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

 

Ouse Washes Mosaics on show

 

logosOver the past three months members of the public have been working alongside professional artists Carolyn Ash to produce three stunning mosaic murals depicting the Ouse Washes landscape. The murals will be installed at the three sites where they were created, Mepal Outdoor Centre, Denver Sluice and Welney Wetland Centre.

However, before the go off to their permanent homes there is a special chance to see all there together on Sunday 16th November from 10am to 3.30pm at WWT Welney Wetland Centre.

This will also be an opportunity to meet Carolyn, see a display of photos of the murals being created and to enjoy a host of activities being offered that weekend as part of the centre’s Festival of Swans.

 

The murals were created as part of the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership scheme, and funded by the Heritage Lottery. The scheme was established to raise awareness and encourage greater local engagement with the washes.

 

The mural project was managed by ADeC (Arts Development in East Cambridgeshire).  Nathan Jones of ADeC said:

“This has been the most wonderful project to be involved with. It has been a real privilege to work at the three sites and we have been delighted by the response of the local communities. Six different schools helped with the murals and they should be very proud of their contribution.”

 

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For the latest information on the mural projects and a range of images of the three stunning murals, see also https://www.facebook.com/OWLPCommunityMurals

 

WWI Centenary events in Littleport

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A range of events are happening soon in Littleport, all related to the commemorations surrounding the start of WWI, 100 years ago.

There is a dedicated Facebook page about all the things happening surrounding the  Littleport Centenary events: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Littleport-WW1/1385394928404885

 

First of all, on 1 and 2 November, The Littleport Field Theatre Group will perform its Heritage Lottery Funded community performances of Field of War.

Practitioners from The Field have been working with a mixed-age,  mixed-ability group of residents to create a WW1 centenary tribute in music, songs, poetry and drama. In addition we will be creating a wartime trench set, and we will be utilising archive footage from the Imperial War Museum.The performances are just one element of a series of commemorative events which have been funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Littleport Parish Council, and East Cambridgeshire District Council.

Tickets are free for performances at Littleport Village Hall, on Saturday 1 November, 7.30 pm; Sunday 2 November 2 pm & 7.30 pm (the producers would like to advise that the performance is not suitable for young children).

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On 15 November there is a Perspectives poetry competition prize giving event, at Littleport Village Hall, 6.30-8 pm – see leaflet below

Please join for a celebratory evening to congratulate the entrants who have written a selection of moving poems to commemorate the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War. Shortlisted candidates will be invited to read their poems. The prizes will be presented by the current Fenland Poet Laureate, Poppy Kleiser.

The Littleport Field Theatre Group are launching the anthology ‘Perspectives’ at this event. Perspectives is priced £3, and all proceeds from the sales will be divided between Help for Heroes and the Royal British Legion (Littleport Branch).

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Image: Littleport Field Theatre Group

 

People, Places and Pictures of the Fen Country

logosTwo Fenlanders,  “born and bred” ,Maureen Scott (Littleport on the Ouse) and Lorna Delanoy (Mepal on the Bedfords) have compiled two little books about the Cambridgeshire fens featuring words, stories and pictures which have been collected by them over the last half century.

‘Words Two’ – a book featuring interesting memories and history articles based on and the Isle of Ely came out recently; see also this recent news article:http://www.ely-news.co.uk/New-Isle-Ely-themed-book-local-charities-boost/story-22877506-detail/story.html

Copies at £4 each can be bought at Burrows Bookshop, Ely or direct by phoning 01353777691 with all profits to be given to East Anglian Children’s Hospice.

Extracts of the latest book, ‘Words Two’:

Poem 1

 

And an extract from ‘Words, Words & More Words’:

Poem 2

 

Tales of Washes, Wildfowl and Water

Volunteers needed

One of the projects of the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership is well underway and very keen to recruit more young volunteers to help make a short, animated film all about the creation of the Ouse Washes.

The details of who is eligible and how to get involved:Rosmini animation project A5flier jpeg

The film will be all about the archaeology, landscape heritage, natural heritage and the people who created the landscape and worked in the washes; it will lead those involved to explore the landscape heritage and how the Ouse Washes were created.

