Fabulous Community Murals Project

Arts Development East Cambridgeshire (ADeC) are kicking off this exciting project on Bank Holiday Monday 25th August 2014.

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Professional mosaic artist, Carolyn Ash will be working with the community, their pottery/ crockery items, some ‘spare’ museum pieces, found materials and mosaic-ware to create some fabulous permanent murals at Mepal Outdoor Centre, Denver Sluice and WWT Welney.  Postcards, and mini postboxes, will be placed at these sites for ideas for the murals or just turn up on any of the workshop days – it’s all FREE!

ADeC murals workshop poster

Download the poster here

All workshops are from 10 am till 3.30pm – wear clothes you can create in!

Mepal Outdoor Centre (Chatteris Road, Mepal, Ely, CB6 2AZ)

BH Mon 25th – Fri 29th August & Monday 1st September

Denver Sluice (PE38 0EQ/ 9QP follow the signs)

Mon 22nd – Sat 27th September

Whilst at Denver Sluice you may also want to sample the food and drink available at the Jenyns Arms (do check opening times though) and also at the wonderful Denver windmill.  There is also a golf and a sailing/rowing club in the area, a smattering of walking routes and some nice interpretation panels dotted around.  It would make a great day out with lovely lunches and afternoon tea available at the Mill which is only a short walk from the Environment Agency Sluice complex.  Spending a little time at Denver really helps highlight the man-made nature of this landscape.

WWT Welney (Hundred Foot Bank, Welney, Nr. Wisbech, PE14 9TN)

Monday 13th October – Saturday 18th October

The café and interpretation areas at Welney are excellent, with a charge for visiting the reserve proper (over the arching bridge – link to earlier blog post) but lots to see and do in the centre and shop if you have time or come back another day!

These practical, hands-on workshops mark the start of the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership scheme’s projects and activities, with the murals made with local people forming a lasting record of this landscape steeped in history and brimming with biodiversity that brings us bang up-to-date!  The murals will be mounted permanently at their making sites with related activities taking place during Festival Fortnight (20 – 31st July 2015 and in 2016 too).  Look out for more information on our activities via this blog.

Murals workshops: contact Nathan.jones@adec.org.uk for further information

See also the mural project’s own Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/OWLPCommuntiyMurals

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?

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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).

New job for Ouse Washes LP scheme with WWT Welney – apply now

LogosA new job with the Wildlfowl and Wetlands Trust has just been put online!

The post is for a 30 hr/wk position based at the WWT Welney reserve, for 14 months. This position is paid for through the Heritage Lottery Grant funding the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership (OWLP) scheme.

The Project Officer will be responsible for delivering one of the two WWT’s projects within the OWLP scheme, the ‘Great Ouse Wetland Engagement Project’ which has at its main aim to ‘help develop the Great Ouse Wetland (GOW) as part of the OWLP area, in order to form a unified destination for local and visitor audiences interested in enjoying and engaging with the natural heritage of the area and the human history that created and maintains it’.

This is a key project within the OWLP scheme as it links in with other OWLP projects and the wider OWLP scheme ambitions of promotion of the area’s landscape and significant heritage to a wide audience.

This will be an exciting project as it will contain, amongst others, the installation of new exhibition materials, a Green Screen, the creation of wildlife films together with volunteers and visitors, and working across all nature reserves and other conservation organisations in the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership area. A range of community engagement and outreach work, including working with local schools and community groups, will also be part of this project and position.

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The main purpose of the job is described as such: ‘Working within the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership (OWLP), supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, to run and deliver a wildlife media production project promoting the Great Ouse Wetland and the Ouse Washes LP landscape as a wildlife destination, through showing changing wildlife throughout the year and involving characters from the community as presenters. The role is also responsible for the marketing of the project and the content to media and the tourism industry’.

‘WWT is seeking an enthusiastic videographer to join our team, producing a series of engaging short wildlife videos, depicting the story of a year in the life of a stunning wetland region. Our ideal candidate will be a persuasive and engaging communicator, very interested in wildlife and happy to work around its schedules, and will have good news & media sense’.

