The new Ouse Washes LP Website is Live!!

Today is a very exciting day as we are finally able to share our new website with the world!

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Website screen capture home page 18 12 2014

Please pass on the message to others: www.ousewashes.org.uk

 

This website is intended to be a ‘one-stop shop’ for local people and visitors to explore the Ouse Washes Landscape:

  • Explore the Ouse Washes LP area’s tourist attractions, nature reserves and museums in more detail through our interactive Explore map;
  • Find out what’s going on in the area through our What’s on section;
  • Find out how you can get involved through our projects, events and our volunteering options in our Get Involved section
  • Find out what makes the Ouse Washes LP area special, by reading through our Discover section;
  • The Ouse News is our old WordPress blog incorporated in this new website – keep up to date of all new events, project development and information about the area though this newsreel
  • And a lot more – go on, find out for yourself!

 

Do let us know what you think about the new website – we want this to be useful for you, so please help us make things better – drop us a line through the Contact section.

 

Happy reading!

 

Press release: Press release_New website for Ouse Washes Landscape now live!

Denver Sluice Complex, one of the key hubs in the Ouse Washes Landscape area. Image: Kite Aerial Photography by Bill Blake Heritage Documentation

Denver Sluice Complex, one of the key hubs in the Ouse Washes Landscape area. Image: Kite Aerial Photography by Bill Blake Heritage Documentation

 

3D KAP: textured surface animation

Fantastic imagery from Bill Blake, taken by kite aerial photography, of one of the hidden gems of the OWLP area, the Civil War period Earith Bulwark

Billboyheritagesurvey's Blog

A quick fly around the model of the Civil War earthwork at Earith;

I added an artificial light source to enhance the shallow features.

Image quality has taken a tumble to get the animation quickly,

The real detail is captured in the imagery:

Sample -1This frame shows the denudation of the SE corner of the monument caused by winter flooding.

The video is prepared for discussion at the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership 2014 Conference: Conservation, Farming, Flooding: Our Natural Landscape?

All tickets are taken so I expect a busy time!

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New job with RSPB for Ouse Washes LP scheme – now open

logosFollowing from previous staffing posts created for the WWT, Green Light Trust and for the Rosmini Centre, a fourth position with the OWLP key partners is now made available through the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership scheme – with the RSPB, who is looking for a Community Engagement Officer.

This is an exciting opportunity to work closely with local farmers and conservation organisations, to help promote and enhance wildlife friendly farming in the Cambridgeshire Fens.

This position will be crucial to the delivery of the RSPB project within the OWLP scheme called ‘Wildlife Friendly Farming & Community Engagement’; the main aim, of this project is to bring wildlife-friendly farmers together in the vicinity of the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership area, to deliver an integrated community engagement programme designed to promote awareness of, learning about and on-going access to the area’s unique farm wildlife and archaeological heritage.

 

The post, which went live on Monday, is described as such:

We are looking for an enthusiastic and engaging person to grow our farm wildlife conservation efforts in the Cambridgeshire Fens, by increasing awareness, understanding and support for nature-friendly farming in the local community.

The RSPB has been successful in securing Heritage Lottery funding as part of the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership, to help local people reconnect with a rich natural and cultural farmland heritage.

You will work closely with local nature-friendly farmers to design and deliver a programme of events, talks and wildlife ID training for local residents, schools and farmers.

By encouraging people of all ages to engage with their landscape through farm walks and activities, you will build support for nature-friendly farming and local producers, and enable farmers to tell the story of their work and the benefits for wildlife, ensuring continued support in the future,

An excellent communicator, you will have demonstrable experience of organising public events, as well as in-depth knowledge of farm wildlife and the challenges it faces.

With an office base at Welches Dam, Manea, you will be expected to undertake regular travel in the local area and elsewhere within the Fens.

 

The closing date for applications is 20 October 2014.

For the full job details and finding out how to apply, go to http://www.rspb.org.uk/vacancies/details/383486-community-engagement-officer

local kids on a bug hunt on a wildlife-friendly farm

Families on a bug hunt on a wildlife-friendly farm. Image: copyright Niki Williamson / RSPB.

 

Invasives non-native species – how to ID and control

logosOn Friday, a packed room of participants came together in March to learn about identifying and controlling non-native invasive water plants.

