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Parklife September – November 2020

Come and discover 42 Words Art in the Park!

Recovering

from lockdown EXCITING PLANS AHEAD


Ham Farm House, Ham Lane, Peterborough PE2 5UU E: visitor.services@neneparktrust.org.uk T: 01733 234193 www.nenepark.org.uk If you would like to be added to our mailing list or require this magazine in another format, please get in touch.

Welcome Welcome to the autumn 2020 edition of Parklife!

Six Weeks of Summer Throughout the summer holidays we held a variety of activities and events to keep our visitors of all ages entertained. New for this year, and inspired by the need for social distancing, we introduced the Big Summer Hunt and the Park Explorer Challenge. Both activities involved families completing challenges or puzzles each week, which took them to the wider reaches of Nene Park. We were also able to offer a number of activities

at Nene Outdoors which complied with Government guidance, such as our drop-in archery sessions and guided cycle rides. Our popular open water swimming resumed at the end of July and we have been able to restart the full range of Pay and Play paddlesports too, which were extremely popular when the weather was hot. Our Nene Outdoors campsite has also had a good number of bookings throughout the summer, reflecting the popularity of the UK ‘staycation’ this year.

We hope you’ve had a lovely summer and enjoyed the sunny weather as you start to make explorations further afield after lockdown. In the Park, it has been great to see our various facilities open up again and we have enjoyed seeing our visitors return to making the most of being in this beautiful greenspace. Although our summer holiday events were very different this year, we The Marbled White butterfly was spotted are pleased to say that our various Six Weeks for only the second time in the Park, having of Summer activities were a great success with been recorded for the first time last year. visitors of all ages enjoying taking part. You can A White Letter Hairstreak has also been read about some of the highlights on this page. spotted over the summer at the back of There are lots of other exciting developments Heron Meadow for the first time, which is an to look forward to in the Park this autumn, exciting development for the Park. including the introduction of virtual guided walks, our Artists in Residence, the arrival of our electric boat and our new share farmers on the Rural Estate. Please keep an eye on our website and social media channels for updates and information as it comes. Our Visitor Centre and Gift Shop in Ferry Meadows is delighted to have expanded From us all at Nene Park – stay safe and its sustainable living and plastic-free we look forward to seeing you in the product range by introducing new suppliers Park before too long! Cosy Cottage Soap Company and Eco Living.

Exciting wildlife sighting!

Getting even greener at the Visitor Centre!

Cosy Cottage Soap is an ethical skincare company based in Malton, Yorkshire. They offer a range of palm oil and plastic free soap and skincare using natural, sustainable ingredients from their local area where possible. Eco Living is a distributor for highquality sustainable products. All products are manufactured responsibly and are plastic-free and vegan-friendly.

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Pop in to discover a range of beauty items and toiletries alongside biodegradable products such as bamboo toothbrushes, toothpaste tablets and cotton buds.


Peterborough

Model b u l C   g n Flyi

Flying Aces flies on!

The annual “Flying Aces” competition has been held every September in Ferry Meadows for over thirty years but this year it has had to adapt and evolve to the current Covid-19 restrictions. Brian Lever, Chairman of the Peterborough Model Flying Club tells us how.

Like most clubs and societies who use Ferry Meadows, Peterborough Model Flying Club members were unable to fly their model aircraft for almost fourteen weeks from the end of February to the middle of July. Now with strict social distancing and hygiene rules in place, we are able once again to launch our models into the soft breezes of Coney Meadow. During lockdown, members turned their attention to building new lightweight model aircraft perfectly suited to flying safely in a public park. To ensure the peacefulness of Ferry Meadows is preserved, models use predominately sustainable and noiseless rubber motors or the air currents in Coney Meadow to soar silently and glide gracefully

to a gentle landing. The construction of lightweight model aircraft requires patience and in most cases skills that have been honed over a number of years. Natural renewable materials used are mainly lightweight balsa wood, tissue to cover the structure and water-based paints to create an airproof finish. All of this takes time and was an ideal pastime when lockdown restricted flying. The annual international “Flying Aces” competition for small model aircraft on Oak Meadow usually brings together model aircraft enthusiasts from all over the UK and also far flung parts of the world. Unfortunately, numbers wishing to attend this year far exceeded those allowed by current restrictions and

so we decided to postpone the event until June 2021. However, one of our supporters suggested we run a postal competition, which we agreed was an excellent idea. As a result, the 2020 Flying Aces competitors will fly in eleven events in fields local to where they live and send in their flight scores to a central compiler, with a small number of local participants using Coney and Oak Meadows. Parchment scrolls will be awarded and posted to the winners in each class. While not having the same garden party atmosphere as our usual event, this innovative idea will ensure the continuity of Flying Aces and place us in a strong position to continue once more in 2021.

Bluebell Wood Light weight model aircraft are flown on Tuesday and Friday from 13.00 until dusk (weather permitting) on Coney Meadow. April - Stacey Holmewood Control Line engine powered models are flown at Thorpe Meadows on Monday and Wednesday from 13.00 until dusk. We welcome new members of all ages. Contact club secretary Martin Skinner family@becmart.plus.com for further details.

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n w o d k Post-loc s t u o l   r litte

Across the UK in parks and greenspaces, there has been an increase in littering since lockdown and Nene Park has suffered its fair share of this. Whether it is because more people are getting outside for sociallydistanced gatherings as they can’t meet inside or whether when restaurants are closed more people picnic outside with more rubbish and disposable items, the waste strewn across the Park is unsightly, unhygienic and dangerous to children and wildlife. In order to tackle this issue, the Nene Park Trust team have introduced a series of posters to the Park, shared regular social media posts

and had the issue highlighted in the Peterborough Telegraph and on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire. We have a dedicated team of volunteers who help with litterpicking but we have also introduced additional measures to help monitor the situation; ranger hours have been extended each day and three rangers are now on duty at weekends. The Park closing time has also moved an hour earlier (9pm) to deter large groups arriving late in the evening. The Trust does not have any power at present to fine people who litter the Park, but we are working with the police where incidence of littering becomes a public nuisance. Please let’s respect our Park and put litter in the correct bins or take it home!

Litter Bugs – a poem by volunteer Roy Watts I walked round Ferry Meadows and I could not believe, Just how much litter some visitors leave. The Park is not just for me and you So think of the wildlife and the damage litter can do. Yes you may have put it in black bin liners But at night out come foxes and other wildlife diners. They munch and think this is fantastic But beware of all the dangerous plastic. In Peterborough, Ferry Meadows is a main attraction, So please don’t spoil it by your thoughtless action. Don’t give other people a reason to moan. You brought it with you so please take it home! 4 4


Update on the

s e e r t   elm

Greg Higby, Park Manager, gives an update on our beloved veteran elms.

You may remember that in 2018 one of the elm trees that stood outside the Visitor Centre in Ferry Meadows was lost to Dutch elm disease (DED) and had to be removed. Then in 2019 another elm tree succumbed to the dreaded disease and was closely pollarded to try and prolong its life. Sadly now, it looks like Dutch elm disease has won the battle with the last two remaining elm trees in front of the Visitor Centre. Both remaining trees have suffered from multiple DED strikes which has resulted in the Dutch elm disease going all the way back to the trunk in both trees, which means nothing can be done to save them.

It does seems perverse that a little beetle can be responsible for killing a single strapping 65ft tall tree, let alone millions of them - but that is precisely what happened in the late 1970s and 1980s. The elm was our second most important timber broadleaf tree after the oak.

There is some good news: elm trees are making a comeback in the UK due to development of new varieties that are resistant to Dutch elm disease. This could be a great opportunity to enable the return of elm to our countryside and communities and more importantly back in the historic landscape of Ferry Meadows.

Striving for species-rich grasslands Park Ranger Lewis explains what species-rich grassland is and why we want to encourage more of it across Nene Park. Species-rich grasslands are areas that have not been ploughed or improved with the use of fertilisers. These areas would typically be grazed, hay-cut or a mixture of both. These grasslands were once a common sight throughout the British countryside. Unfortunately through urbanisation and the advent of modern agriculture, with its use of chemical fertilisers and intensive grazing, much of these fragile habitats have been lost and fragmented. Just 1% of the UK’s land area now supports species-rich grassland habitats. These habitats not only support a wide range of a flora and fauna, but they also help to store carbon dioxide and assist with prevention of flooding in lowland areas. Part of the work we are doing across Nene Park is to increase our species-rich

grassland habitats, utilising a number of different management techniques: grazing, hay-cutting and working closely with our tenant farmers to achieve this. A system the Park rangers and volunteers are directly involved in, is the cut and collect method. This process involves cutting and removing the vegetation. Carrying out the process on a yearly basis reduces the nutrients within the soil and makes the ground more suited for wildflowers, which characteristically favour low soil quality. To carry out this task we use a machine called a flail collect, a specialist mower which is designed to cut and collect long vegetation. In areas the machine cannot reach, the hard working volunteers come into their own with rakes and pitch forks, carrying out the task in much the same

way as our pre-industrial revolution ancestors would have collected hay from the field. Work begins in July and carries on into September. Where possible, we try to carry out a second cut in the autumn for those areas worked the earliest, which helps with wildflower seed germination. This mimics aftermath grazing, a traditional farming process, whereby a farmer will graze their cattle on the new vegetation growth after a summer hay cut. An additional way we are improving our grassland biodiversity further is through wildflower seed broadcasting, which is carried out after the cutting. One of the most useful seeds we scatter is yellow rattle, an annual parasitic plant which feeds on the root systems of grasses, reducing their density and allowing space for other wildflowers to thrive.

Keep your eyes peeled for wildflowers and work being carried out across the Park next year! 5


g n i t i c x E s t n e m p develo to look out for

A farming vision for the future Nene Park is much bigger than people realise. As well as wellrecognised parts of the Park, such as Ferry Meadows and Thorpe Meadows, Nene Park stretches down the River Nene, westwards to Wansford. As it does, the landscape becomes much more rural in character, with flood meadows, grazing cattle and some fantastic wildlife. For years, much of the land owned by the Trust in this area, some 500 acres, has been tenanted and farmed in a traditional way, which achieved modest amounts of benefit for wildlife and local people. Looking to the future, the ‘public money for public goods’ replacement for the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), will reward farmers for actions that benefit the environment, such as tree planting, flood management and habitat restoration, rather than for the amount of land under ownership. Nene Park Trust has therefore embarked on a journey to find a new pioneering farmer to work with them, to deliver more nature-friendly farming and in addition, to support the charity’s wider objectives around education, community engagement and environmentally-friendly farming. This will ultimately see produce from the Rural Estate being sold in our restaurants and cafes in the Park. In doing this the Trust will work with the new farmer, through a share farming initiative, sharing the costs and the income the business generates, in a truly partnership-minded way. Working with the Trust’s land agents Brown and Co, we advertised nationally through the farming press and received over 35 expressions of interest from across the country. From this, 11 potential applicants were 6

shown around the Trust’s rural land holding, with five of those applicants submitting their business plans, for how they would like the farm business to run, including from one of the youngest farmers ever to take on their own farm in the UK! Through a process of interview, farm visits and Zoom meetings, we are now down to the final stages, with the hope that our new share farmer will start farming the land from October this year. We look forward to introducing them to our visitors later in the year, and we are already starting to think of some exciting wildlife enhancements to the land, which will make a visit to our rural estate even more rewarding.

New visitor signage in the Rural Estate Our new maps, fingers posts and waymarker discs will be in place early in the autumn to help walkers find their way across our Rural Estate more easily. Thank you to LEADER funding for making this happen.


Almost there for the electric boat Despite lockdown slowing the build of Nene Park’s new electric boat, the wait is nearly over. Boat builders Landamores, put the finishing touches to the boat in August. With classic lines, almost silent running and an accessible lift, the boat will provide a tranquil journey around Overton Lake and for longer trips on the River Nene. The boat will arrive in the Park in September, and after a period of trial runs and training for our crew, we will run a limited number of bookable trips for family groups in October, hoping to offer more during our Autumn Festival week at the end of October. Obviously, due to Covid, we will not be able to run a normal service of regular trips but we hope to be able to give visitors the opportunity to experience the Park from a different perspective. More information on how to book will be released on the Nene Park website and social media over the coming weeks.

New play area planning granted Planning permission has now been granted for our newly remodelled play area in Ferry Meadows, replacing the existing play area at Lakeside. ‘Fox Play’ forms the next stage in updating and improving the play provision at Ferry Meadows, following similar successful developments of Otter Play in 2014 and Badger Play in 2016, designed to offer natural adventurous play for all ages. Fox Play will provide a play area with ranges of accessible features, zip lines, raised walk ways, climbing opportunities, water features and plenty of new tree planting. It will be the biggest of our play areas aimed at slightly older children, but accessible for all ages. We are now working hard to secure funding for the development of the new play area but we are hoping that construction can start early next year.

Fox Play will follow a similar design and style as existing Badger Play (pictured)

Existing Lakeside Play area

Activity Centre update The Trust continues to work with Peterborough City Council to secure planning permission for this exciting project. We are awaiting a committee date imminently but are hopeful it will be this autumn. 7


k r a P   e h t   n i   t r A #42Words

Our 42 Words art project has allowed us to collect our shared experiences during lockdown and respond creatively to capture this once-in-a-lifetime event through art. We were also able to support local artists and involve Park visitors, staff, volunteers and local communities in creating new artworks for the Park. Thanks to support using public funding by the Arts Council Emergency Response Fund, Nene Park Trust commissioned 14 local artists, many of whom have had work cancelled or postponed due to Covid-19, to create new artworks for the Park. We’ve had a

great response to the project – with lots of words submitted by the public, and the artists have responded to the words and the Park through poetry, painting, drawing and photography to create a series of beautiful outdoor exhibitions displayed at Ferry Meadows, Woodston Reach, Thorpe Meadows and Bluebell Wood. In the Park’s 42nd year this has been an important opportunity to reflect on the importance of greenspaces and the arts in providing invaluable support to us all over the last few months.

Artists: Clare Currie, Faith Falayi, Charley Genver, Mark Grist, Katy Hawkins, Paper Rhino (Fiona Cifaldi, Dominc Le-Hair, Jason Duckmanton & Amanda Rigby), Prin Marshall, Lee Mason, Stuart Payn, Charron Pugsley-Hill and Malika Speaks.

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Find out more at www.nenepark.org.uk/art-in-the-park-42-words


s e i c n e d i s e R   t s Arti

Artists Caroline Wendling, Madhu Manipatruni and Yvonne Hercules have been taking part in a 16-week residency programme in Nene Park. The artists have been spending time in the Park exploring and researching the landscape, heritage and people. Visitors will have the opportunity to find out more about the work the artists create at events in the Park and online during September and October.

About the Artists

Yvonne Hercules is a singer songwriter based in Cambridge. Inspired by folk, blues, rock & soul, her music is a mix of these influences with honest, thoughtprovoking lyrics. Her music often relates to themes that resonate to her, others and the world around her. During her residency Yvonne will be creating a musical piece exploring our human connection to nature and how this relates to issues surrounding climate change.

Madhu Manipatruni is a visual artist living in Peterborough. Her practice includes drawing, painting and digital artwork. She likes to use simple materials such as paper, charcoal and her ideas revolve around roots and identity, ideas of beauty and the role of art in the digital age. Madhu is also a practicing Creative Technologist and holds an MA in Creative Technology from DeMontfort University. During her residency Madhu will be experimenting with natural materials found in the Park to make new drawings.

Caroline Wendling is a visual artist that creates drawings, prints, installations, walks and performances that explore history and local myths and respond to place. Caroline lives in Cambridgeshire and was born in France, moving to Britain after completing her art studies. She has created commissions for Whitechapel Art Gallery, Kettle’s Yard Gallery, Wysing Arts Centre, and Deron Art Projects. She has recently worked on community projects in Hampton and Bedford. During her residency Caroline will be discovering visitors’ stories about the Park and exploring how visitors interact with nature.

Lynch Lake Kiosk transformed! Artists and community groups will soon be able to use the newly refurbished Lynch Lake Kiosk which has been transformed into a community hub that can be used by a wide range of groups and projects.

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t a n m u Aut s r o o d t u Nene O Schools have now reopened for the new school year and so we are now preparing to welcome students back to the centre (school day visits are permitted under DfE guidelines!), reviewing our operating procedures and making sure that we have measures in place to meet the guidelines for schools issued by the government. We are also reviewing our group and corporate offer. Work teams who have been separated by furlough and homeworking may need some support in getting used to working together again and what better way than an outdoor team building session at Nene Outdoors? As we begin to look ahead to next year, our plans for 2021

will not look the same as they did for 2020. Activities will have to be run differently and some still present a challenge to deliver safely (how do you sanitise an entire climbing wall between uses?!). But one thing we are confident of is that with a great team and plenty of innovation we will still be able to offer a varied, exciting and above all, safe range of opportunities for groups and individuals to enjoy being active outdoors.

Introducing virtual guided walks of Nene Park One of the unexpected silver linings of Covid-19 has been the incentive to be innovative. Our new virtual guided walks are a new initiative, which make use of technology widely available to all smart phone and tablet users. The aim is to help people to feel comfortable exploring the wider park without having to go on a guided walk led by our Rangers, which are currently cancelled due to social distancing requirements. Visitors will be able to download a range of route guides from our website which will provide a brief overview of the walk and a basic route map. Along the walking route we are placing route markers featuring QR codes. Walkers can then scan the QR codes using their phones or tablets to access a short video giving information about points of interest and route guidance for the next stage of the walk. The first walk guides people on a circular route from Orton Mere. It is intended that over the next few months several more walks will be created which will take visitors to areas such as Thorpe Meadows and the Rural Estate to the west of Peterborough, which for many remains an undiscovered gem. Education and Activities Manager Anna Thompson explains more: 10 10

