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Issue 23 | February 2020


A magazine with the heart and soul of the Fens

Inside this issue Falling for the Fens

Discover local fishing Valentine’s Day gift ideas Fens | February 2020 1 PEOPLE | FOOD | HOME & GARDEN | NATURE | WHAT’S ON The | PLACES TO VISIT

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The Fens | February 2020

ED’S letter

A lot has changed over the years since we launched this publication. I remember walking through our local area with a blank piece of paper, telling businesses and friends that with a little imagination, this piece of paper was going to be a new magazine. Now, almost four years on, we have made several changes in response to the growing need to recycle more and be more enviromentally friendly. Towards the end of last year we decided to request that our magazines weren’t delivered to us wrapped in plastic - this made a huge difference to our own plastic waste. Did you know that you can recycle our magazines after you have enjoyed reading it? For magazines, you don’t need to remove anything from inside them, such as the staples. You can also leave the cover and binding. Here’s a couple of other interesting facts you might not know... 1. It takes just six days to turn old newspapers, books, and magazines into new ones. 2. If every person in the UK recycled just 10% more paper, we would save approximately five million trees each year. So when your new copy of THE FENS arrives, if you’re not going to keep it on your coffee table, make sure you pop it in your recycling bin...


THIS month 12 The Fenland landscape through the lens of a camera 17 Your garden in February 18 Digging up the past 20 Valentine’s Day gift ideas 24 Fishing in the Fens 28 Amy’s walk of the month


32 Fame for the Great Fen 34 Walking the Fen Edge Trail 38 Recipe of the month 40 Half-term activities 42 Theatre previews 44 Events diary


Issue 23 | February 2020


THE TEAM PUBLISHER / EDITOR Natasha Shiels hello@thefensmag.co.uk EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Amy Corney amy@thefensmag.co.uk SUB EDITOR Theresa Shiels DESIGN TEAM Natasha Shiels Charlotte Whittaker Vinny Clarke PHOTOGRAPHY Chris Brudenell chrisbrudenellphotography.co.uk ADVERTISING SALES Cassie Ward 07734 952626 ACCOUNTS hello@thefensmag.co.uk 07511 662566 SUBSCRIPTIONS To subscribe for just £12 for 6 issues, contact us at hello@thefensmag.co.uk CONTRIBUTORS Caroline Fitton |Gareth Monger | Garry Monger | John McGinn | Steve Barclay MP | Richard Groom | Lauren Bremner DISTRIBUTION

Printed monthly to the villages Emneth, Gorefield, Leverington, Murrow, Newton, Parson Drove, Tydd St. Giles, Wisbech St. Mary, Outwell plus Wisbech centre


A magazine with the heart and soul of the Fens

facebook.com/thefensmag @thefensmag thefensmag

Inside this issue Falling for the Fens

Discover local fishing Valentine’s Day gift ideas Fens | February 2020 1 PEOPLE | FOOD | HOME & GARDEN | NATURE | WHAT’S ON The | PLACES TO VISIT

ISSUE 23 | FEBRUARY 2020 Frozen Berries

THE FENS is published by Barley Media. Care is taken to ensure that the content and information is correct, however we cannot take any responsibility for loss, damage or omission caused by any errors. Permission must be granted to reproduce, copy or scan anything from this publication. For a copy of our contributors’ guidelines please email hello@thefensmag.co.uk. Barley Media accepts no liability for products and services offered by third parties.

The Fens | February 2020



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DONATIONS FLOOD INTO HOSPITAL FOR ESSENTIALS BY SUE HYGIENE PROJECT Donations of toiletries and everyday essentials are flooding into the North Cambs Hospital in Wisbech in aid of Fenland’s Essentials by Sue project. Launched by the Fenland Community Safety Partnership last year, Essentials by Sue provides toiletries, sanitary items and other essentials to young people from lower income families who may struggle to afford them. The hospital’s Radiology department is the latest organisation to join the project, which sees donated products distributed to schools, colleges and foodbanks across the district. Rosie Cooke, Fenland District Council’s Community Safety Projects Officer, who coordinates the project, said: “A big thank you to the Radiology Team, staff and patients at North Cambs Hospital for the donations kindly collected for the Essentials by Sue project.

“Since the Radiology department adopted the scheme donations have flooded in from both staff and patients who are proud to be involved in this community project and support our local young people.” Cllr Susan Wallwork, the Council’s Portfolio Holder for Communities, said: “We’ve had a fantastic response to the Essentials by Sue project since it launched last summer. It helps provide personal hygiene products like shampoo and shower gel to young people who need them but are unable to access them for a number of reasons. It’s discreet too, so young people can access the products without feeling like they are being judged.” Members of the public can now donate sealed, unused products, for both males and females, at nine donation points across the district: • Fenland District Council Customer Service Centres: Fenland

Hall, County Road, March, and The Boathouse Business Centre, Wisbech • North Cambs Hospital, Radiology Department, Wisbech • March Police Station, Burrowmoor Road, March • Wisbech Police Station, Nene Parade, Wisbech • Chatteris Community Hub, Furrowfields, Chatteris • Whittlesey Community Hub, Market Street, Whittlesey • March Library, City Road, March • Thomas Clarkson Academy, Corporation Road, Wisbech Any businesses or organisations wanting to get involved in Essentials by Sue, either by donating products or setting up a donation point, can contact Rosie Cooke via email at: rcooke@fenland.gov.uk or phone 07770 643378.

FENLAND DISTRICT COUNCIL UP FOR NATIONAL AWARD Fenland District Council is in the running for a prestigious national award recognising its multisector partnership approach to strengthening and supporting local communities. The Council has been shortlisted in the coveted 2020 Local Government Chronicle (LGC) Awards, which celebrate the best of local government innovation and service delivery. A finalist in the Community Involvement category, the Council has been recognised for its work with the Diverse Communities Forum, a cross-sector partnership aimed at supporting local areas facing challenges linked with migration such as poor housing conditions, exploitation, language barriers and discrimination. Community involvement has been crucial in engaging hard-to-reach groups and delivering projects improving the quality of life for both current and future communities.

Fenland District Council Leader, Cllr Chris Boden, said: “The LGC received over 700 entries for this year’s awards, so to be shortlisted is a truly remarkable achievement. It is fantastic recognition for the work being carried out across Fenland, and testament to the continued hard work of colleagues and partners to support all our residents. “The Diverse Communities Forum recognises the importance of empowering communities to bring about social change. Using this approach, it has undertaken a number of successful projects that are designed and delivered with the people they are intended to help.” Projects, funded with nearly £2.2million of funding secured by Fenland District Council from Government’s Controlling Migration Fund since February 2017, have tackled migration challenges from all angles, focusing on enforcement, pastoral care, cohesion and integration as well as research to enable the DCF prepare and adapt

to future needs. The local authorities shortlisted for awards will now complete presentations and interviews to a specific judging panel made up of senior and influential figures within local government. LGC editor Nick Golding said: “The Councils that have been shortlisted for an LGC Award are among the most innovative – and their innovation helps provide the best services for residents, despite local government facing ongoing financial constraint. “The officers and councillors of shortlisted Councils deserve enormous credit for thinking of new ways to deliver the best services, ensuring vital services thrive, benefiting everyone who uses them.” The winners of the LGC Awards will be announced at a ceremony on March 18, 2020, at Grosvenor House, London.