This was a very good event, judging from the numerous positive responses heard by my colleague Abby and myself, both of us attending this event to up our own skills and to meet a range of stakeholders.

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Consultant botanist Jonathan Graham in July 2014 during fieldwork in local ditches near WWT Welney reserve as part of the OWLP’s ‘Ditch Management to the East of the Ouse Washes’ project; using his grappling hook to collect plant samples. Image: Cambridgeshire ACRE for OWLP.

This event was made possible through the Heritage Lottery Fund grant money for one of the 25 projects within the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership scheme, the ‘Ditch Management to the East of the Ouse Washes’ project. Following successful fieldwork carried out by Jonathan Graham (consultant botanist) and Martin Hammond (consultant aquatic invertebrate specialist), Jonathan Graham, together with Cliff Carson (Environmental Officer, Middle Level Commissioners) delivered this exiting training half-day event.

After an introduction about invasive species, and a differentiation between ‘non-native’ and ‘invasive’ species (‘invasives’ being ‘non-natives which have a tendency to spread and pose a threat to the environment and/or human health), we continued with an overview of the mist important invasive water plants to look out for.

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Packed room during Friday’s event; Cliff Carson, Middle Level Commissioners, setting the scene for the day. Image: Cambridgeshire ACRE for OWLP.

The top five ‘hazardous species’ (some of which are already wide-spread, some still only locally present) are [click on links to get to relevant description pages on www.nonnativespecies.org – note: click on ‘link to ID sheet’ for handy pdfs for each species]:

  1. Floating Pennywort
  2. New Zealand Pigmyweed
  3. Parrot’s Feather
  4. Floating & Water Primrose
  5. Water Fern

With examples on each table of these species, as well as native species with which they could be confused, we then all went to learn to identify these, with the help of several specialists walking around the room  (including both speakers as well as Charles Turner, Research Associate Quaternary Palaeoecology, for the Department of Geography at the University of Cambridge).

A range of very useful handouts also passed on the day; these include:

 

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Jonathan Graham helping with ID of specimens, both native and non-native invasive water plants. Image: Cambridgeshire ACRE for OWLP.

 

This workshop/ training event was a very practical approach to finding out what is there and how to identify the non-natives; plus guidance how to avoid mis-recording (e.g., some similar-looking rare fen specialist plants that could be confusing).

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A range of plant specimens and ID guides on each table during last week’s event. Image: Cambridgeshire ACRE for OWLP.

 

The event was attended by a wide range of people, including staff from Internal Drainage Boards, Middle Level Commissioners, Natural England, several conservation organisations as well as representatives of various local community groups. Some of the abundant positive feedback we received from participants:

“Good to have some training, much better than just looking at books or cards”

 ” It always opens your eyes when you are shown what to look out for!”

“Session invaluable, very useful to see plants up close”

” The various methods of control were compared, contrasted and explained”

“Excellent idea for promoting and sharing knowledge of invasive plants”

Related posts:

Time of day

Lovely images from Bill Blake of the Earith Civil War Bulwark – captured – through kite aerial photography – as part of the work he does for the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership scheme including for the Cambridge Archaeological Unit’s project to take place around this location in a month or so.

Billboyheritagesurvey's Blog

I’m shooting an earthwork monument for photogrammetry, and its taken months of patient work by the team at OWLP to get all the required consents, so as soon as I got the email from Natural England confirming permission and the cloud cleared, off I went, got there at 10am and flew for an hour.

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The results were disappointing, sure I got the cover, but this is a pale ghost of what I know to be there: most of the features I wanted to record were almost invisible. I returned on the same day at 6pm and tried to repeat the path. What a difference! Low light is much better than overhead. I knew this of course but had hoped the 10am shoot would have been just enough before noon to be effective. In August at this latitude it’s just not the case.

Time of day

Left:10am right 6pm

On the return that evening…

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Landscape Conservation Action Plan for the Ouse Washes LP area

LogosFollowing on from a previous post giving an overview of the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership’s 25 projects which the OWLP partnership aims to deliver between now and 2017, we can now also proudly present our Landscape Conservation Action Plan!