How to apply?

To apply for this exciting new job, please go to the WWT’s website, http://jobs.wwt.org.uk/vacancies/388/media_production_officer_great_ouse_wetland_project_fixed_term_contract/ where you can also download the job description and apply online. The closing date for applications is 12 July 2014.

You can also download the job spec here: Media_Production_Officer_Great_Ouse_Project2

 

Related posts:

 

Grants available for Community Projects: now open for applications

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Today we are launching our Community Heritage Fund, our small grants scheme!

 

Grants available for Community Projects

Have you got an idea for a small community heritage project in your local area?  Grants of between £500 and £2,000 are now available to help people look after, learn about, extend the understanding of and to celebrate the unique landscape and hidden heritage of the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership (OWLP) area.

 

Who can apply?

Anyone living inside or outside the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership area is eligible to apply, coming from organisations, groups in the voluntary and community sectors or individuals and local companies.

What can we finance?

Projects should have clear public benefits, support the OWLP scheme’s objectives, and provide some input into the partnership’s main events, the Ouse Washes Festival Fortnights planned for July 2015 & 2016.

Project ideas could, for instance, include the creation of a new circular walk/ village information panel, bringing an area’s heritage to life via an oral history project or walks-and-talks, heritage skills training or passing on land-based management skills to others, or perhaps a one-day community event focusing on the culture or natural heritage of your local area.

Many other activities could also certainly qualify for a grant; the above is just indicative of the kind of projects we think people might be interested in carrying out.

 

Do you have a project idea? Why not come and talk to us:

As part of the launch of our Community Heritage Fund scheme we will be touring the area: the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership team will be visiting four characterful pubs spanning the area to discuss your project ideas.

Please come and see us and enjoy a complimentary snack or two!

  •  Lamb & Flag, Welney – Monday 30th June 5.30 – 7. 30 pm
  •  Jenyns Arms, Denver Sluice – Tuesday 1st July 7 – 9 pm
  •  Three Pickerels, Mepal – Wed 2nd July 5.30 – 7.30 pm
  •  Old Ferryboat Inn, Holywell – Thursday 3rd July 5.30 – 7.30 pm

Please find our leaflet here, for the four above events: Community Heritage Fund A5 poster (PDF, 0.5MB) – please hang this up for people to see or pass on to others if you could as well; thanks.

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How to apply

The first two application rounds have deadlines of 20 August & 30 November 2014. Application forms and grant guidance can be found here (and also in our Resources):

 

We encourage you to contact us if you would like some feedback on your initial ideas; we are there to advise you on your project ideas and to guide you through the application process.

We are looking forward to your project ideas; hope to see you in the pub for one of our pub info sessions!

 

Things to see, places to go and stuff to do in the Ouse Washes this Bank Holiday weekend

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

Local kids on a bug hunt on a wildlife-friendly farm in the Fens. Copyright: Niki Williamson/ RSPB

LogosSaturday 24th MayWisbech Craft Centre fun day including bouncy castle – check out their Facebook page for some lovely crafty items and join them at Alexandra House, Alexandra Road, Wisbech, PE13 1HQ between 12 and 4 pm.

 

The Stretham Old Engine Museum is open this Sunday 25th May and on the Bank Holiday Monday 26th May from 1.30 to 5 pm (£3 adults, £1 children), further info can be found at www.strethamoldengine.org.uk (also open Sunday 8th June & Sun 22nd June; Sunday 13th July & Sunday 27th July).

The Stretham Old Engine, although just outside of the Ouse Washes LP area, is the last survivor in the southern Fens of over 100 steam-powered pumping stations used to drain the Fens. Erected in 1831, it is also the largest and one of the most complete examples of these.

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The beautiful, still working and well-kept interior of Stretham Old Engine. Source: http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Attraction_Review-g186226-d213789-Reviews-Stretham_Old_Engine-Ely_Cambridgeshire_England.html

 

For events and activities at WWT Welney reserve in the Ouse Washes, check out their website and click on this week to see more detail, costs and booking requirements; but just to whet your appetite there are beginners bird watching walks (Mondays 11 -12 and Sundays 1 – 2pm) till the 31st May and Fen tales and breeding bird walks (Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays 1 – 2pm till 31st May).

