Friday, 26 July 2013

Getting ready for summer...

Today our family volunteer team came to Wicken and helped with getting ready for all of our summer holiday events. Thanks to them we now have a pile of sticks and reed ready for den building and the learning shed, shelters and benches all have a fresh coat of paint. 

Also while they were here we created a newt hibarium (a pile of logs and turf) for Newts from the dipping ponds to hibernate in over winter. 

There are some great pics below, taken by David Chandler from the RSPB to came to visit to see what the families were up to.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Blitzing the Fen!

We held our second bioblitz at wicken this weekend, experts and the public came out to the fen to count as many different species as possible in 24 hours. There were a series of guided walks, Bats, Dragonflies and Fen flora and family activities  pond dipping and minibeast hunting. The current total is over 600 with data still to input.

Highlight were:
  • 188 Sopranoe pipistrelle Bats leavign their roost
  • Glow worms along the lode banks
  • Cambridge Mammal Society finding a Water shrew and a Yellow Necked Mouse in their traps.
  • The discovery of a new beetle, never recorded at Wicken Fen before – the ‘Rusty Red Click Beetle’ – which is a Red Data book species
  • A total of 209 different moth species, including the rare reed leopard and marsh carpet moths.
Thanks to all the volunteers that helped, especially bug life and the environment agency. 

Community Ranger
Wicken Fen

Friday, 5 July 2013

New Community Woodland Plans......

I had a first meeting with villagers from Swaffham Bulbeck last night about plans for the Gutterbridge Plantation. This is a small area of woodland by Swaffham Bulbeck which the National Trust owns but currently doesn't manage for public access. Members of the Parish Council wrote to local landowners in 2012 asking for land to create their own woodland, the National Trust as a response has offered to lease (on a peppercorn rent) the woodland to the parish council for community use.

The meeting was very productive and interesting with lots of discussion points and ideas on how the village would access the wood, the inital managemnet steps for the wood and longer term visions of what it could be used for, such as community events, arts projects and outdoor learning . There are a wealth of skills in the village which they can use to take the project forward. There are some details to iron out before the lease is signed but in the mean time there are some working parties planned for the autumn to get things started.


Community Ranger
Wicken Fen

Monday, 1 July 2013

Swaffham Prior School Outdoor Week

This is a bit of delayed post but I still want to share the events of Swaffam Prior Primary Schools outdoor week which was the week before the half term holidays. The whole school took part in a range of outdoor actitivies many of which involved the National Trust.

The week started with a whole school trip to Anglesey Abbeys wildlife discovery area exploring and playing in the outdoor areas and creating scrapbooks of their experences through drawing, rubbings and artwork.

On Tuesday there were a range of activies going on in the shcool grounds, wild weaving, tracking, and I lead pond dipping sessions in the shcools nature area pond.

On Wednesday year five and six came to visit Wicken and had a go at geocaching and Hurdle making with the help of our Fenmans Workshop volunteers. This was a new experience for me too, learning how to weave the willow tightly, wrap it around the ends and, everyones favourite bit, bash it down at the end with a mallet. The groups finished two hurdles, which will be used it the schools outdoor area.

I wasn't involved on Thursday but I heard some good stories of fire lighting with scout leaders when I returned to the final assembly on Friday where the children, appearing slightly worn out, were sharing their learning, experiences and art from the week.

All of the children got a fifty things to do before you are 11 3/4 booklet and completed many of the activites in the week - see I think I had the most fun but hopefully the children enjoyed themselves too!


Community Ranger
Wicken Fen