The Project

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The project is being run by the Fens Museum Partnership, in conjunction with a local volunteer community group linked to the Rosmini Centre in Wisbech. The volunteers involved in the project will shape the story and direction of the film, select the topics and then put the film together, thereby gaining a great sense of ownership over the project and final product.

Once the Ouse Washes Partnership scheme has completed its work, this film will continue to be used by various organisations, for example schools, youth clubs, libraries, local history groups and community groups, providing a concise story of the Ouse Washes to many more people and allowing them to learn about its heritage.

We will also promote the film at many of our partnership events, such as the Festival Fortnight during July 2015 and 2016, and other occasions when we showcase the Ouse Washes scheme to the public.

Previous films from the Fens Museum Partnership

To give you an idea of the wonderful films that are put together using this technique, follow this link to see some films that are part of a series of short, stop-frame animation Fenland Storiesfilms entitled Fenland Stories previously produced by The Fens Museum Partnership.

Once again, on this project, the film will be produced as a packaged DVD, allowing it to be widely distributed to the scheme partners, the Heritage Lottery Fund and other organisations. It will also be uploaded to the scheme’s website, social media and our YouTube channel.

How to Get Involved

If you are interested in getting involved in the project, please get in touch with Ruth Farnan at the Fens Museum Partnership directly on:

  • 07881 924374, or
  • ruth.farnan@Norfolk.gov.uk

Or you can contact the central team for the partnership using the details on our contact page.

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

Torn asunder – The Fenland Parish of Coveney

LogosThe Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership (OWLP) area is fully of fascinating local stories, the ‘hidden heritage’ of local community stories.

The following was kindly provided to me a while ago by Rev. Peter Taylor, who is Honorary Priest-in-charge of Coveney and Rural Dean of Ely; he represents the Diocese of Ely on the OWLP Board.

Coveney’s church

Coveney is typical of many fen edge and fen island parishes. The high ground of the island has provided the location for the main settlement and year-round agriculture, and which was combined with a hinterland of fen marshland.

The church was built on the highest point of the island. Originally a simple rectangular structure erected in first half of the 13th century, a porch and the first two stages of the tower were added during the following century. The tower was completed in the 15th century and no further significant changes took place for 400 years.

Coveney Church

The Church of St Peter ad Vincula, Coveney. Image reproduced with kind permission from Rev. Peter Taylor.

Manea was part of the Coveney parish

The fen hinterland extended some 5 miles northwards to include the low-lying island of Manea. Initially, this land was not reliably dry all year round, but did provide valuable summer grazing. Gradually, with lowering sea levels and some improvement in drainage, a small settlement became established.

Communication was straightforward. A waterway ran from the edge of Coveney island to Downham Hythe. From there, the Ox Lode crossed the fen to Manea before linking up with other waterways around Chatteris.

The ambitious drainage schemes of the 17th century cared nothing for such ancient water highways. The digging of the two Bedford Rivers severed the Ox Lode rendering it useless and cut the ancient parish of Coveney in half.

Revd Richard Taylor’s 1830 diary

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Revd. Richard Taylor. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Taylor_(missionary)

 Something of the inconvenience this caused can be gleaned from the journal of the Revd Richard Taylor who was Curate of Coveney in the 1830s. He records frequent journeys to minister to his parishioners in Manea which involved crossing the New Bedford river by boat, walking half a mile across the washes, crossing the Old Bedford river and then walking a further two miles to Manea.

 

 

 

 

Returning on one occasion late in the evening, he discovered the ferryman had gone to bed and spent almost an hour trying to raise him from the far bank. Then as now, the washes were frequently flooded and in February 1833 Taylor records taking a funeral in Manea and finding the water in the washes more than 3 feet deep at the shallowest point. That, together with the wind ‘rendered the passage very stormy’.

Going down under

Richard Taylor left Coveney in 1836 to go as a missionary to New Zealand where he was subsequently involved in drawing up the Treaty of Waitangi. To find out more about Richard Taylor’s involvement down under, see http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/biographies/1t22/taylor-richard

He had been a strong advocate for separate pastoral provision for the two halves of Coveney parish. Eventually, with the break up of the ancient manorial estates in 1883, Manea became a parish in its own right thus formalising the division which the Ouse Washes had created some two centuries earlier.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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