Safaris at WWT Welney
At WWT Welney there is also a ‘Wetland Safari’ on Bank Holiday Monday (26th May) from 10 am till 4pm which includes guides in the bird hides, pond dipping and owl pellet dissection (pellets contain the bones that owls cough up instead of swallowing!) – What’s not to like? Normal admission charges apply and pre-booking is recommended for some of these activities.

 

 

50th Swanniversary!

LogosThe Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) is celebrating its 50th Swanniversary!

This is the celebration of 50 years of successful research on the Bewick’s swans, one of the WWT’s iconic animals.

Sir Peter Scott’s great idea

The study started on 11 February 1964 when the conservationist Sir Peter Scott started painting the swans on the lake outside his window, close to the salt marshes near Slimbridge.

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Bust of Sir Peter Scott, founder of the WWT, at WWT Welney. Photograph: Cambridgeshire ACRE.

He noticed that the swans can be recognised individually as they each have a unique bill pattern of black and yellow markings. He meticulously recorded each swan that visited.

He appreciated that natural markings could be used as a powerful tool for the study of the migratory Bewick’s swans. Scott’s research has formed the basis for a very unique study which has grown into an important international population study in a collaboration that continues to this day.

As a result of the collaborative studies, the Nenetskiy National Nature Reserve in Russia, an important breeding area for the swans, was also given protected status in the 1990s.

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Unique bill patterns of Bewick’s Swans: original 1960s drawings as recorded by Sir Peter Scott. Source: https://www.wwt.org.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/bill-patterns.jpg

Even though more traditional tagging of the birds and – more recently – GPS tracking are also used in the study of the Bewick’s swans, the bill pattern recognition is still of utmost importance in this study – all down to Peter Scott’s original idea.

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Unique bill patterns of Bewick’s swans. Information panel at WWT Welney. Photograph: Cambridgeshire ACRE.

Swanniversary celebrations at WWT Welney Reserve

This Wednesday I was invited for a celebratory event at WWT Welney Reserve. Besides the delicious muffins in the WWT Welney café (do try them!) we were also treated with informative presentations from the WWT’s Chairman Sir George Russell; The Centre Manager at WWT Welney, Leigh Marshall; the Head of UK Waterbird Conservation, Eileen Rees; and Dafila Scott, WWT Vice President (who is Sir Peter Scott’s daughter). Dafila explored her personal memories of her childhood at Slimbridge, how she helped to paint and name dozens of swans, and her subsequent life-long interest in swan migrations and family patterns.

Recent changes at the WWT Welney Reserve

Leigh Marshall gave an overview of all the major, positive changes that the WWT Reserve has seen in just the last six years, since the new eco building was erected: two new hides, almost all footpaths having been resurfaced and made more accessible, and a dragonfly pond has been installed. In addition only in the last few years new land has been acquired to the east of the reserve centre: Lady Fen and Bank Farm, together accounting for c 200 ha of new wetland.

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Lady Fen to the east of WWT Wetland reserve centre, hugely important for swans and wader birds. Source: http://www.wwt.org.uk/wetland-centres/welney/dont-miss/lady-fen-and-bank-farm/

Currently, works are taking place to convert the adjacent 100 ha of former farmland into wetland; a new hide is also planned. Although still very much developing, these new wetlands have already proven to be vital for such rare wader species as the Black-tailed gotwit of which 45 of the 50 UK breeding pairs breed at the Welney Washes [More about this great story in a separate post to come].

The future of the Bewick’s swans

Bewick’ swans numbers have gradually grown until they peaked in 1995 around 30,000 internationally. since then, there has been a rapid decline in numbers: currently there are only c18,000 Bewick’s swans left in the world.

