Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Families Muck In

We had a family volunteering day on Saturday at Anglesey Abbey, these are days when families  come along and volunteer for the day to help us with outdoors and conservation tasks. The team get together once a month alternating between Anglesey Abbey and Wicken Fen and all ages get involved. 

This Saturday we were at Anglesey Abbey,in the Hoe Fen Wildlife Discovery Area. The plan was to plant trees but the snow put a stop to that, instead we did a range of jobs, filling up bird feeders, putting a roof on the insect hotel which the families made in June and then clearing some elder trees.

Kate, Community Reporter was there with a camera:

Wildlife Tracking

Students from Granta School come to Anglesey Abbey every other week to work on practical projects in the Hoe Fen Wildlife Discovery Area. This week's snow gave them the perfect opportunity to do a bit of detective work. The Fen and Avenue areas were criss crossed with mammal and bird tracks: rabbit, roe deer, pheasant, fox and …. badger?

We thought these were badger prints, but have a look and let us know what you think:

Each paw print had 5 clear digits, with claws, and they seemed to be about the right size:

The students were also lucky enough to see a tiny bank vole from the hide, foraging for seeds that had fallen from the bird feeders.

If the snow has melted by their next visit, the students will be working on the upkeep of the Hoe Fen Wildlife Discovery Area. But if not, perhaps there'll be another chance to do some wildlife sleuthing.

Community Reporter

Friday, 25 January 2013

Change of Blog...

My Blog has been crashed all ready! It will now also feature posts from the Anglesey Abbey Community Team, Janet Jephcott Community Gardener, Kate Boursnell Community reporter and community volunteers.

We do a lot of joint community projects so the blog will now be a one stop place to catch up on them and the other things we are up to.


Wednesday, 23 January 2013

More snow, and students!

National Trust for Cambridge Students
The Society Logo
We had a meeting this week with the student ambassadors from Cambridge University, who from one intern at Anglesey Abbey last year, along with Janet (Community Officer at Anglesey) have over the 18months set up a team of 8 student ambassadors, who promote the National Trust at Cambridge University. In turn the ambassadors have now set up a society at the university. We were discussing their plans for the societies activities this term.

They have arranged a talk for students at the Univeristy by the Trusts Regional Curator Miker Sutherill, 'Interpreting Our Past: heritage projects of the National Trust and how you can get involved.'  Gareth, House Manager at Anglesey will also be talking about how students can get invovled with doing research projects and internships at Anglesey for their new domestic wing project.

Later in the term they are organising a conservation day; students can come out to Wicken Fen and we will be planting trees at White Fen community woodland, stopping for lunch around the campfire at the wild camp site.

The third event for the term will be the students working on a Land Art project at Anglesey to get the students working with other community groups that use Anglesey Abbey on an art project. 

So all sorts of exciting things to look forward to.

Also you may have noticed there has been more snow this week, so more snowy pics:

Friday, 18 January 2013

Wintery walk

On wednesday we did the weekly health walk around Wicken fen, only a few Walkers this week, probably because of the weather, but those who did brave it got some spectacular views of the frosty fen:

If you fancy joining us any week we leave Wicken Fen car park at 10.00 every wednesday and go for an hours walk, around three miles. Followed by warming up in the cafe!

With some more snow on the way hopefully there will be some more wintery scenes. Also whilst it has been snowier we have been seeing some wildlife at the fen which is usually harder to spot, there are Redpolls visiting our bird feeders by the cafe for food whilst times are tougher and we spotted a weasel outside the visitor centre the other day. Also outside my office window which looks out over the ganges field where the two cows are there have been big flocks of redwing and field fares. 

Have a good snowy weekend!


Monday, 14 January 2013


Welcome to my new Blog, as Community Ranger at Wicken Fen I get involved with all sorts of different activities with local community groups around Wicken Fen and I thought in 2013 I would share a bit more about it, hopefully it will be of interest! It might also be a chance to find out about opportunities and ideas of other things the National Trust can be involved in in the area. 

This weekend I was at the Reach 24 Acres to help the village plant their Community Orchard. This is a piece of land which the National Trust purchased in 2011, with funds from Esmee Fairburn Foundation and the ALbadora Trust, as part of the Wicken Vision Project.  As it is so close to the village of Reach and at the edge of the fen the Trust has leased the land to the parish council.

Over the last year a team of keen and dedicated villagers have been taking forward different ideas for community projects on the land, gathering support and applying for funding. These include a community woodland, a village cricket pitch and a horse menage for local people to use.

Saturday was an exciting day as the first project, a Community Orchard kicked off with a tree planting day. 154 fruit trees, all local varieties were planted by over 40 villagers who braved the mud and the cold! Hopefully it will be worth it when they can literally enjoy the fruits of their labour!

I went along to help with planting in the morning and it was really great after over a year of planning to see something happening on the land as the orchard began to take shape. The enthusiasm from the tree planters was unbeatable! 

This is a picture of the land when it was purchased, we should see it slowly transform this year:

 Some happy tree planters: