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

logos

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.

Advertisements

Celebrating 90 years of community action in Cambridgeshire

LogosPlease find below an open invitation to Cambridgeshire ACRE’s celebration of 90 years of community action in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough’s rural communities. We would like you to join us for a special event that will connect the achievements of the past with the rural communities of today.

Cambridgeshire ACRE’s archives paint a unique picture of social and economic change over the last 90 years. They are not just a history of the work of the Rural Community Council but also a rich history of people living, working and surviving in rural communities. They tell the story of key events, activities and decisions that have had an effect on people’s lives. They record the development and need for voluntary effort and the reasons for the establishment of many other voluntary organisations that still serve communities today.

Weston Colville Reading Room

Weston Colville Reading Room – the first village hall built with assistance from Cambridgeshire ACRE (Cambridgeshire Rural Community Council as was then) in 1925/26 and still in use today!

This celebratory event will give opportunity to learn about joint histories and to reflect on current community endeavours from a new perspective:

Tuesday 23 September 2014, 4.00pm onwards

Location: The Manor Barn, Washpit Lane, Harlton, Cambridge, CB23 1EY

There will be an opportunity to view the organisation’s fascinating archives and hear a talk by Mike Petty MBE looking back on Cambridgeshire Rural Community Council’s history since 1924. At the event, we will also be holding our 2014 Annual General Meeting.

You are welcome to join us at any point between 4.00pm and 6.00pm to see the exhibitions and talk to our staff; after 6PM the formal part of the event starts, including a short AGM and Mike Petty’s talk.

 

To book your place(s) for this free event, please visit: http://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/90years

This event is proving popular, so there are now only limited numbers of spaces left, so book quickly to avoid disappointment – please note that the booking closes at 12 September. If you have any queries, please contact Alison Brown on 01353 865029.

 Invitation and Programme CACRE AGM 23 sep 2014

 

Capture

 

Trot on back to the Past this Weekend!

Heritage and Horses blog... Family shop to five minute of fame

Heritage and Horses blog… Family shop to five minute of fame – Sourced from Deborah Curtis of the Field Theatre Group

Littleport’s famous ironmongery shop – J H Adams – that had been unchanged since and restored to its 19th century state as a Heritage Lottery funded project is opening its doors again on Saturday 23 August from 10 am till 4pm.

The real Adams family is a welcoming bunch!

The real Adams family is a welcoming bunch! Sourced from J H Adams Heritage Centre

This Family Adams Project is a time capsule that documents the fascinating paraphernalia of the local shop and lives in Littleport and the Fens by displaying the items that were for sale to the shop ledgers used as well as the photographs and objects of the related past – including that of the horse, which played an important role back then. The J H Adams Heritage Centre of Main Street will be holding a second-hand book fair to raise its funds. Come and support it by having a browse through the fine selection of good quality books while enjoying teas and coffees with them! While there, you can see the paraphernalia, photographs and information of these beasts that tolled on the land and streets for man throughout the Fenland during the centuries. The shop was transformed into an old saddler’s shop that bustled with actors and a film crew back in April to create a community film about them.

logos

Film crew happily involved with the Horseman's Word

Film crew happily involved with the Horseman’s Word – sourced from Deborah Curtis of The Field Theatre Group

The Horseman’s Word is another recently finished but still continuing Heritage Lottery-Funded project ran by the Field Theatre Group, a community learning, inclusive and engagement organisation based in Littleport that combine performing arts with Fenland heritage and culture.

Under ADeC and in partnership with the Wisbech, Fenland and Ely museums, the Field Theatre Group got together film makers, researchers and experts to work on a good outcome of increased interest in the true stories about heavy horses from a previous Common Ground project that gathered and taught expression of local stories in sessions and workshops. People were invited to talk to horse experts and give in historical materials like memories and photographs in workshops. A travelling museum exhibition, an on-line archive, a history field day with a local primary school, a documentary DVD and drama workshops has been coming out of it all.

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire had aired an interview about this fascinating project on June 3rd last year, and the BBC took further interest in the heritage of the heavy horses lately. BBC Look East aired their filming of the Field Theatre Group’s filming on location for a production that includes/on heavy horses on the 6pm show on Tuesday 5th August this year, and the director, Deborah Curtis was interviewed by Kevin Burke about their activity and great work. The project has grew successfully from a previous one into its glamorous conclusions of being on BBC television air time, other location shoots like near Colchester earlier this month and promoting the learning, talents and skills of the local stars from Littleport.

The BBC film crew working with the heavy horses

The BBC film crew working with the heavy horses – sourced by Deborah Curtis of The Field Theatre Group

Related Posts:

Have a meander along your river

Do you live in or near Welney, Denver, March or Ely? They have something in common… Can you guess what they all have? Rivers! They all have their own character and issues. Would you like to enjoy and learn about your local Fenland rivers?

Logos

This is a chance to enjoy a lovely, informative and sociable walk along some of our local rivers whilst discussing and gaining an understanding of issues and impacts upon these and other Fenland rivers and on the Ouse Washes. It will be a laid-back endeavour with stops to view the scenery and features, or to chat and take photographs.

The Ouse Washes

The Ouse Washes. Image by Bill Blake Heritage Documentation, all rights reserved.

A partnership (The Water Care Partnership) is working to investigate and work towards solutions for the problems these rivers face and which have been pointed out by the Environment Agency. This is where you and your ideas and involvement comes in! It is important to consider local communities’ perspectives and skills in the care and management of these valuable natural resources.

Everyone and anyone are welcome on these ‘Riverside Walks and Talks’ however the walks may not be suitable for some people like wheelchair users. Light refreshments will be provided and you can find out how to get involved with protecting your local environment.

There are four walks around the area, all of which will be approximately 2 miles and may take up to 2.5 hours.

Welney – Sunday 14th September 10am

“A catchment based approach to the Old Bedford and Middle Level catchment”

River at Welney

River Delph at Welney

Riverside Walk and Talk Invitation – Welney

Ely – Sunday 14th September 2pm

“Our part in the bigger picture”

River at Ely

River Great Ouse at Ely

Riverside Walk and Talk Invitation – Ely

Denver – Saturday 20th September 10am

“A catchment based approach to the Old Bedford and Middle Level catchment”

River at Denver

The Tidal River and New Bedford River at Denver

Riverside Walk and Talk Invitation – Denver

March – Saturday 20th September 2pm

“A catchment based approach to the Old Bedford and Middle Level catchment”

River at March

River Nene at March

Riverside Walk and Talk Invitation – March

Bookings are now being taken for the Riverside Walk and Talk events hosted by Cambridgeshire ACRE for the Water Care Partnership. Places are limited and so to book your place(s), please visit: www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/walkandtalk. For more information on the work of the Water Care Partnership please visit www.watercarepartnership.wordpress.com. If you have any questions regarding any of the walks, please contact Jennie Thomas (Jennifer.thomas@cambsacre.org.uk or 01353 865044).

Dismantled railway line turned into great bridleway near March

 

In Logosmy introductory blog posted on the 18th July 2014, I mentioned a favourite ride on the old railway line that was taken out and transformed into a fabulous and popular public right of way.

Enjoying the old railway track

Enjoying the old railway track

The path is just outside March, which lies just outside the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership area but is near Manea and within the wider Fenland area, and is therefore typical of the local tourism, recreational and countryside scene.

This dismantled railway line used to run from Chatteris, through Wimblington – which had its station that is now demolished – to March on the line from London to Kings Lynn, it ran from 1879 to the 1990s: http://www.disused-stations.org.uk/w/wimblington/

The railway track was always important and regularly used by passengers and freight until the numbers of trains dwindled and the track then persisted as a diversion route. The A141 bypass now follows the line to the south to Chatteris and bypasses Wimblington and Doddington. There are quite a lot of railway lines in East Anglia that have fallen out of use and become public rights of ways or have been preserved as historic artefacts – there’s a disused railway line at Somersham Nature Reserve, where there is also a lake following gravel extraction for the railway. You can read more about it here.

The railway line ride is part of Woodman’s Way and legally a footpath but it is signed as a permissive bridleway, which means the land owner has given permission for it to be used as a bridleway but this permission can be withdrawn at any time. It is a 2 mile ride to Wimblington from March.

The signpost and surrounding landsacpe

The signpost and surrounding landscape

A map of the circular route is in the Cambridgeshire County Council’s leaflet, which has other information about the area, including historical facts. Visit this link.

I usually go down the railway line as part of a circular route that includes carefully crossing the A141 Isle of Ely bypass to and from Wimblington and most of the route shown in the leaflet – I can only go down Knight End Road on my pony! – but occasionally I go one way then back, sometimes both at fast paces! I usually pass several other users so I am always careful. At the March end, it is accessible by a rough byway track that also continues onto the farmland. The choice is nice but I often do take the railway line because it offers a nice canter and interesting ride that is rich with butterflies and birds and has a verge of wildflowers, shrubs and grasses with the trees either side.

Mysterious and green way!

Many species of trees line the path and partly obscure the views of open arable land and a horse pasture. The trees are typical of the higher and drier areas of fenland (e.g hawthorn, willow and oak) on the clay hills of March, Wimblington and Doddington and represent the wildwood that surrounded the area inbetween deforestation and raised water levels over the last few thousands years. The varying types of trees of similar heights make the ride spectacular and fun – you would have to duck under some branches and ride along many features and shapes of trees. The ground is in good condition most of the way with little grass and became rough with trampling, wear and wet in a few places so good footwear is recommended. Some of the ground has been covered with bark surface by the community service to improve the surface enjoyed by riders, cyclists and walkers.