The Landscape Conservation Plan (or LCAP) is the Ouse Washes LP partnership’s main document that was sent to the Heritage Lottery Fund, together with other paperwork for our stage 2 grant submission, back in November 2013; in short, it contains:

  • A summary of the varied heritage of the OWLP landscape, explaining what is important and why;
  • An overview of the issues facing the landscape, its heritage and its communities, together with an outline of the opportunities to address these issues;
  • A detailed understanding of how the OWLP scheme will be addressing the needs of the landscape and communities, together with details of the projects it will carry out in order to do so and to meet the four LP programme outcomes;
  •  Details of how the OWLP scheme aims to provide lasting benefits for the landscape and its communities.

Download the LCAP here

The full Landscape Conservation Action Plan can be downloaded here (or from our Resources section):

The whole process of the LCAP could be summarised as such:

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Happy reading!

 

Related posts and pages:

 

Ouse Washes LP Projects: Our delivery schedule

LogosA little while back we have given an overview of the projects we are delivering as part of the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership scheme.

NEW: Project Timeline

We have now also created an overview of the expected outputs of all 25 projects within the OWLP scheme, showing what will be delivered during each of the coming 12 quarters, until March 2017.

This project timeline can be found in our Resources section and can also be downloaded here: Timeline OWLP Projects Overview_June 2014

 

Project Locations

The below map gives some indication as to where the various projects will be carried out. the green dots on the map, however, only show those projects which are very location-specific. Beyond these, some projects will be happening in a variety of places and have not been shown on this map. Nevertheless, it shows that we endeavour to deliver something in each part of the OWLP area, to ensure that everybody will have a chance to get involved in his exciting scheme.

OWLP Project locations

Locations where a selection of the 25 projects will be delivered, across the length and breadth of the OWLP landscape area. Map © Crown Copyright and database rights 2013 Cambridgeshire County Council Ordnance Survey License 100023205.

 

Projects & their Aims

The below project overviews each tell a slightly different story of what the OWLP partnership is trying to achieve over the next three years:

OWLP projects and HLF Programmes overview

The 25 OWLP projects against the HLF budget allocation and three delivery years of the scheme. Note: ‘A’ = Conservation work; ‘B’ = Community Participation; ‘C’ = Learning & Access promotion; ‘D’ = Skills training provision

 

  •  The 25 OWLP projects against our Strategic Aims and Objectives (click on table for better view):Capture 4
  • The 25 OWLP Projects against our five Themes (click on table for better view):
The 25 OWLP projects set against the four HLF programmes and the five main Themes for the scheme.

The 25 OWLP projects set against the four HLF programmes and the five main Themes for the scheme.

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What next?

All our project delivery partners are busy getting ready for delivery of their projects, with some projects already doing so. See this previous post for some of the things that can be expected over the next few months.

 

Related posts and pages:

 

New Resources added to download

LogosI recently gave a couple of presentations, which made me think that we are due an update of a presentation about the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership scheme for this blog.

So, please find in our Resources section a new PowerPoint presentation, explaining our scheme and what we are trying to do.

If you would like me, or one of my colleagues, to come over to your community group/parish council/organisation to give a presentation about the OWLP scheme, or if you would like us to have a stall at your community event this summer, by all means please contact me; thank you.

Thanks to @SuttonIsle for duplicating the PP presentation on Dropbox – it may be quicker to download it through this link: https://www.dropbox.com/s/kibdnbt7j8u5tp3/owlp-pp-presentation-may-2014_for-blog.pdf

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Workers from the Harrison family coppicing osier willows on Holt Island on the Great Ouse in St Ives. This was one of many locations up and down the river where willow was grown commercially for the basket-making business. J. Harrison & Son was founded by John Harrison in 1877. Image © Harrison family/Charlotte Jordan. Image kindly provided by Ian Jackson, St Ives Town Councillor.

Ouse Washes LP scheme Launched

LogosApril 2014 has finally arrived and the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership scheme has now officially been launched!

Tuesday night, representatives of the 26 key Partner organisations within the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership  came together for a celebratory event. This was held appropriately along the Ouse Washes itself at the base of the banks along the Old Bedford River. Under a beautiful and warm sky, partners shared experiences and further confirmed their excitement and willingness to cooperate to make the OWLP scheme a great success for the area and its local communities.

