Impressions of the Ouse Washes LP conference

 

logosWe had a fantastic day last week in the Corn Exchange in St Ives. This excellent venue was the scene for the first annual conference for the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership scheme. With a range of speakers, 112 attendees – representing over 64 organisations – and 20 exhibitors on the day we were off to a good start.

This conference, ‘Conservation, Farming, Flooding: our Natural Landscape?’ – the first in a series of three taking place annually – explored the natural landscape of the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership area. The conference aimed to provide attendees with an overview of future management challenges including issues around biodiversity value, wetland habitat creation, farming challenges, water management and flood relief.

DSC_4849

Full house in the St Ives Corn Exchange. Image: NorthLight Media, for OWLP

A range of speakers from several key organisations (Natural England; RSPB; National Farmers’ Union; Environment Agency; and a consultant botanist who has carried out work for the OWLP scheme) provided for a rounded view of the central theme of the day.

This was followed by lively discussions focusing on the question which priorities  Ouse Washes Partnership need to set for this important landscape to ensure a sustainable future for this landscape. By bringing together local people and a range of partner organisations with a range of land-use interests we have encouraged stimulating debate and helped promote a wider appreciation and understanding of the challenges of living and working in this ever-changing landscape.

DSCN0086

Impression of conference. Image: Cambridgeshire ACRE

We have had a lot of good feedback, with the vast majority of people I have spoken to or received feedback from finding the day very enjoyable, highly informative, great for networking opportunities and with lots of food for thought as a result of stimulating round table discussions. In addition, there were 20 informative exhibitions from a range of organisations involved or associated with the partnership, great food, and an excellent walk to the nearby Holt island Nature Reserve at the end of the day.

Below are some images of the conference. If anyone, whether you attended or not, has any further questions, do drop me a line. Later down the line there will also be a report summarising the discussions on the day, and a short film will also be produced by NorthLight Media who took photographs and videos throughout the day – watch this space for further updates.

The results of the conference will feed into the ongoing legacy planning work of the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership, with the recommendations and ideas generated helping the partnership’s work tremendously. Thank you all for your input!

 

Related posts and pages:

 

 

DSC_4844

The Mayor of St Ives starting the day. Image: NorthLight Media, for OWLP

 

DSC_4846

John Heading, farmer and IDB Chair, and OWLP Board member, Chairing the day. Image: NorthLight Media, for OWLP

 

 

 

 

 

 

DSC_4850

Alastair Burn, Natural England, setting the scene for the day, talking about the wetland vision for the Fens. Image: NorthLight Media, for OWLP

DSC_4854

Jonathan Graham, Consultant Botanist, providing data of new research on the biodiversity value of the fenland ditches in the OWLP area. Image: NorthLight Media, for OWLP

DSCN0101

Jonathan Graham, explaining the biodiversity value of the Fen ditches in the OWLP area. Image: Cambridgeshire ACRE

 

DSC_4855

Chris Hudson, RSPB, giving an understanding of the Ouse Fen nature reserve developments. Image: NorthLight Media, for OWLP

DSC_4861

Rob Wise, National Farmers’ Union, giving an overview of the Fen farmers’ challenges and opportunities. Image: NorthLight Media, for OWLP

DSC_4864

Peter Doktor, Environment Agency, explaining the reasons for the new habitat creation schemes next to the Ouse Washes. Image: NorthLight Media, for OWLP

DSCN0116

Peter Doktor, Environment Agency. Image: Cambridgeshire ACRE

_MG_1665

Round table discussions. Image: Bill Blake Heritage Documentation.

_MG_1688

Round table discussions. Image: Bill Blake Heritage Documentation.

DSC_4872

Round table discussions. Image: NorthLight Media, for OWLP.

DSC_4880

Round table discussions. Image: NorthLight Media, for OWLP.

DSC_4885

Round table discussions. Image: NorthLight Media, for OWLP.

DSC_4898

Round table discussions. Image: NorthLight Media, for OWLP.

DSC_4901

Round table discussions. Image: NorthLight Media, for OWLP.

DSC_4911

Round table discussions. Image: NorthLight Media, for OWLP.

DSCN0109

ADeC’s display of the three newly created murals. Image: Cambridgeshire ACRE

P1000974

ADeC’s display of the three newly created murals. Image: Cambridgeshire ACRE

DSCN0079

RSPB and Jonathan Graham’s displays. Image: Cambridgeshire ACRE

DSCN0106

Various displays in Corn Exchange. Image: Cambridgeshire ACRE

DSCN0078

ACE’s display. Image: Cambridgeshire ACRE

DSCN0072

Bill Blake’s display of KAP imagery. Image: Cambridgeshire ACRE

DSCN0065

Athene Communication’s display of the results of the ‘Opening up the Ouse Washes to All’ workshops.Image: Cambridgeshire ACRE

DSCN0066

Barn Owl Conservation Network’s display. Image: Cambridgeshire ACRE

DSCN0061

East Anglian Waterways Association’s display. Image: Cambridgeshire ACRE

DSCN0068

Green Light Trust’s display. Image: Cambridgeshire ACRE

DSCN0080

Fens Museum Partnership’s brand new animated film about the Ouse Washes. Image: Cambridgeshire ACRE

Capture

Guided walk on nearby Holt Island Nature Reserve, led by Ian Jackson. image: @TheBrecksBNG

 

Advertisements

Ouse Washes LP Conference: a great success

Heritage Lottery FundLast week Thursday the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership (OWLP) scheme held its first and long-awaited conference. This event was very well attended: with over 60 people we filled up The Maltings in Ely and had some very lively discussions going.