In order to counteract this decline, international efforts have been stepped up: the last few years saw, for instance, the production of an international Bewick’s swan Action Plan which will be implemented over the next few years. This Action Plan has been drawn up with conservation colleague in numerous countries, including The Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Denmark and Russia, and was adopted by the African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement in 2012. It is hoped that, through combined efforts, the population will reach healthy numbers again in the future: the aim is to halt the decline and maintain the population at 23,000 birds or above.

Changing weather patterns: lower numbers of Bewick’s swans at Welney

One of the changes that have been affecting the Bewick’s swans is the rapidly altering weather pattern we have been experiencing lately. With milder winters, fewer birds migrate all the way to the UK to overwinter, from their breeding grounds in Siberia.

As a result, this winter the lowest number of Bewick’s swans have been recorded at Slimbridge since 1965. At the Ouse Washes, where most of the UK Bewick’s swans congregate in the winter, this year has also seen a record-low number of c1,000 only whereas in a ‘normal’ year c5,000 turn up.

As a result of the internationally co-ordinated research we know that this winter many birds did not migrate any further than Germany: also The Netherlands, usually the last ‘stop’ before Bewick’s swans move on to the UK have seen record low numbers: whereas the Netherlands usually is host to 70% of the total Northwest European population they have only counted 4,800 Bewick’s swans this winter, down from the usual c13,000.

All of this may not be as bad as it seems: as the birds do not have to fly as much and do not experience harsh weather this winter, the birds are likely to remain stronger and thus, when back in Siberia in their breeding grounds, may actually turn out an above-average numbers of young. We will find out next year…

Further information

For further information about the Swanniversary, also see the following links:

 Related posts:

6 April: Ouse Washes Experience – Do join in!

LogosAn exciting event is coming your way soon: On Sunday 6 April will see the Ouse Washes Experience.

This is a brand new event, which will be held in the heart of the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership scheme area.

The Ouse Washes Experience: a sponsored run or cycle ride

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The Ouse Washes in flood, May 2012. Kite Aerial Photography by Bill Blake Heritage Documentation, All Rights Reserved.

This event is organised by the Ely Hereward Rotary Club, in close co-operation with the OWLP scheme, Cambridgeshire ACRE, Mepal Outdoor Centre, RSPB, Environment Agency, Cambridgeshire County Council and Cambridgeshire Police.

The idea is that all participants will either run or cycle along the Ouse Washes between Mepal and Welney, for either 4 or 9.6 miles (6.4 or 15 km), that is from Mepal until the Welches Dam/RSPB Ouse Washes reserve, or until the end in Welney village.

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See the Ouse Washes close up – all abilities are welcome

Cyclist and runners of all ages and abilities are invited to join! It is not a race, but should be seen as a great opportunity to enjoy the day in a unique landscape and raise money for charity in the process.

It is a unique opportunity to get to see the Ouse Washes area from a different viewpoint. Participants, whether they go on foot or on bicycle, will all leave together and follow the same 9-foot wide track in between the Old Bedford River and the Counter Drain.

Although a public footpath, this is not normally open for other users: special permission has been given by the owners, the Environment Agency, and its tenant, the RSPB, for use by cyclists and for this event.

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The route: From Mepal to Welches Dam, or to Welney

Further Details

Full details of the event can be found in the following flier: http://rotaryclubely-hereward.org/IMUpload/OWE%20flier%20V.5.pdf   Or download it here: OWE flier V.5

See also the Ely Hereward Rotary Club’s Twitter account (@Owe2014Ely) for the latest news on the event. Or, see this news item which came out last week.

I like the idea – how do I register for the event?

Do come and join us – it is fairly simple – to register, go to the dedicated Ouse Washes Experience Webpage on Eventbrite, or follow the links on the Ely Hereward Rotary Club website, and follow the instructions.

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RSPB Ouse Washes reserve at Welches Dam. Image: Cambridgeshire ACRE

Sponsorship for Magpas

Whether participating as a family, an individual or perhaps as a group of friends or colleagues, the idea is that everyone brings in money for charity through sponsorship.

MAGPAS was chosen as the headline charity: most of the proceeds of this sponsored event will go to MAGPAS, the emergency medical charity with their noticeable orange helicopter (apparently the only one in this colour nationwide!). See here a picture of the helicopter when I joined the Ely Hereward Rotary Club recently to meet the Magpas team at their base at RAF Wyton:

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The bright orange helicopter from Magpas , with Emma Nick and Keil from Magpas; and Michael and Gary from Ely Hereward Rotary Club

Magpas provides an enhanced air ambulance and emergency response service. What’s special and unique about Magpas is that each Helimedix team is made up of both a specialist doctor and a paramedic, thus being able to start treatment straight away when needed. Even though all doctors and paramedics give their time for free, the costs for the charity are still high, what with the helicopter, a huge range of equipment and extensive training provided to their doctors and paramedics. Magpas receives no Government or National Lottery funding and relies wholly in donations from the public.

Their work is crucial in saving lives across East Anglia and beyond: Since the charity was founded in 1971, Magpas has attended over 60,000 patients. Many people owe their lives to the heroic works of the Magpas staff! Definitely a worthy cause to raise funds for.

Related events on 6 April

The registration of the event will take place at Mepal Outdoor Centre. There will be stalls with information from various organisations, including ourselves and Magpas. Mepal Outdoor Centre will also have a range of trainers in place if people want to make a full day of adventure out of it – why not combine the run or cycle ride by doing some wall climbing, archery or water sports afterwards?

There are also ongoing conversations with the RSPB Ouse Washes reserve and the pub/restaurants, both in Mepal and Welney, to have further add-on events on the day – watch this space for any updates!

Now why not come and join us!

World Wetlands Day – family fun at WWT Welney

LogosIt is nearly World Wetlands Day!

2014 is the UN International Year of Family Farming – to link in with this, the Ramsar Convention chose Wetlands & Agriculture as its World Wetlands Day 2014 theme. The slogan is: “Wetlands and Agriculture: Partners for Growth”, placing a focus on the need for the wetland and agricultural sectors (and the water sector too of course) to work together for the best shared outcomes.

Wetlands are often intimately linked with agriculture. No more so perhaps than in the Fens. Wetlands have often been seen as a barrier to agriculture, and they continue to be drained and reclaimed to make farming land available. But the essential role of wetlands in support of agriculture is becoming clearer and clearer, and there are successful agricultural practices which support healthy wetlands.

The surrounding agricultural land is also of immense importance for the species living on the wetlands. See for instance a beautiful image of swans in the surrounding fields near Welney – they feed on the sugar beet stubble: http://www.flickr.com/photos/9842362@N04/3267890638/in/set-72157602183911159/lightbox/

To celebrate what is so special about wetlands, why we need them and how agriculture is intimately linked to them, WWT Welney Centre has a family fun packed day of events lined up this Sunday, 2nd February. Activities include:

  • bird ringing demonstration
  • owl pellet dissection
  • guided walks
  • swan feeds: Watch a commentated wild swan feed at 12, 3.30pm or 6.30pm to find out about why the relationship between farmland and wetlands is so important for our winter visitors
  • and more

For the full programme, see: http://www.wwt.org.uk/wetland-centres/welney/whats-on/2014/02/02/world-wetland-day/

More information can also be found here: http://www.wwt.org.uk/wetland-centres/welney/news/2014/01/wwt-welney-news/get-involved-in-a-wetlands-bioblitz/

sunset at Welney @sailorgirl1984

Sunset at Welney, January 2014. Image from: @sailorgirl1984

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Swans – © Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust 2013

The new OWLP Landscape Boundary

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As part of the development phase works we have reconsidered the boundary for the OWLP scheme area. This was included in the work done as part of the Landscape Character Assessment , commissioned by the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership to Sheils Flynn.

Redrawing the boundary

For our stage 1 submission, back in early 2012, the boundary drawn was still relatively simple. Not anymore. Following the recent finalisation of the Landscape Character Assessment for the OWLP area and the Landscape Conservation Action Plan as part of our stage 2 submission, I can now show you the final results of this work.

