News from the Fen
IT WAS GREAT TO SEE PUPILS FROM SWAFFHAM PRIOR PRIMARY SCHOOL AT THE FEN IN EARLY JULY. The children enjoyed a range of activities throughout the day and although the weather could have been better they all appeared to enjoy themselves.
The Wicken Fen Dragonfly Centre and garden was opened by TV Naturalist and Wicken Fen Patron, Chris Packham on Sunday 26 July. The centre will be open at weekends during the summer and houses a range of displays on these unique and colourful insects. Knowledgeable enthusiasts will be on hand to answer any questions you may have. Development of the centre which is a joint initiative between the Trust, the British Dragonfly Society and the Dragonfly Project and has been assisted by a grant from the Rural Development Programme for England, a programme supported by the European Union and Department for the Environment and Rural Affairs and administered in Cambridgeshire and West Norfolk by the Fens Adventurers Local Action Group. We would also like to acknowledge the support of the Environment Agency and Anglian Water who have also contributed to the centre. Wicken Fen is one of the best places in East Anglia to see Dragonfly's with 21 species regularly seen on the Fen. Although there is a healthy dragonfly population at Wicken Fen, the loss of wetland habitat throughout Great Britain is having a major effect on the long term survival of many species, with a third of the 40 species regularly found in Britain under threat of extinction.
Development of the Wicken Fen Spine Route linking Wicken Fen to Anglesey Abbey continues. A planning application has recently been submitted to East Cambridgeshire District Council for the construction of a crossing over Reach Lode and cycleway across Burwell Fen. Once constructed the Reach Lode crossing will provide direct access for cyclists between Wicken and Anglesey with onward connections to Cambridge and Ely. The surface of the cycleway across Guinea Hall Fen, Nr Wicken has also been upgraded in recent weeks.
The summer holidays are here and this is the perfect time to head out to the countryside for a great family day out. If you are feeling artistic head to White Fen, near Lode on Tuesday 18 August where will be creating a series of large wildlife sculptures using natural materials such as willow, straw and mud! The fun starts at 1100 ... be prepared to get dirty.
A great way to get some healthy exercise whilst enjoying the beauty of Wicken Fen is to try the new sport of stand-up paddle boarding. Every Wednesday morning during the school holidays we will be running introductory paddle boarding sessions along Wicken Lode. Instruction and buoyancy aids will be provided. The Paddleboarding sessions are being run by the locally based Fen Paddle Company, and are a great example of the opportunities for local enterprise that will be created as the Wicken Fen Vision develops. If paddleboarding is a little to energetic for your liking, we will be running family boat trips on our traditional fen-lighter every Thursday, during the holidays. Making greater use of the local waterways has frequently been mentioned in our consultations in and around the Vision area.
We are also holding a host of fun activities at Wicken Fen throughout the summer. Use the Wicken treasure map to find a hidden fortune on Fen Pirates Go Wild (4-12 yrs) on Mon 3rd and Fri 21st , enjoy pony arts, crafts and quizzes at our Pony Party (4 -12yrs) Wed 5th , learn to read the clues to see what's living in your garden on Wildlife Detectives (6-12 yrs) Fri 7th ,find out about the insects which fly and crawl through the fen on Bugs and Butterflies (4-12yrs) Mon 10th , bring your favourite teddy for stories, craft and furry fun at our Teddy Bears Picnic (2-8 yrs) Wed 12th ,complete our challenges, solve the riddles and crack the hidden codes on Wicken Warriors (6-12yrs) Fri 14th , try pond dipping and other watery activities on Pond Pandemonium Wed 19th, take inspiration from the natural world to create a masterpiece Wild Art (3-12 yrs) 26th and try Minibeast Hunting for All (12.30 - 3.30pm) Fri 28th. Activities start at 10.30 am and 2pm, advance booking is recommend as space is limited -please contact the Visitor Centre on 01353 720274 for further information and bookings.
Why not go wild and have a great day out at Wicken Fen this summer!