The Fens | February 2020



New Year, new you? Looking for a fresh challenge, new skills and a great social scene to boot? Then look no further… Following its phenomenal success over the last few years, Men United in Song is back for 2020, once again raising money for Prostate Cancer UK. Launching in February, the project will sign up 40 local men with a range of previous singing experience (including none) to rehearse over 10 weeks for a charity concert at the Cresset Theatre on Saturday 9th May. To date the project has engaged hundreds of local men, raising many thousands of pounds for the charity, as well as inspiring similar projects across the country – a fantastic result! “While I'd sung karaoke before I knew that this would be very different!” says James from Market Deeping. “I learned so much in just a few weeks and made some really great friendships too. The time flew by and I didn’t think much at first about our performance but as the weeks went past the nervousness started to build! It was great to see my family in the audience and I know they enjoyed it just as much as I did…they knew most of the songs by heart as I was consciously and unconsciously singing all the time! A fantastic experience, thoroughly recommended!” “The whole experience was extremely rewarding and exciting” says Stuart from Bourne. “You get to see what 8

The Fens | February 2020

your voice is really capable of and to share a few pints with a great bunch of guys from all walks of life, who you might not normally meet. The sense of achievement when you finally get to perform in front of an audience in the concert is amazing. I couldn’t recommend it highly enough.” Patrick, from Peterborough says “I was handed a leaflet outside the train station and decided I would give it a go - something different from the day to day! It was an amazing journey and the progress we made in such a short amount of time was way beyond my expectations! Doing something good for a fantastic charity while also learning to sing some really great pieces of music was a brilliant experience! Don’t hesitate, sign up today!” Men United In Song is not all about the singing or even about the fundraising, there’s a fantastic social scene too! Ultimately, it’s about a group of men getting together in a shared enterprise, which of course is the idea behind Prostate Cancer UK’s Men United campaign, and why the charity seemed such a good fit for the project. William Prideaux, director of Men United in Song, says “Year on year,

we see men of all ages from all walks of life get stuck into this project, producing fantastic results over a relatively short period of time both in terms of the progress they make and the sound they produce in the final concert and in terms of raising money for this very important charity. It’s always a real pleasure to work with them, and great fun too!” Men United In Song kicks off with introduction sessions on 27th and 29th February at the John Mansfield Campus in Peterborough. Absolutely no previous experience is required to join, just a willingness to get involved and give it your best shot! “We’re not looking for 100 percent in musicality, but 100 percent in enthusiasm” says William. “Why not give it a go, it just might be the best thing you’ve done in a very long time!” For further information contact Jo on 01733 425194 or email menunited@ peterboroughsings.org.uk Introduction sessions will be at the John Mansfield Campus PE1 4HX on Thursday 27th February (6-10pm) and Saturday 29th February (26pm). Please call/email to register. Rehearsals will be on Thursday evenings from 7.45pm-9.45pm at the John Mansfield Campus, Western Avenue, Peterborough PE1 4HX.

WISBECH FUNDRAISING GROUP NEEDS PUBLIC SUPPORT Wisbech Fundraising Group have been a long-standing group in Wisbech and collectively in 2019 they managed to raise a fantastic £30,218 for Macmillan Cancer Support. The Group aim to hold at least one event or collection every month, raising vital funds and awareness of Macmillan’s local services. Last July the Group held a stall at the Wisbech Rose Fair during the four-day flower festival and will be supporting the event again this Summer. Among other events and collections they also supported the Wisbech Rock Festival, Gorefield Show, Wisbech Christmas Fayre and Parson Drove Car show. Half of us will get cancer at some point in our lives. There are currently around 3 million people across the UK who are living with the consequences of a cancer diagnosis and this number is set to rise to 4 million by 2030. Every two minutes someone is diagnosed with cancer in the UK and it can affect anyone. Macmillan provides medical, emotional, financial and practical help for cancer patients, from specialist cancer nurses to grants for cancer patients with money problems. Michelle Hutchinson Fundraising Manager for Macmillan Cancer Support commented “We’re over the moon with the money raised through the Group and would like to take this opportunity to thank the local community who helped them

achieve this. It’s a super amount and will really help local people with cancer live life as fully as they can. The Wisbech Fundraising Group have recently been nominated for the 2020 Fundraising Group/Committee Award for exceptional achievement through teamwork. This is in recognition of how their presence in the area is simply invaluable to Macmillan and the impact they have for local people living with cancer. We are almost entirely funded by donations and simply cannot support the growing number of people who need us without help. The money raised will go towards helping Macmillan support people affected by cancer at the time they need us most” The Group are always looking for anyone who can help, whether that be supporting at a supermarket collection or helping organise an event, like bingo. Their next big event will be a Clairvoyance Evening on Friday 27th March, with David Townsend, at the Rosmini Centre. For further event details or to find out how you can support the Group please do feel free to pick up the phone for a chat, contact Adele or Doreen on 07787 794632.

HOSPICE FAYRE RAISES £20,000 FOR LOCAL FAMILIES NEEDING ITS CARE A local hospice has announced its Christmas Fayre has raised over £20,000 of vital funds. Staff and volunteers at Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice organised the festive event in their own time to raise funds for the families they care for. Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice, which is the only specialist palliative care inpatient unit in Peterborough, provides care and support for people living with life-limiting conditions, as well as supporting their families. Martin Russell, Head of Support Services at Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice, said: “Thank you so much to everyone involved with our Christmas Fayre. As a charity, all our care is given for free to those who need it, however we need to raise £2.4 million this year to keep our services running. “We are now looking ahead to this year’s Christmas Fayre and asking people if they have any unwanted Christmas gifts they could donate to it. Items such as unwanted toiletries, gift packs of candles, decorations, crackers, toys, jigsaws, slippers, scarves and jewellery would be gratefully received.” People are asked to drop the items off in the hospice’s reception. Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice is located on Thorpe Road, Longthorpe, Peterborough, PE3 6LW. For more info please call the hospice on 01733 225 900 and ask to speak to Martin Russell. You can find out more about Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice at: www.sueryder.org/thorpehall

RECYCLING VOLUNTEERS LAUNCH NEW WEBSITE Recycling champions in Fenland are helping to make recycling easier than ever with the launch of a new ‘what goes where’ website. Fenland District Council’s Getting It Sorted recycling volunteers have launched their own website – www. gettingitsorted.org – thanks to grant funding from local wind farm developments. The website has been designed to help people with their recycling, with a quick and simple search tool to illustrate what goes where and tips on how you can reduce or reuse your waste. It’s particularly useful to identify whether more complex items are recyclable such as disposable coffee cups, bubble wrap and electricals.

Councillor Peter Murphy, Fenland District Council’s Portfolio Holder for the Environment, said: “It’s great that money set aside for community benefit from local wind farm developments has been used by our volunteers to develop a new website that can help improve residents’ recycling knowledge. “Some of our residents have told us they’re not sure what can and can’t be recycled, and find recycling symbols on packaging confusing, but this will go some way to help.” The website is mobile friendly and can be viewed in six languages. It is also in its test phase, and feedback from the community is welcome. The Getting It Sorted volunteers have also set up their own Facebook page

to raise further awareness of recycling – just search for ‘Getting It Sorted Volunteers’. Interested in becoming a recycling volunteer? You can find out more about what the volunteers do in the community and the different roles available at: www.fenland.gov.uk/ volunteers The Fens | February 2020






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Falling for the Fen Landscape A photographer for over 30 years, it wasn’t until Jamie discovered the Fen landscape that he found his deep passion for capturing it behind the lens

