Over the past few months Mark, Peter and Anna and I have been out and about in the villages and parishes in or near the Ouse Washes Landscape area chatting to local residents. We have been asking them to describe how they use the countryside around them, tell us what they know of its heritage and let us know how they value their local landscape.
We are very grateful for the views and opinions of those we spoke to and will be using them to shape the programme going forward. I will post a full report later in the summer but thought you might be interested in some of the ideas people have shared with us and what we have been told around the area.
‘’Everyone knows it is there but not everyone knows what it does’’ Welney resident. We have found this to be true although its existence is not always recognised in the Market Towns we surveyed and those Parishes not directly adjacent to the Rivers.
‘’I think it’s magical when it floods down the Gault.’’ Sutton resident ”I never really think about where I live, I just drive through it’’ 19 year old Welney resident. Attitudes towards the landscape also seem to vary depending upon the age of the resident. We have found that older residents (50+) are more likely to understand the role of the Washes; will have been educated about it at school (if they were children in the area) and can generally talk knowledgeably about the environmental and historical heritage of the area.
‘’We need more points of interest marked and presented, with good information. These could be historical, environmental or businesses – for example, farm visits; links to people producing food, craft, art; cultural events; wildlife trails. We also need more circular footpaths, with information sheets.’’ Somersham resident. This comment covers a number of commonly voiced opinions i.e. the need for more information about what is available and circular walks. I did however like this response to the question ‘’’ What would encourage you to visit the Ouse Washes area more often? Answer: ‘’A good pair of legs.’’
The surveys are still open: The local resident survey (for those living near to the Washes) can be found at:
The market town survey for residents of March, Ely, Chatteris, Downham Market and St Ives is at: