in Africa, the crossing of the Sahara desert is particularly tough, but everyone can follow them online as their journeys unfold by visiting www.bto.org/cuckoos

* This is the first of a series of guest blogposts by Paul Stancliffe of the

British Trust for Ornithology (BTO)

 

Riverside Walk and Talk

markatousewasheslps:

Reblogged this on the Ouse Washes: The Heart of the Fens blog

Originally posted on Water Care Partnership:

The Water Care Partnership will be hosting some ‘Riverside Walk and Talks’ during September. To start with, there will be three events:

Welney – 14/9 AM

Denver – 20/9 AM

March – 20/9 PM

Depending on the success of these events more may be available at a later date.

The walk will be a gentle stroll of approximately 2 miles. It will give you the chance to enjoy your local river and we will also be discussing some the issues that rivers in general face. We will then discuss some of the more specific problems that are facing Fenland rivers and why these rivers are so important to us.

After the walk some light refreshments will be provided and this is an opportunity for you to highlight any issues that you might be aware of and find out ways that you can help protect your local water environment.

If you…

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