WORDS AND IMAGES JAMIE OVERLAND The Fens can be a desolate place. A 15,000 sq mile expanse of flat reclaimed wetlands from Lincoln in the North to Cambridge in the South, some would say it’s not the most photogenic of landscapes But the Fens also has real character, especially in the early morning mist and fog, or under dark stormy skies. In fact, it’s famous for its uninterrupted 360 degree big sky panoramas. Trying to capture the beauty in this landscape is a challenge I relish. I was born in the capital of the Fens, Wisbech, and spent my childhood helping my parents on their farm in Outwell, which is where I probably got my love for the great outdoors. I remember hiding in the dykes with my father, duck calling, on dark cold winter evenings and pike fishing in the sixteen foot drain, sitting for hours in all weathers, miles from anywhere waiting in anticipation for some movement in the float or bobbin 12 The Fens | February 2020

to disturb the eerie silence. These memories created the feeling that I now try to capture in a photograph. In Landscape photography they teach you to look for leading lines, shapes, textures, contrasts in light, mood and atmosphere. The Fens has these in abundance. What better leading lines than the long straight fenland tracks, the dykes, the drains and rivers, the plough lines or rows of newly planted potatoes. The textures of the reed beds in the marshes, the shapes of the old farm buildings sitting alone in a field, or even the World War II pill boxes now mostly overgrown and being absorbed by the Fen. We even have our own seascapes at the wash where instead of beaches and rocks, we have the mud flats revealing shapes and textures in the marshland looking out towards the vast open skies of the east. Today, there isn’t much of the original marshland fen remaining,

however, some areas do still exist and are preserved and maintained as National Nature Reserves and SSSI’s. One such place which I have visited a few times with my camera is Holme Fen, near Peterborough. Holme Fen, part of the Great Fen, is the largest silver birch forest in lowland Britain, 2.75m below sea level. Silver birch trees are very photogenic and there are plenty of compositions to find in this Fen woodland. However, the best time I have found to visit is in the early morning mist or fog. I was lucky enough to experience a lovely foggy morning in Holme Fen, where the woodland turns into an ethereal wilderness. The maintained paths and tracks aid your compositions providing great leading lines into the disappearing mist Another nearby remaining fragment of the ancient wild fen is Woodwalton Fen, also part of the Great Fen. A visit here is like entering a lost world.

Charles Rothschild, known as the ‘Father of modern conservation’, acquired this Fen and nearby Wicken Fen and established the first nature reserves in Britain. He sold Wicken Fen to the National Trust in 1899, but kept Woodwalton and it’s still kept today as a natural fen marsh and woodland. Again early morning mist and fog is perfect to capture atmospheric

one morning which depicted the tranquility of the place perfectly.

images here with a mixture of marshes, drains, lakes and natural woodland providing plenty of great compositions. It’s also full of wetland wildlife, birds and insects - I spotted this lonely swan appear from the mist

Nearby Wicken Fen, owned by the National Trust, is a haven for birdwatchers but also for landscape photographers. The iconic wind pump provides a great subject to shoot amongst the reed beds and the nearby Fens are home to a family of Konick ponies. On a frosty winter morning compositions are plentiful in this peaceful wilderness. The golden hours of sunrise and sunset create a beautiful transition from dark to light, and from cold to warmth.

JAMIE’S TOP TIPS Here’s five tips to help you take better images in the landscape. 1. Find an interesting composition Rather than just taking a snap of something that catches your eye, try to create a composition that leads the viewers eye to the subject of your shot. Whatever your subject is - a tree, bridge, building or even just and interesting sky - compose your shot so you have a leading line to it. A plough line or Fen dyke is ideal. Using shapes and angles is also a good technique.

The Fens | February 2020


2. Use the light One of the most important elements in landscape photography is light. Make sure you use the light to your advantage to enhance your shot. Look for sidelight on buildings, backlight on trees or even look for the light creating shadows. The best light is normally in the ‘golden hour’, i.e. around sunrise and sunset as it’s generally softer. That said, on a partly cloudy day lightrays over the Fen during the day can be very effective. 3. Use weather apps for predicting the best conditions In my opinion, the best conditions for good photography in the Fens are mist, fog, snow, frost or storms. These conditions can really enhance your compositions and create mood and atmosphere. As we all know, predicting the weather can be difficult but there are plenty of good weather apps to predict these conditions, as well as predicting the levels of cloud cover (for sunrise or sunset). 4. Use our big skies The Fens is famous for its big skies so use them to your advantage in your image. Taking on board tip one about finding a good composition or focal subject, use the big sky to create some mood and drama on a cloudy day. An incoming storm cloud across 14 The Fens | February 2020

the better you will get. With modern cameras you can take as many pictures as your memory card will hold so get out, take pictures and enjoy it!

the Fen can make a really dramatic and unique shot. 5. Get out, practice and enjoy the landscape The most important tip is to just get out and enjoy yourself. Walking in the landscape has so many benefits and after a hard week at work there’s nothing better than getting out with your camera and exploring the countryside. The more opportunities you can find to get out and practice,

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Jamie Overland now lives on the edge of the Lincolnshire Fens. Having been a keen photographer for the last 30 years, in the last four years he has discovered a real passion for landscape photography. He now tries to visit as many locations in the Fens or up on the coast of North Norfolk, sharing his journey and experiences on his YouTube channel. You can subscribe to Jamie’s channel for inspiration. Find out more at YouTube. com/jamieoverland or follow him on Facebook at Jamie Overland Photography


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YOUR GARDEN IN February If you’re a keen gardener February is a month filled with anticipation. The first signs of life are beginning to emerge as plants shake off their winter dormancy and wildlife begins to wake. Light levels are increasing, temperatures are rising and splashes of colour are beginning to creep back into the garden. Spring is on its way and there is plenty of preparation to do.

Essential jobs for February

5 TIPS FOR YOUR GARDEN THIS MONTH As I write this we’re at the end of a wet and windy week in January. There’s been no sign of snow (maybe still to come) and although it has been cold, we’ve also had some relatively bright days too. It might be tempting, on a mild day, to get out there and cut your grass, but if the ground is wet you could cause more mess than good. The best advice is to stay off the grass until the ground has dried out. There are other things you can do… • Using sharp hand tools, why not prune fruit trees? Deciduous trees and hedges (one’s that loose their leaves in winter) can also be cut back now. It is their dormant season and you can see what you are doing when there are no leaves. If your trees are too big for you to manage, contact a tree surgeon. • If the ground is dry enough, why not repair bumps or hollows in your lawn? The RHS suggest cutting an H in the turf, peeling back the grass to fill in the hollow or scrape away the soil. Re-lay the turf over the flattened

ground and pinch the cut edges together. • Moles can be more active in January and February. If your lawn looks like a mini mountain range, remove the largest hills and firm down ready to re-seed in the spring. • If you’ve had leaves on your garden, now is a good time to rake them up, along with any garden debris spread around by storm Brendan. • If you have a log burner or open fire, you might be using a chainsaw to chop up fallen or seasoned trees. Make sure your chain is sharp and that you use proper chain oil. It lubricates the chain, keeps the dust down and stops the saw getting gummed up on sappy wood. If you are thinking of getting your equipment serviced we suggest you get it booked in NOW! On the first sunny weekend in March, everyone gets their mower out of the shed and if it doesn’t start, our phone rings off the hook. By getting it serviced in the winter it will be ready for when you

WHY SHOULD YOU PLANT THEM? Welcome in the spring with Camellias – these hardy shrubs have glossy evergreen leaves and display flowers that brighten up the winter garden and herald the end of winter. An early riser in terms of plants waking up from the winter snooze, Camellias burst into flower in February just as the rest of the garden is starting to blink its eyes at the sunshine. HOW SHOULD YOU PLANT THEM? Camellias are easy to grow and flower reliably – the most important thing is choosing the right spot. Although a hardy shrub, their flower buds are susceptible to frost once they start to develop so plant in a sheltered spot and wrap with fleece when frost is forecast. Camellias like to grow in acidic soil so need planting with ericaceous compost. Feed with ericaceous plant food to keep the leaves glossy and green and water well once the flower buds appear – although the flowers wont break until February, the buds will begin to develop in autumn. need it and you won’t have to wait. We look forward to hearing from you. www.fenlandspiritservices.co.uk 0775 383 6499 Fenlandspiritservices@gmail.com The Fens | February 2020



DIGGING UP THE PAST GIANTS AND DWARVES WORDS GARRY MONGER ‘There is scarcely a county in our island that has not some tales or traditional lore of which to boast concerning giants and dwarves’ wrote William Andrews FRHS (author of ‘The Circus and Circus Performers) in a newspaper article on ‘Giants and Dwarves’ in 1880 Many locals, as children, will have been told about the battles between two combatants variously named as Tom (or Jack) Hickathrift (or Hickifric) and a Wisbech giant or ogre. The accounts vary over time and distance. Some tales have Tom as a man of exceptional strength and others as a giant himself, his opponent either the ogre or another giant. In some versions the story is placed in a historical period such as after the Norman Invasion and the events to have occurred around Tilney. Walpole St. Peter’s church is claimed to have been the impact site of a cannon ball (or rock) hurled by Tom to frighten the devil. Joseph Jacobs, in his version, places a lazy and gluttonous Tom in the Isle of Ely, taking a shortcut across the land of the Wisbech Giant whilst carting beer. The offended Giant took a club to admonish Tom, who reacted by removing the axle and cartwheel and responding in kind. Tom emerged as the victor and occupied the territory he won in battle. One of the earliest sources is a 17th century chapbook. These cheap publications of popular tales were hawked around markets and fairs and sold on the street. It claims that an axle and cartwheel, featured on a stone tomb, mark his grave. Andrews does not mention Tom. However, he writes about Benjamin Daniels, a farmer, at Scratby near Somerton, the last of the East Anglian giants when he died in March 1877. His age was fifty-four, height six feet six inches, weight, twenty-four stones; width from shoulder to shoulder across the back, twenty inches, of great strength, frequently loading his own waggon with corn by carrying four bushels of wheat under each arm at a time. He was seen harnessed to one of his own harrows cultivating the land. 18 The Fens | February 2020

Less well-known and of a much smaller stature was Wisbech’s Richard Whitelamb. William Andrews wrote: - ‘Wisbech, in Cambridgeshire, produced one of the smallest men ever known. His name was Richard Kelham Whitelamb. He was exhibited at various fairs, and a handbill bearing the date of 23d August 1787 states that “he is now in the 22d year of his age, straight and well made, is only 34 inches high, and weighs 42 pounds. All who have seen him, allow him to be the greatest Curiosity they ever saw”.’

Richard Kelham Whitelamb was the son of Richard Kelham Whitelamb the elder. In 1763 the father became landlord of the Nag’s Head Inn, Wisbeach following a job as ‘Drawer’ at the nearby Vine and Rose. Whitelamb the elder may have been the son of Richard Whitelamb and Anne Kellum, and gave his mother’s maiden name to his baby son. It was not unusual to see surname spellings vary, particularly if the individual could not read or write. A portrait of ‘Kelham Whitelamb’ by Samuel Ireland (1744–1800) published in 1787 is in the Royal Collection. He is described as aged twenty-two, standing by a sedan chair, full face, left hand resting on open door of sedan chair, right hand in pocket. This portrait may have been made when Whitelamb was ‘shown in

London’, August,1787, although he is described in this source as aged twentyfour. Later articles use these sources whilst the man himself slips out of the written records. Image left: courtesy of WELCOME LIBRARY; Image above: portrait of ‘Kelham Whitelamb’ courtesy of the British Museum. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Garry Monger BSc PGCE is a former local councillor, teacher and army reservist. He is a member of FenArch and other local groups working to promote community archaeology in the Fens.




THE ROYAL ANGLIAN REGIMENT ASSOCIATION WISBECH BRANCH CAMBRIDGESHIRE The association hold their social meetings at the De Havilland Club, RAFA, 22 Lynn Road, Wisbech, Cambs PE13 3DJ at 7:30pm on Thursdays. This is an opportunity for those who share an interest in the Cambridgeshire Regiment and the Royal Anglian Regiment to meet and socialise. 2020 meeting programme 13th February, 12th March, 9th April, 14th May, 11th June, 9th July, 13th August, 10th September, 8th October, 12th November and 10th December. For updates see Facebook page.

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Geoff Hastings’ Images of Wisbech no.3 Booklet no.3 continues the format used to produce Booklet no.2 with 41 images of Wisbech during the 1960s (and possibly early 1970s). Andy Ketley has again added a few lines of interesting information to each to give a clue to their whereabouts, for those of you relatively new to the area. The book launch coincides with the talk and Power Point presentation by William Smith which features more of Geoff Hastings’ images at Wisbech Library, Ely Place, at 2 pm on Thursday 13th February. This has been arranged by the Friends of Wisbech & Fenland Museum. Andy Ketley will be present and William and Andy will hopefully answer any questions that may arise afterwards! Admission is free for Friends of W&F Museum and £3 for members of the public.

All three booklets will be on sale at Wisbech Museum, Museum Square and Etcetera, York Row, Wisbech. The price remains at £5 per copy (£6.50 UK mail order). Following the incredibly successful sales of the reprints of previous booklets, a much larger order has been placed for Booklet no.3. The Fens | February 2020


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Fishing in the Fens

WORDS ANDY PAGE Fishing in Fenland is a popular sport which goes back centuries. Keen hobbyist and author of Podcast, ‘Tales from the Tackle Shop’, Andy shares his favourite places to catch a fish or two across the region Fenland for over two centuries has had a network of drains and connecting ditches that have effectively controlled the surrounding land from flooding. This network of water courses has become over time one of the meccas for the UK’s coarse fishermen. Sadly, over recent years, the illegal mass removal of pike has occurred mainly unchecked. The introduction of an apex predator, the otter, has caused even more complications to these fragile ecosystems. This however, has not deterred some of the main drains from showing a remarkable resilience and the angling potential on these waters is currently reaching a zenith. In this article we will introduce some of the fantastic fishing to be had in Fenland and where to find the information required to access these waters, for both local and visiting anglers alike. FISHING GEMS So let’s start our round-up of venues, and where better to start than seven miles north of Wisbech. North Level Drain is leased by Tydd Gote Angling 24 The Fens | February 2020

Club. It is a relatively shallow water that runs from Tydd Gote to Parson Drove, where it splits off into two smaller ditches. The water contains a good head of roach, bream, perch and tench. It fishes extremely well in the summer and autumn and then more localised areas during the winter months. Methods that score well on here include ledgering for the bream and tench in the summer and autumn. Brown crumb in a swim feeder with maggots, dendrobaena (a type of earth worm) and, or, sweetcorn will all work. Early morning is the best time, but please be aware that there is no night fishing on this water. The Controlling Club have a facebook page and more details can be found there. Next we head North West towards Spalding on our fishing tour. The River Welland has taken a bit of a battering by illegal fish removal over last 10 years, however it is now showing a resurgence with its roach population. The town centre of Spalding is producing some large bags of roach to pleasure anglers and I hear on the grapevine that there are a couple

of matches scheduled this winter. The roach really respond to a bread punch approach with liquidised bread as ground bait. Depending on the strength of flow on the river you may need to use fine gravel in the liquidised bread to get the ground bait down to your intended quarry. Hemp and tares can also be deadly on this water. The fishing around the town centre is free. The river fishes really well from October through to February. We are blessed to have another river packed full of roach currently, in fact it is probably the best winter natural match venue in the whole of the country. The venue is the Old Course of the River Nene, March. The river has attracted the attention of the match anglers and they hold several opens on the town stretch over the winter months. Most of these matches host up to 100 anglers at at

time. Target species are roach, Perch, skimmer bream and a sub species called silver bream (or pommies or gustos as the locals call them). Bread again scores well here, but a more precise approach of pinkies and squats (small maggots for the uninitiated), fished with a pole, is the main weapon of choice for the match anglers. Hook size needs to small size 20 or 22. Therefore, hook links need to be of a fine diameter, around 0.08-0.1mm. For us oldies, that’s around 1lb to 1lb 8oz breaking strain. Pole floats with a fine bristle need to be employed to show up bites from the hoards of small fish that inhabit this stretch. This river fishes best from October through to March. Anywhere near the town centre and the Ship Inn is worth a dabble. Just be careful as the banks are quite steep and difficult to navigate after a heavy rain, again the fishing is free. During the spring and summer months the commercial venues are well worth a visit. There is a close season on all the drains (no fishing from March 15 to June 15th inclusive). However, angling is allowed on lakes. Several man-made puddles and ponds have sprung up over the years in Fenland. Two in particular are head and shoulders above the rest.

Decoy lakes can be found between Coates and Whittlesey. It has a huge head of small to medium sized carp plus tench and even barbel. It now has 11 lakes and caters for all levels of angling ability. It has a tackle shop on site, cafeteria and if you get bored, a licensed bar. Angling rules and prices can be found on decoylakes.co.uk If you want a more relaxed,

secluded venue then Rookery Waters at Pidley is the ideal place to visit. It has four lakes to fish; each lake has completely different character. Again the main species here are carp, but they tend to be in the 1-5lb category. Each lake has a slightly different stocking, with different sizes of fish. In order to maximise your day at Pidley you need to speak to the onsite staff. Alex Bates runs his own extensively stocked tackle shop called ‘Tackle and Bates’. Alex and his father Tim will provide you with the most current information as to which lake to fish and what tactics to employ. More information about the fishery can be found on rookerywaters.co.uk ANDY’S TOP TIPS Methods on commercials are varied and dependent upon the individual fishery rules. However, a few basic principles apply to all these types of water. Firstly location is vital; the biggest feature on all lakes is the margin. Carp and tench will hug the margins, particularly if it has a reed/weed bed. The simplest tactic is to spray 20 or so maggots and/or pellets regularly to a spot tight to the margin. Make sure to feed directly to the same spot every time. Smaller fish will probably home straight onto your baited area. Do not give up, keep the bait going in and very soon the bigger species will arrive and push out the smaller stuff. Keep feeding and the bigger fish will start competing with each other. When this happens the fishing is very easy and it is a fish-a-cast. I would recommend using micro pellets bought from the venue’s tackle shop. The fish will be used to this feed and view it as a natural food source. Float fishing with a rod or margin pole is ideal. When the fish start to compete you can catch them very high up in the water, do not be afraid to shallow up and fish on the drop. Make sure you use lines strong enough to get the carp away from any snags. Again speak to

the staff at the tackle shops, they will advise you accordingly. If commercial fishing is not your thing, in the summer months then you could always attempt to catch a ‘bar of gold’. The rudd fishing in the Fens is exceptional. These beautiful creatures have grown exponentially over the last few years. A two pound rudd is now common and a three pound rudd not beyond expectations. Most, if not all, of the local drains have these specimens in them. The best approach is a float set up on a 1215ft float rod. Line of breaking strain around 4-5lb is ideal and a relatively large hook of around size 8-12 will be perfect. You will need to fish very shallow, around a foot deep with no shot on the hook link. Use bread flake as bait and bread crumb or even the crusts off the loaf are used as free offerings. You will need a pair of sunglasses, a bottle of water and great stamina as you walk the banks of some secluded drain in pursuit of this incredible fish. When fish are spotted, catapult out a few free offerings of crust. If rudd are there they will probably have a look at the offerings and if you are lucky they will start to feed. This is the time to have a speculative cast with the breadflake. If the fishing gods are smiling on you, a rudd of your dreams may just decide to make your day. Find out more For further information subscribe to ‘Tales from the Tackle shop’. This is a weekly podcast which can be found on Apple podcasts, or by searching on the podbean app. Andy Page and Alex Bates do a monthly feature on local venues and announce the local match results weekly. The podcast also has related facebook and instagram pages under the same name. Additionally, you can find more at Fenland Fishing Tv, a Youtube channel publicised by the same anglers provides videos on the different tactics and techniques needed to be continually successful on these varied waterways. Pictured above: Rookery Waters at Pidley. Middle: Andy Page with a large Fenland pike weighing 26lb 2oz The Fens | February 2020



WORDS Heidi Lemmon, Active Fenland There’s still time to get active and start that New Year’s resolution. We’ve got a wide range of activities and sports for you try in 2020! Get in touch with the Active Fenland team for more information or to book onto anything by emailing activefenlandbookings@fenland. gov.uk FAMILY SESSIONS Family Club - Wisbech, Tuesdays, 4-5pm at Oasis Centre. FREE (ages 5+). Turn up and play! NEW Family Football - Wisbech, Thursdays, 5-6pm at TCA astroturf. FREE (ages 5+) Turn up and play! Wildgoose - a virtual treasure hunt in Wisbech Park. Watch out for the February half term Wildgoose. Details released on our Facebook @ActiveFenland. FOOTBALL 5-a-side Football - Mondays at Wisbech St Mary Sport and Community Centre, 19.30-21.00. Starting back 6th January. FREE. Turn up and Play. Walking Football Wisbech - Tuesdays, 9.30-11am and Fridays 8-9pm at Hudson Leisure Centre. £2 Pay and Play. RUNNING School Run- Tuesdays, 9.30-10.30 at Wisbech Park. FREE. Suitable for 26 The Fens | February 2020

Beginners. Three Counties Running Club. Trackless - Mondays at Wisbech Park, 19.00-20.00. FREE. All Abilities Welcome. Three Counties Running Club.

Basketball - Tuesdays at Thomas Clarkson, 19.30-20.30. FREE. Turn up and Play. Wisbech Fitness Session - Thursdays (VENUE TBC), 5-6pm. Starting back 23rd January. FREE. Booking Required.

TENNIS Adult Tennis - Wednesdays at Wisbech Tennis Club, 18.00-19.00. 12 weeks for £30 starting back on 8th January. Age 14+. Booking Required.

YOGA (low impact) Wisbech Yoga - Tuesdays at Oasis Centre, 13.30-14.30 beginners and 14.30-15.30 Gentle. Booking Required. Free.

BADMINTON Adult Mixed Badminton - Mondays, at The Hudson Leisure Centre, Wisbech, 19.00-20.00. £2 Pay & Play. Ladies Badminton - Wednesdays at The Hudson Leisure Centre, Wisbech, 19.00-20.00. £2 Pay & Play. Mixed Beginner Badminton Mondays, at The Hudson Leisure Centre, Wisbech, 18.00-19.00. £2 Pay & Play.

TAI CHI (low impact) Wisbech St Mary Tai Chi - Saturdays at Wisbech St Mary Sports and Community Centre, Sunset Facility, 9.30-10.30. Starts back on 11th January, £25 for 10 weeks. Booking Required.

OTHER ACTIVITIES Back to Netball - Tuesdays at Wisbech Hudson Leisure Centre, 19.00-20.00. £2 Pay and Play. Buggy Fit Tuesdays at Wisbech Park, 9.30-10.30. Starting 21st January. 10 week course, FREE.

OTHER LOW IMPACT Walking Netball Wisbech - Thursdays at The Hudson Leisure Centre, 9.0010.00. £2 Pay and Play. Forever Fit - Tuesdays, 11.30-13.00 at The Hudson Leisure Centre. £2 Pay and Play! Includes Short Mat Bowls, Table Tennis and Kurling and free hot drinks. STRENGTH AND BALANCE MOTS Wisbech - at Oasis Centre Friday 7th February 10.3013.00 and 15th May 10.3013.00. FREE. Booking Required.

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Walk of the month

In the Bleak Mid-Winter WORDS AND IMAGES AMY CORNEY As January merges into February, the thought of Spring peeking just around the corner is enough to warm our hands and hearts. Unfortunately, Spring was a distant dream when we ventured on our next walk on a rather chilly January morning. This time we popped to Hinchingbrooke Country Park to explore more of the vast 180 acres of parkland and to seek out nature’s Winter delights. Thanks to the very wet Winter we have been experiencing most of our favourite walks require wellies and this walk was no exception. Taking a right-hand turn from the car park we entered Bob’s Wood which is dominated by Hornbeam trees with the occasional Oak and Fir tree popping up. The trees stand tall and proud dwarfing the landscape which was surrounded with a carpet of slowly decaying Autumn leaves, giving off the most wonderful earthy scent. The wood is approximately 100 years old but the majority of the original Oak trees were felled for boat building during the first World War so it likely looks very different now than it did when it was first 28 The Fens | February 2020

established. Twiggy our dog revelled in the freedom the wood offers and thoroughly enjoyed carrying fallen branches and large twigs around. Fallen and cut wood are stacked in piles which make a great habitat for invertebrates and small mammals.

Heading out of Bob’s Wood we followed the very muddy footpath into the wildlife area where dogs must be kept on leads! Here we spotted more of the friendly Grey Squirrels that inhabit the area, their cheeky spirits running high above our heads and moving much quicker than I can take a photo! Despite the gloomy weather,

there is still lots to see in the park and I particularly enjoyed the spikey Teasels and dried seed heads that dipped and bobbed in the chilly winds. On a frosty morning these would look particularly pretty. As we exited the nature area, we

Moorhens and Swans enjoying the water amongst Bulrushes, which fill the wash and make the perfect cover for the inhabitants of the park. The boggy washes sum up the ancient Fen landscape we all know and love and makes the perfect spot for our pup to paddle.

Beyond the wash mounds appear and this is a specially designed course for mountain bikers. Families were enjoying the fresh air and making the most of splashing in the muddy puddles in their wellies. Venturing on we headed through the Orchard, following the path through the hedgerows we came across an old stone bridge which leads you down to the bigger lakes. Trying to avoid our dog taking a full-on dip we turned left instead and continued the path through the woodlands. Catkins dripped from the Birch trees and despite the grey day we spotted some cheerful colour with red and white berries on bushes still providing a food source for the birds. As we neared the end of the walk the lure of a fry up came drifting from the cafĂŠ, so we decided to stop for a cheeky breakfast. The park is a lovely place to visit whether young or old and will only get more picturesque as Spring arrives and everything bursts into life. followed the path between the wash and the wildlife lake. The wetlands at the park are made up of two large lakes totalling 36 acres as well as smaller ponds, lakes and a brook. The

wash was dug around 1997 as a shallow water body perfect for Dragonfly and Damselflies. Here the wash is brimming with bird life activity and we spotted

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accidents book. If you are injured at work, your injury is If your employer won’t record your only one of the things you have to worry injury, you should make a written about. You may be concerned about request. Having a copy of this in your being disloyal to your employer and personal email account’s sent items may even be anxious about speaking will be evidence that you have tried to to a solicitor because you are worried report the accident. that once you do, youAre will be pressured you Buying, Selling or Remortgaging into making a claim. We recommend that you keep Even if you aren’t sure about whether records of how your injury has affected At Fraser Dawbarns we work to simplify and you. This should include photographs you will pursue a claim, there are removethings stress from property transaction. of your injuries as well as a diary of certain you canyour do after an injury pain and any symptoms stemming which will make your life easier in case We decide keep youtoupdated all major from as your injury. Keeping track of any you make awith claim later. developments they occurafter and your our fixed service helps you keep and losses caused by your Straight injury,fee you should expenses track of your costs. contact the first aider at your workplace injury is very helpful if you decide to pursue a claim. This can include loss for immediate treatment and you Our lawyers cana provide on aifwide range of of earnings, costs of care and much should also visit doctor advice or hospital conveyancing matters including:for your more. necessary. Getting treatment injury should always be your primary You should also be aware that you • House Purchases and Sales concern. are only able to make a claim within •You New Buildreport Purchases three years of the accident or within should the injury to your • Remortgaging and Releasing three years of your realisation that colleagues and manager so thatEquity any your injury is associated with your potential can be made safe • Buyinghazards a Retirement Home workplace. The latter is useful in the but also so athat thereOwnership is a recordHome that • Buying Shared the injury took place. As part of this case of exposure to toxic substances • Transferring Ownership of a Home process you should make sure that the which may not have immediately • Buying a House as a Landlord apparent effects. incident is recorded in your workplace’s • Moving into a Rented Home

If you decide to make a claim, it can give you peace of mind to know someone with experience is on your side. Neil John, the personal injury specialist at Fraser Dawbarns, has over 20 years experience handling claims ranging from an abattoir worker your Home? injured when half a pig carcass fell on them to injuries resulting from workplace assaults. The 2019 edition of the Legal 500 said that Neil “responded quickly and was comprehensive in his explanations when outlining his suggested course of action. He listened!” Our first appointment for personal injury claims is free and we also offer a no win, no fee agreement if we assess that your claim has a reasonable chance of success but we will not pressure you to proceed. Whether your injury at work is due to faulty machinery, unsafe practices or other people’s actions call Fraser Dawbarns on 01945 461456 today and ask for Neil who can start helping you with your workplace injury claim.

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Images Caroline Fitton and Wildlife Trust


Starring role for the Great Fen WORDS Caroline Fitton, The Wildlife Trust

Did anyone spot the Great Fen on television last month? Popular BBC1 programme ‘Antiques Road Trip’ came to the region in early January, and, as well as trawling antiques emporiums and outlets across the region, also visited places of national interest and importance along the way.

Lorna Parker and they filmed at Rymes Reedbed where Jules heard about all the species which can be seen from this double-height bird hide, from short eared owls to myriad butterflies and dragonflies. They travelled on to film at the Rothschild bungalow, where Jules joked that this could be the final ‘mystery house/property’ on the programme! Look out for the new series (which this episode is part of) to be broadcast later in the year. See Antiques Road Trip at www.bbc. co.uk/programmes/m000d2rm (Gt Fen section 24 mins in). And read about Rothschild’s legacy at www. wildlifetrusts.org/about-us/ourhistory

So it was that on Friday 10 January antiques expert James Braxton visited the Great Fen and learned all about the history of British conservation through the vision of philanthropist and conservationist Charles Rothschild. Rothschild bought the fragment of fen, Woodwalton Fen, now at the heart of the Great Fen, back in 1910 in an act of far reaching vision when he realised that this habitat was fast disappearing. The society he founded in 1912 became the forerunner of The Wildlife Trusts movement we know today. He met up with research and monitoring officer Henry Stanier who talked him through all the work at the Great Fen – and they had time for spot of pond dipping. Earlier last year BBC1’s ‘Escape to the Country’ also came to the Great Fen to learn all about the rich heritage of conservation and the ongoing fenland restoration. Presenter Jules Hudson met restoration manager