I would, first of all, like to thank everybody who attended. The good number and mixture of representatives from a wide range of local authorities, agencies, charities and community groups and other organisations meant that the two workshops held were very productive.

The two main presentations – by Kate Collins (Sheils Flynn) presenting the results of the Landscape Character Assessment for the area, and Rachael Brown (Cambridgeshire ACRE) those of the Audience & Access Planning work done – were also very well received, judging by the comments made on the day.

20130905_093530

Conference 5 September 2013: ‘Finding Character and Audiences’

Good feedback given

Cambridgeshire ACRE has been able to organise this event thanks to the excellent help before and during the day given by our four summer placement volunteers (Peter, Anna, Jessica and Chris). The overall impression left by the participants in the feedback forms was that they found this event useful and informative; see e.g. the below graph (where 1 means poor and 5 means excellent):

Picture for blog conference

Some quotes from the audience:

Really well structured and organised event. Excellent balance between presentations; thank you.

The presentations gave an excellent base for the workshops to explore. Good networking and sharing ideas.

Interesting presentations. Fascinating interactions round the table, much better than just being talked to. Everyone here has different interest /views

Useful information coming out of the day

We are currently going through the mountain of information written down during the workshops, as comments left on the feedback sheets, display comments sheets or on the logo voting sheets. Although all information will also be collated in a report later this month, to give you a bit of an understanding of what has come out of the conference, below are a few bite-sized bits of information:

* Some key barriers to access were identified: most people agreed that the following barriers to access, engagement and learning should be the primary barriers to be addressed through the OWLP scheme:

  • Limited provision of information about the landscape and its heritage;
  • Lack of coherent tourism promotion;
  • Lack of sufficient and varied tourism attractions & amenities in the area;
  • Limited public access points to the landscape.

* The workshops also highlighted some additional barriers, in particular:

  • Barriers for water recreation is limited throughout the area (e.g., access to water; slipways);
  • There are some linear walking and cycling routes, but people prefer and have a clear need for more circular routes close to their settlements;
  • Need for the creation of education packs for local schools about the heritage of the area, to be created in close co-operation with teachers.

A good number of ideas came forward how to address these barriers, with the creation of stronger links with education providers and local tourism business providers and local empowerment through skills training and other initiatives coming out clearly.

Leaving a sustainable legacy

The second workshop, where people provided ideas to ensure a sustainable legacy for the OWLP scheme also provided us ample food for thought. A good number of suggestions have been highlighted by people what the various organisations could bring to the partnership, helping the scheme to develop and work towards a sustainable legacy.

The central team and the OWLP partnership as a whole will take all ideas into account: there certainly is enough there for us to follow up on and to guide the further development of this exciting project through the next few years.

20130905_093156

Lively discussions during the workshops

Conference Invitation

Heritage Lottery FundWe are currently in the ‘development phase’ (Development Phase has commenced) of the Ouse Washes LP Scheme (About Ouse Washes LP). This involves research and planning to ensure that the scheme is as effective as possible when the delivery phase begins in 2014.

We will be holding a conference on 5th September 2013 at The Maltings, Ely, where we will be providing an update on the latest developments of the scheme. Topics will include:

• Landscape Characterisation and Future Management (Distinctiveness:
A local Perspective)
• Audience and Access – Barriers and Opportunities (Audience
Engagement and Access Improvements)

The title of this conference, ‘Finding Character and Audiences’ reflects the above topics. As part of the development phase we have been seeking feedback from stakeholders and the wider community, finding out what people value about the landscape and how they might be encouraged to engage further with the landscape and its heritage.

An important element of the conference will be a series of workshops. These will provide an opportunity for discussions surrounding the legacy of the scheme and the future management of this fascinating landscape.

A large focus of the scheme is on community involvement, as this is key to providing a future for the landscape, its heritage and the people who live here. That’s why we want to get as many people involved as possible. If you have an interest in the landscape do come along to this free conference, and please pass this on to anyone else you think may be keen to attend.

Our preliminary programme:

Ouse Washes LP Conference 05 09 2013 preliminary details

Booking form:

Ouse Washes LP Conference 05 09 2013 booking form

Bill Blake Heritage Documentation All Rights Reserved

Ouse Washes: A distinct landscape character. Bill Blake Heritage Documentation All Rights Reserved