“In 2019, 79% of UK adults owned a smartphone and this number is only expected to increase. This means that most of us are carrying around an incredibly powerful device with the potential to help many more people feel comfortable exploring the countryside. Most smartphones already have a QR code reader installed and for those that don’t, applications such as Google Lens are freely available to download. With our virtual guided walks we are harnessing this technology to provide an alternative to a traditional ranger led guided walk. The beauty of this approach is that it supports social distancing by allowing people to explore the quieter areas of the Park, away from the main visitor hubs at their own time and pace.” Keep an eye on our website and social media for announcements about the new virtual guided walks.


g n i s i a r Fund ! s u o Y   k Than Earlier in the year Phoenix Events (East) Ltd. sponsored a new access sailing boat. The new sailing boat will allow us to offer sailing courses to those with access needs from our Nene Outdoors Watersports and Activity Centre. Director of Phoenix Events (East) Ltd says “As an event provider

to Nene Park for many years, our team has fallen in love with the Park. We look to support them whenever we can and when this opportunity came along it was something that matches our company’s beliefs as a Disability Confident Employer and part of the Hidden disability scheme.

We felt that this was another way to support the great work of the Nene Park Trust team to be accessible for all.” Thank you again to Phoenix Events (East) Ltd for your generous support; we look forward to continuing to work with you!

We are pleased to have secured funding from the BGL Empower, Pledge, Donate Fund which will go towards supporting the Trust during the difficult challenges we have faced with Covid-19 .

We are pleased to have secured funding from Sport England which will fund two Bell Boats for Nene Outdoors Watersports and Activity Centre. These boats can be enjoyed by children and adults and from group activities to team building. Look out for when they arrive at Nene Outdoors!

Celebration leaves coming to the Park soon… Look out for announcements very soon about how you can purchase a beautifully engraved copper leaf to be displayed in the Park to mark a special celebration – in honour of a birthday, anniversary, or to celebrate a special someone. Keep an eye on our website and social media for exciting news!

A sneaky peek at one of the oak plinths which will display the celebration leaves

Return of our volunteers We are very pleased to see many of our volunteers return to the Park over the last couple of months. Our Volunteer Rangers returned early in July and our Conservations Volunteers returned at the end of July, able to work in a socially-distanced way! Here are some of our volunteers working in Centre Point. It’s great to see them back! If you are interested in volunteering for Nene Park, especially in the Volunteer Ranger role which has been expanded to cover the whole of Nene Park, do get in touch by emailing volunteer@neneparktrust.org.uk 11


k r a P e n e N r u o Y #

We have launched a new fundraising campaign entitled #YourNenePark, to recognise the difficult times we have all gone through during Covid-19. Since March we have tried in every way we can to keep the Park open as a safe environment for the whole community to enjoy and benefit from. Spring and summer are usually the busiest times of the year for us, when the Park is bustling with activity and visitors. Unfortunately, due to Covid-19 this year, we had to close our car parks, cafes, Visitor Centre, Nene Outdoors Watersports and Activity Centre and our education activities for three months and we are still not operating all our activities. As a result of this we have lost over £500,000 worth of income. During this time we have worked hard to implement new additions to the Park, from new signage to hand sanitiser stations in order to keep our visitors, staff and volunteers safe. Our finances have been hugely affected and so as a charity we are asking for support for #YourNenePark. To donate to Nene Park Trust you can either do this online at: www.nenepark.org.uk/donate or when you are next visiting, pick up a donation envelope from the Visitor Centre. We want to say a huge thank you for your support and hope you have been able to take advantage of the Park over the last few months. Do keep sharing your experiences with us and we welcome you to follow #YourNenePark on social media to hear more about where your donations go and how you can continue to enjoy the park safely.

What’s on? Our autumn events and activities are being planned at the moment as Covid-19 restrictions continue to be relaxed further so keep an eye on our website and social media channels for updates as they are announced. We are currently planning our Autumn Festival activities which will run every day during October half term from 24 October – 1 November. From bushcraft campfire cooking and autumnal arts and crafts to a magical mammals event and guided walks around the Park; there is sure to be something for all the family. Keep checking our website and social media for details of what is on. www.nenepark.org.uk/events  TWITTER instagram @neneparkpboro

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Parklife Autumn 2020  

Parklife Autumn 2020  

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