32 The Fens | February 2020

NEW BOOK ABOUT THE GREAT FEN An enthralling new read about the Great Fen is just out, exploring how this Cambridgeshire fenland has evolved through population growth, war, drainage and cultivation to the landscape of today. The Great Fen: A Journey Through Time, by Alan Bowley (retired Natural England senior reserves manager, Woodwalton Fen), traces stories of people and wildlife and shows how we can learn from the past and asks what future do we want for ourselves and the non-human world. Alan Bowley writes: “After almost three years intensive research it is great to see this book published - both a celebration of the achievements of our ancestors as well as a cautionary tale of the consequences of our fractured relationship with the natural world. For 8,000 years successive generations on the fenland have met the challenges of their time, resulting in a skilful use of the reeds and water until drainage. As technology led to

more intensive use of the land and loss of wetland, champions emerged who warned of the pressures faced by wildlife, soil and people themselves, as the close connection between them became eroded. Throughout the 20th century, protected sites have striven to protect our wildlife but with limited success. The vision of Great Fen is a beacon both for the future of some of Britain’s most unique wildlife but also the changes which modern societies need to make if we are to continue to live in a world rich in natural resources. Bitterns and business can live together and this book provides the background as to how this can be achieved.” Wildlife Trust BCN chief executive Brian Eversham says: “The Fens have changed dramatically since the ice age, from tundra to high forest to raised bogs and to intensive farmland. This important book explores the impacts of the changes on the wildlife and people who have lived in the Fens, and provides deep insights into the outstanding nature reserve of Woodwalton Fen. It looks forward to a new and wildlife-rich future for this corner of the Fens; future changes are likely to be as dramatic, and much more ecologically rewarding, than the recent past.” Order at www.naturebureau.co.uk/thegreat-fen-a-journey-through-time Get Mindful at the Great Fen, Friday 21 February, 10am-3pm Participants will be led through Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy techniques whilst enjoying the beauty and serenity of the surroundings in the Great Fen. £3 per person; for info and booking please contact 01487 815524 or info@greatfen.org.uk www.wildlifebcn.org/events/2020-0221-mindfulness-walks-great-fen


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Exploring the edge of the Fens

WORDS RICHARD GROOM IMAGES RICHARD GROOM Volunteers are hard at work mapping out a 300-mile walk that circles the Cambridgeshire Fens, taking you on a unique journey across landscapes, geology and human history LIFE ON THE EDGE As the name suggests, the Trail skirts the edge of the Cambridgeshire Fens; places where low-lying Fenland meets land of approximately five metres above current sea level. It takes you along what was once the edge of extensive wetlands, long since lost as a result of centuries of drainage and land reclamation.

The Fen Edge Trail is the brainchild of the Cambridgeshire Geological Society, working in partnership with several local organisations including the Fenland Trust, the Great Fen and the Wildlife Trust. The Trail is a huge loop running all the way from Peakirk in the north west of the county to Isleham in the south east. It connects existing public rights of way to create a new long-distance route, broken down into manageable walks of about five miles each. Maps and descriptions for six walks are already available, with many more being developed by a team of enthusiastic volunteers. Eventually, walks along all 300 miles of the Trail will be published. Of course, you can choose to combine two or more walks in a day for a longer challenge, or just walk a mile or two if you are looking for a relaxing stroll. But the Trail is about much more than giving us a guide for pleasant country walks. The underlying concept is to provide a journey through the Fens’ unique landscape history: “From floods and glaciers to deep seas, tropical lagoons and even 34 The Fens | February 2020

Chris Donnelly of the Cambridgeshire Geological Society says: “We recognised that the Fen Edge is a place where two very different landscapes intersect, so it would be perfect as a walking route as well as the basis for studying and explaining the area’s geology.

volcanoes!” The Fen Edge Trail website also provides information about places of interest that can be visited along the Trail, and links to organisations that can help you learn more about the area.

“Whenever you visit the edge of the Fens you are likely to be near a place where the dryer, higher ground attracted settlers. The same is true of the many islands that also provided a dry place to live, such as Ely, March, Chatteris and Whittlesey, so the Fen Edge Trail includes loops around

these islands too.” These settlers wanted to be close to the wetlands so they could fish and travel around by boat, while living above the water (they didn’t have wellies in the Bronze Age). It means that as well as exploring areas of geological significance, you will be walking in the footsteps of your ancestors. Along the way you’ll see evidence of how people lived and worked hundreds or even thousands of years ago.

Hillshade map showing the sea level, 5-metre and 10-metre contours

DISCOVERING A UNIQUE LANDSCAPE I walked a six-mile section of the Trail between Wistow and Warboys one January afternoon. The ground was muddy so I wore my wellies, but the fresh winter air and mostly sunny weather made up for it. Tagging along was my five-year-old cocker spaniel, who isn’t into geology but always welcomes the chance to sniff around for rabbits and game birds. Guiding me was the route description I downloaded for free from the fenedgetrail.org website. The instructions were detailed and clear. I only got slightly lost once, which is a record for me. The accompanying four-page leaflet describes places of interest along the route, while a geology and contours map explains how the landscape was created. The information provided is much more extensive than I’ve found in most commercially-produced walking books. The Fen Edge Trail volunteers are clearly investing a huge amount of time into their work. Within a few minutes it was clear why exploring the edge of the Fens makes so much sense for walkers. To my left the fields sloped away down a slight valley, while to my right the land rose upwards to higher ground. The undulating landscape is quite different from the totally flat view you experience walking deep within the Fens. Don’t get me wrong; I love miles of flat scenery and the amazing skies that the Fens are famous for. But it’s nice to

have a slightly hilly landscape to experience so close to home. The Wistow to Warboys walk is just one section of a route being mapped out from Ramsey to St. Ives. Three walks have been published so far, taking you from Ramsey to Somersham, with the remaining sections under development. Also available for download are walks near Cambridge covering the stretch from Stow cum Quy to Reach, and from Witcham to Sutton on the Isle of Ely. As more walks are published, what’s being created is a wonderful resource for anyone with an interest in local history, or those who just want to get out and enjoy a great day walking on the edge of the Fens.

BE PART OF THE TRAIL! Individuals and groups are invited to help with the Fen Edge Trail. As well as providing information about the Fens’ history, landscape, farming, wildlife or culture, you could help with designing one of the walks. Please get in touch via fenedgetrail.org if you’d like to be involved or follow them on Twitter: @fenedgetrail The Fens | February 2020


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Charities Must Step Up Financial Security Last summer we stressed the importance for charities to meet prescribed levels of assurance over their financial statements from 2020 onwards. The Charity Commission has now called on charities to take steps to prevent fraud after fresh research shows many are not protecting themselves against biggest risks. Writes Scott Bishop Registered charities are numerous across Fenland. There are hundreds in the market towns. In addition to the household names with high street presence, dozens of smaller charities support local people and causes. The Commission’s research, their largest ever focused on fraud and cybercrime, reveals that over half of charities affected by fraud during the past two years knew the perpetrator. It suggests that over a third of those committing fraud were the charity’s own staff members. Trustees and volunteers together were responsible for 28% and beneficiaries were identified in 13% of known frauds. However, the study shows that charities are not always recognising how vulnerable their own organisations are, and are not consistently putting basic checks and balances in place. The Commission is concerned about this gap between awareness and practical action because it poses a threat to a charity’s ability to deliver for beneficiaries if donors cannot be confident in charities’ stewardship of the money they receive. It recommends simple steps around basic financial controls; tightening the oversight or control of financial arrangements; encouraging staff, volunteers and trustees to speak out when they see something they feel uncomfortable about.

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The new research indicates that charities are increasingly aware of the risks of cybercrime, which is a term that describes crimes that exploit or attack a charity’s digital presence, data or systems, such as phishing and malicious emails, hacking and extortion.

How can we help? The charity sector is one of our specialist areas and we have experienced professionals in our Wisbech office. If you have concerns, then don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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Vietnamese belly pork For a twist you could experiment with different textures or, if time is against you, try cooking the pork at 135oC for 4.5 hours or even 200oC for one hour. It’s also great with chicken (just don’t cook it until the finishing stage). Fish would also work well (think whole seabass!). Why not make the dipping sauce for spring rolls!