First of all, spot the differences:

A4_Boundary

Boundary as drawn for the OWLP’s stage 1 application, February 2012

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OWLP boundary as defined for the stage 2 submission, November 2013. Map created by Sheils Flynn for OWLP. Contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2013 – not to be reproduced.

In their comments on our stage 1 bid, the HLF considered the OWLP area boundary somewhat vague and arbitrary; despite numerous hours of discussion between partners had already gone into this.

A coherent landscape

A requirement for the stage 2 submission was, thus, to come up with a better described, understood and more coherent boundary. The new landscape boundary is based on careful consideration of a number of related factors:

  • The boundary surrounds a strongly coherent landscape. The vast majority of the OWLP landscape is below the 5 m contour line.This is a distinct landscape, with a unique history, linear waterways, significant wetlands and which plays an important role in food production, drainage and flood prevention.
  • The boundary is driven by the landscape using natural boundaries.
  • The boundary is understood by local people – as part of the community consultations held during the Audience & Access work, people were shown draft versions of the new map, to which people responded positively, as the boundary line follows local landscape features such as roads, drains and other, locally recognised landscape features.
  • The boundary reflects historic patterns of land use: the ‘territory’ associated with the Fen Isle villages, including for instance historic field patterns, droveways and outlying farmsteads, together describe historic patterns of land use and the present-day sense of community in this part of the Fens. Settlements developed on ‘islands’ of higher land in an otherwise expansive and historically marshy landscape. The most productive arable fields were concentrated on the more elevated, relatively well-drained land surrounding the villages, with pasture on seasonally water-logged meadows. The marshy fenlands, which covered vast areas of the Fen Basin, were an important economic resource, used for cutting peat, reeds and sedge and to provide a constant supply of wildfowl, fish and eels.
  • The boundary contains a relatively empty landscape, with a scatter of settlements on the areas of higher land on and around the edge; relatively well-drained soils fringe the low-lying fen that was the focus of the Ouse Washes drainage scheme. The settlements function as individual gateways to the central, lower landscape.
  • The boundary coincides with the historic road pattern: the alignment of roads and causewayed tracks connects the villages and forms a loose ring around the Ouse Washes.
  • The boundary contains an internationally significant wetland landscape: recent wetland and fen restoration projects and opportunities for new wetlands as part of the Great Ouse Wetland and Fens Wetland Vision projects contribute to the international value of the Ouse Washes and have the potential to provide superb opportunities for public access, recreation and environmental education.

Crossing multiple boundaries

The OWLP area covers two Counties (Cambridgeshire and Norfolk), five different Districts (Kings Lynn & West Norfolk BC, Fenland DC, East Cambridgeshire DC, Huntingdonshire DC and South Cambridgeshire DC) and no less than 29 Parishes.

In the process of redefining the boundary for the OWLP landscape, the total area increased from 199 km2 at the stage 1 bid to 243 km2 now, stretching for 48.5 km between Denver and Downham Market at the northern end and Fen Drayton and St Ives to its south.

The OWLP residents

The OWLP area contains 25 villages/settlements which are either fully or partially within, or directly abutting the area’s boundary:

  • In Norfolk these are Denver, Salters Lode, Fordham, Nordelph, Ten Mile Bank, Welney, Tipps End and Lakes End.
  • The Cambridgeshire settlements are Manea, Pymoor, Wardy Hill, Coveney, Witcham, Mepal, Sutton, Earith, Aldreth, Over, Swavesey, Fen Drayton, Holywell, Needingworth, Bluntisham, Colne and Somersham.
  • Close by are also the settlements of Hemingford Grey, Willingham, Haddenham and Little Downham (Cambridgeshire) and Hilgay (Norfolk).

The resident population of the LP area is 33,010. Outside the Ouse Washes LP area the neighbouring towns within a c10km zone are Downham Market, Littleport, Ely, Chatteris, March, St Ives, Huntingdon and Cambridge; they have a collective resident population of 236,688. The OWLP scheme’s delivery phase focuses on both the local residents and market town residents.

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Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership area – Location Map. Map created by Sheils Flynn for OWLP. Contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2013 – not to be reproduced.

Click on the above map (X 2) to zoom in; the maps displayed here can also be viewed in our Resources section.

What do you think?

What do you think? Does this boundary indeed reflect local people’s perceptions of what makes a coherent landscape? Let me know your thoughts – click on the balloon at the top to leave a comment, or contact me directly. Thank you.

 

Related Posts:

 

The Fens Waterways Link

Heritage Lottery FundThe Fens Waterways Link is one of the most significant waterway projects to take place in the UK for two centuries.  It will connect the Cathedral cities of Lincoln, Peterborough and Ely, opening up 240km of new and existing waterways.  It is hoped the project will put the Fens on the map as a nationally recognised destination, as well known as the Norfolk Broads.

The map below outlines the sections of waterway that will be improved/created by the scheme.  The Ouse Washes come into this area, as can be seen on the map.  Not only are the Fens Waterways Link and the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership Scheme closely related geographically, they also share common goals, aiming to promote heritage, conservation and community engagement.  (See here for the aims of the Ouse Washes LPS.)

Fens Waterways Link Map

In detail, the aims of the Fens Waterways Link are to:

  • Create opportunities for increased leisure, tourism and regeneration, attracting economic development and employment.
  • Develop a unique image of the Fens Waterways as a world-class tourist destination, a place for healthy activity in the great outdoors, and place to escape.
  • Open access to the rich heritage, culture and history of the fens through time.
  • Benefit the natural environment, linking major wetland sites, creating new habitats and supporting the future of our unique fenland wildlife.
  • Help improve water supplies and flood defences by improving our water storage, transfer and drainage infrastructure.
  • Provide a regional water-based transport corridor for people and freight.
  • Give local people a sense of ownership of their local waterways as a place of belonging with rich opportunities for recreation, enjoyment and healthy activities.
  • Promote waterways as a venue for learning, training and skills development, providing opportunities for people of all ages to engage with their environment.
  • Enable visitors, businesses and other community members to become champions for the waterways at the heart of local communities.
Black Sluice Lock, Boston Photo courtesy of www.canalplan.org.uk

Black Sluice Lock, Boston
Source: http://canalplan.org.uk/gazetteer/5o1m

The project is divided into six phases.  Phase 1, Boston Lock Link, was completed in 2009.  This involved the opening of Black Sluice Lock (map item 1), thereby providing access to 35km of navigation which had been closed for 50 years.  The disused lock cottages were turned into a visitor centre and café, and new moorings were created.  Other improvements include picnic areas, footpaths/cycleways, fishing platforms, fish refuges and sand martin banks.

The Ouse Washes LP area is within Phase 6 of the project: ‘Peterborough to Denver Link – linking the River Nene across the Middle Level Navigations to the River Great Ouse’.  Details have not yet been finalised, but it is hoped that the following developments will be possible.

  • The Denver Hydro Hub would provide an array of information and activities for visitors.  Using existing rights of way, a number of circular routes would be created.  There would also be opportunities for bike, boat and canoe hire and boat trips.
  • New Hundred Foot Tidal River moorings near Mepal and Welney, allowing access to attractions such as WWT Welney, and providing the opportunity for boat trips to operate.
  • The Hermitage Lock Hydro Hub at Earith would involve commercial redevelopment of the lock keeper’s house, e.g. restaurant, holiday let, cycle hire, car parking.
  • Improving navigation around Welches Dam to better connect the Great Ouse system with the Middle Level Navigations.  Currently Welches Dam Lock is closed, so access between the Old Bedford River and the Forty Foot is not possible.

An implementation plan was created in 2004, and at that time the Link as a whole
was expected to take 15-20 years to complete.  Construction costs were estimated at £130 million, partly funded by the Environment Agency and partly from other sources.  In 2004 funds had been allocated for the initial stages of the project, and further funding was being investigated from possible sources such as local authorities, the Lottery and the European Union.  Although the current economic climate has impacted on the delivery of the Link, work is progressing.

More information about the Link can be found at: http://www.fenswaterways.com/