Other related posts on nearby circular walks:

Mepal

Manea

Other circular walks in the area (near Wimblington):

Doddington

Crowd Funding the Environment

Heritage Lottery Fund[This is a guest blog post by Pete Johnstone]

It is always pleasing but rare these days to see new funding opportunities to support environmental and community improvements come into being. Many grants schemes have either disappeared, have been cut back, or if they do survive are often heavily oversubscribed by potential applicants. Or perhaps worse still the grant funds that do exist don’t actually fit what you want to raise money for in the first place.

Well, all is not lost, crowd funding is the new kid on the block and a phenomena that deserves further investigation. Crowd funding is essentially online fundraising, with its roots in the United States, it has over the past few years typically supported a whole range of start-up businesses and one of projects such as in film, music and art.

Crowd funding is now big business, with crowd funding platforms having raised $2.7 billion in 2012 (Massolution 2013) and a prediction that this will rise to $5.1bn in 2013. In the UK, a recent report by NESTA estimates that crowd funding spending will rise to £14bn by 2016. The motivation for people investing in crowd funded projects varies greatly, from purely financial motives through to a desire to support a local issue of concern. Here the return on investment is more social or environmental based rather than in the form of money.

So what has this got to do with the Ouse Washes and the recently created Landscape Partnership Scheme Over the next few years as the project gets underway we will expect to see a greater coordination of activities between national and local bodies involved with this distinctive landscape, greater community participation and a host of practical improvements based around the heritage of this part of the Fens.

All these expected improvements and community interest will be good for the area but can we not build on this foundation and add another source of potential funding through crowd funding?

What is put up for crowd funding will largely depend on what is required and what is likely to receive public support. It could be a school nature garden, village playground improvements, access or environmental conservation work associated with the bird reserves. Of course as with any fund raising initiative there is no guarantee of success. Certainly once you have started fund raising for your chosen project there is hard work to come to bring it to people’s attention but nothing ventured nothing gained as the saying goes!

Spacehive is the UK’s first crowd funding platform for civic spaces and since launching a year ago has crowd funded a £1m of projects across the UK, empowering communities to transform their civic environment for the better. Although these projects have largely been town or city based there is potential to bring crowd funding to rural areas such as the Ouse Washes.

So is there any interest in setting up an initiative to crowd fund for improvements in Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership area? If there is we would like to hear from you.

Flying swans

Flying swans – an iconic Ouse Washes species. Image by Pete Johnstone; all rights reserved.

Pete Johnstone runs PJ.elements his own Cambridgeshire based environmental business. He is an adviser to 2020VISION, the multimedia nature conservation initiative run by the Wild Media Foundation, adviser to Spacehive and has worked on a number of Landscape Partnership Schemes in East Anglia.

Would you also like to have a guest post on the Ouse Washes LP blog? Feel free to contact me to discuss your ideas.

Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership successful in first stage bid to HLF

Cambridgeshire ACRE has received an earmarked first-round pass of £995,600 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) through its Landscape Partnership (LP) programme for the Ouse Washes area, it was announced today. The Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership aims to work with a wide range of partners to improve community interaction and participation to maintain the areas inherent beauty, natural and built heritage assets and international importance so that it is safeguarded for the future.

Development funding of £90,500 is included in this amount to help Cambridgeshire ACRE progress their plans to apply for the full grant at a later date.

The Landscape Partnership will undertake conservation work on the assets of the area; tell the story of the history of the landscape and how it has been managed; encourage local people to get involved in managing the area today; encourage visitors and local people to learn about and appreciate the landscape; and improve the skills of local people by providing volunteering opportunities and work placements.

The Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership area stretches 48.5km between Fen Drayton Lakes and Downham Market. The main features include the Old and the New Bedford Rivers, and the area of wet grassland 20 miles (32 km) long between them. This washland is internationally important for the large populations of birds which feed on it in winter. The area includes the well-established Welney and Ouse Fen nature reserves, and newer reserves such as Fen Drayton Lakes. The rural communities within the area have a rich archaeological and industrial heritage. The history associated with the land drainage: riots, disputes, disasters and engineering successes are unique to this area.

Kirsten Bennett from Cambridgeshire ACRE said:

We’re delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has given us this support. The Ouse Washes may not be ‘pretty’ in a picture-postcard sense but they have a unique charm of their own. Their cultural and built heritage needs to be celebrated and understood, both by those who live and work here and those who come to visit the area. This funding will allow us to work with local people and organisations to make this happen. As the Rural Community Council for Cambridgeshire, we feel privileged to be leading the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership.

Explaining the importance of HLF’s support, Robyn Llewellyn, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund East of England, said:

The Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership is designed to help protect and celebrate a wonderful and distinctive part of East Anglia. This landscape is very much shaped by water flow – sometimes not enough and at the moment a little too much! With the Heritage Lottery Fund’s initial support the scheme can start developing work to promote the area as a tourist destination whilst also encouraging local communities to learn more about its history and how best to conserve and manage it for the future.