 

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Representatives from the key partners coming together near the Old Bedford.

 

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Projects will start very soon

Over the next few months, a whole range of projects will start delivering. Almost all of our 25 projects will already start in the next six months. To give you a flavour of what to expect this spring and summer from the Partnership:

  • Work will start on replacing and enhancing the signage and interpretation at RSPB Fen Drayton Lakes – Our ‘Giving Nature a Home at Fen Drayton Lakes’ project, led by the RSPB.
  • Two community archaeological digs will be coordinated this summer near Earith – Our ‘Digging Environment and Ouse Washes Community Archaeology’ project, led by Cambridge Archaeological Unit.
  • Outdoor murals will be created at Mepal Outdoor Centre, WWT Welney reserve and the Denver Sluice Complex – our ‘Ouse Community Heritage’ project, led by ADeC.
  • Work will start on new interpretation, a new wildlife film and changes to the Pond Room at WWT Welney Reserve – our ‘Great Ouse Wetland Engagement’ project, led by the WWT.
  • A Pond dipping platform will be installed at Manea Pit – Our Manea Community Conservation project, led by Manea Parish Council.
  • A Biodiversity survey will be carried out in the arable regions to the East of the Ouse Washes – Our ‘Ditch Management to the East of the Ouse Washes’ project, led by Cambridgeshire ACRE in close cooperation with the Fenland Ditch Group.
  • We will launch our ‘Community Heritage Fund’ scheme – this will provide community groups with the opportunity to apply for grants between £500 and £2,000 to carry out additional projects in local communities.
  • A community group will create an animated film about the creation of the Ouse Washes and its natural history – Our project ‘Tales of Washes, Wildfowl and Water’, led by Fens Museum Partnership.
  • Our ‘Community Warden Scheme’ will start providing accredited training for young people and adults in wetland management – to be delivered by Green Light Trust, in cooperation with other organisations including NACRO and MIND.
  • Volunteer will be trained up to undertake recording of migrant work experiences and research into historic migration – Our project ‘Migrant Links’, led by Rosmini Centre.
  • Our ‘Fen Folk, Legends and Heroes’ project aims to work with all parishes in the area to encourage local communities to research stories of the local people who have shaped the area’s development in fact and fiction – led by Cambridgeshire Association for Local History, together with Mike Petty
  • Our ‘Hidden Story Trails: Virtual Geocaching Trails’ project will also bring together local communities in order to encourage further physical and intellectual access to the Ouse washes LP area – led by Cambridgeshire County Council.

Some more information about these and the partnership’s other projects can be found in our OWLP synopsis document, downloadable from our Resources pages

How to get involved

As you can see from the above, selective, list of projects there will be something for everyone. For a large number of the above projects, we hope that local people will get involved to deliver the scheme, in the process learning more about the unique Ouse Washes heritage and obtaining new skills in the process.

We will keep you up-to-date of what’s going on and how you can get involved through this blog, our website (due to appear in July), our Twitter pages and through news articles in the local and regional media and in parish magazines. Hope to see you soon.

 

Related posts:

OWLP: Our Plans for Delivery

LogosLately many people have asked me what exactly the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership has planned.

I am conscious that, so far, we have not given lots of details of the delivery phase activity programme. Following a year of research and community consultations, we have, so far, made it clear what we are trying to achieve; have told you who are involved in the OWLP scheme; and who we aim to target with this scheme.

Now the HLF has granted the partnership the money to get the delivery phase going, it is time to reveal more of what exactly we are now going to do.

The OWLP Partnership projects

First of all, an overview of the 25 projects the partnership will deliver as part of the OWLP scheme (click on the image to enlarge):

Projects overview listAs most of the 25 projects planned between now and March 2017 will already start this spring or summer, I will regular get information out to alert people of the partnership’s developments and of opportunities to get involved.

Scheme Summary Document

To start with, we have created a document which summarises the OWLP scheme to date. This condenses all research reports commissioned and our stage 2 application (including its main report, the Landscape Conservation Action Plan) into a 29-page document. This also gives a quick overview of all 25 projects: who is doing what, with a short outline of the projects. Please find it here to download (PDF, 3.5 MB):

Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership scheme_March 2014

Let me know what you think. Do also contact me if you would like to know more about specific projects or would like to get involved.