1kg belly pork cut into 1inc cubes Marinade: 1 bulb of garlic peeled and crushed 2inch piece of root ginger grated finely juice of two lime 100g soft brown sugar 100ml light soy sauce 20g salt


6 shallots finely chopped 4 cloves of garlic chopped 1 inch root ginger chopped 1 tbls caster sugar 4 spring onions finely sliced 1tbls sesame oil


2 cloves of garlic crushed 2 chillies of your choice sliced 2tbls caster sugar 2 tbls lime juice 3 tbls fish sauce 3 tbls rice vinegar Fresh mint to finish 38 The Fens | February 2020


1. Mix the pork in with all the marinade ingredients and leave covered in the fridge overnight.

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Space cadets, get ready for half-term blast off at Queensgate!

Queensgate Shopping Centre is ready to moon-rock your world this February half term, with a FREE intergalactic event just perfect for your curious little astronaut wannabes! The space-themed event, called ‘A World Of Imagination’, will give kids the chance to see the solar system in a giant dome, experience space using virtual reality masks, handle meteorites and even have a taste of space food too! Little ones will get to dress up in astronaut costumes to take part in 30-minute workshops inside the space dome which will be in North Square,

Nene Park Survival Challenge

outside John Lewis & Partners and Superdry. It will take place on Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 February from 11am4pm. There’s no need to book, you can just turn up on the day – and every child will receive a space certificate before they leave! Rebecca Keefe, Marketing Manager at Queensgate Shopping Centre said: “If you’re wondering how we manage to put on events like these, it’s quite simple really … we just planet! These free events are a great way to bring families together and we hope you all enjoy this one, it’s going to be a blast!” To find out more, visit www.queensgate-shopping.co.uk

Come along and try a mix of bushcraft activities and find out how to survive outside on February 17th at 10am to 1pm at Ferry Meadows in Peterborough. The session will be based around the of elements of survival, shelter, water, fire and food. Learn how to keep yourself dry and warm by building a natural shelter, making a fire and cooking on the fire. The cost is £14 per child and it is open to over 8s. Pre-booking is essential. Find out more by visiting www.nenepark.org.uk or telephone 01733 234193.

Hunt for clues

If survival isn’t your thing, the park is also holding a holiday trail on February 15th between 10am and 3pm. Collect a trail sheet from the Visitor Centre and then hunt for clues as you walk around Ferry Meadows. Return to the Visitor Centre to claim your prize. The trail sheet costs £1.

What is a Wellyphant? at Peterborough Museum What is a Wellyphant you ask? Find out as you join in with the creation of a story inspired by Nick Sharratt (the man behind the instantly recognisable illustrations for Jacqueline Wilson’s Tracy Beaker books). Get kids jotting, doodling, scribbling as they make the characters come alive and discover new ones along the way! The ‘Pirates, Pants and Wellyphants’ exhibition gives visitors the chance to immerse themselves in Nick’s world, find out about his childhood and what inspired him to become an illustrator, and meet a host of the characters that he has created throughout his career. The exhibition at Peterborugh Museum is free but during half-term there are charges for the Wellyphant activities. The ‘What’s a Wellyphant?’ activities 40 The Fens | February 2020

runs from Monday 17th to Friday 21st February. Entry for this is £3 children, £4 adults, £12 families (2 adults up to 3 children), various times. Book online at www.vivacity.org or call 01733 864663. Exhibition opening times: Tues - Sun (incl. Mondays on Bank Holidays and during school holidays) 10am - 5pm (last admission 4.30pm)






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The New Theatre has some great plays lined up this month, including an absolute favourite, Friendsical.... Get ready for some cracking new shows coming to the New Theatre in Peterborough this month. Starting things off with a ‘Bang’ is John Cleese’s writing debut. Bang Bang is delicious blend of ‘French Farce’ and ‘Fawlty Towers’, and looks set to be a hilarious new adaptation of the classic comedy. When Leontine, a respectable society lady, discovers that she’s been hoodwinked by her husband, Duchotel, who’s always pretending to go hunting but really chasing after other ‘prey’, she vows to take revenge on the philanderer! But while Duchotel’s away, his lifelong friend comes calling – and he’s on the hunt too. Will Leontine get caught in his sights, or instead set a trap of her own?

Bang Bang stars Tessa Peake-Jones who became a household name with her role as Raquel in the iconic comedy ‘Only Fools and Horses’. 42 The Fens | February 2020

Tony Gardner first made his name in comedy as part of the awardwinning comedy duo Struck off and Die. Wendi Peters is most widely known for her role as Cilla Battersby in Coronation Street and is currently appearing in the West End smash-hit musical BIG. Continuing with the comedy, the theatre will then host the 2019 Edinburgh Festival smashhit, Friendsical. The original and unique musical is a loving parody of the iconic TV show, ‘Friends’. With updates to the script and further developments to the design, Friendsical returns bigger and funnier than ever before. When Ross’ wife leaves him for another woman, he fears he will never find love again. But then Rachel runs back into his life... will he end up with his one true love? Featuring original songs such as ‘(He’s her) Lobster!’, ‘Richard’s Moustache’ and ‘You’re Over Me, When Were You Under Me?’ The gang take on naked Thursdays, a power cut, and a dinosaur convention! What could possibly go wrong? Friendsical stars Thomas Mitchells as Chandler (The Buddy Holly Story on UK Tour, Big Girls Don’t Cry on UK Tour) and Ally Retberg as Phoebe (Fame on Italian Tour), who will reprise their acclaimed roles in the hilarious show, and will be joined by a new set of friends for the 2020 tour. The new cast

consists of Ewan Gillies as Ross (Soho Cinders at Charing Cross Theatre, Normality and Sunshine, both at The Other Palace), Alexandra Robinson as Rachel (American Idiot on UK Tour, La Cage Aux Folles on UK Tour), Tanya Shields as Monica (Guys and Dolls for The Prison Project, Fantastic Mr Fox at the Lyric Hammersmith and UK Tour) and Joshua Steel as Joey (Fame on UK Tour, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the London Palladium). They will be joined by Calum Gulvin (Ensemble) and Stephanie MacGaraidh (Ensemble). Bang Bang will be at the New Theatre Peterborough from Tuesday 25 to Saturday 29 February. Friendsical will be at the New Theatre from Tuesday 3 - Saturday 7 March. Tickets can be booked online at www.newtheatrepeterborough.com or at the box office on 01733 852 992.




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WHAT’S ON Include your event for free by emailing hello@thefensmag.co.uk CROWNS AND GOWNS - AN EXHIBITION Saturday 1st February - Sunday 15th March

A fabulous collection of costumes, jewels, props, behind the scenes footage and memorabilia from some of the major Hollywood movies filmed at Ely Cathedral. Exhibition Opening Times Monday to Saturday: 9.30am to 4.00pm Sunday: Midday to 3.45pm. Box Office: 01353 660349 www.elycathedral.org

CRAFT FAIR TRINITY CHURCH WISBECH Saturday 1st February, 10am-3pm

Refreshments available. To book a table, please contact Hazel at heeley.highside@talktalk.net - £5 per table

ARTS AND CRAFTS WITH RIMA’S LADIES ARTS Saturday 8th February, 11 am - 3 pm

Rima’s Ladies exciting art and craft sessions already have a big following with young people in the area. This is their first workshop at Wisbech & Fenland Museum. All ages are welcome to come along and give it a try. Free event.

ROSEBANK OPEN DAY Tuesday 11th February 11am-2pm

Rosebank Day Centre supporting people over 60 living with dementia and their loved ones. We are also a Retirement Living Scheme, details available on the day or telephone for appointment Edina Court, Harecroft Road, Wisbech PE13 1RL Tel. 01945 588 731

MEMORIES OF WISBECH HIGH STREET Saturday 15th February, 10am - 4pm

With this exhibition, the Wisbech HIgh Street Project looks back through the past two centuries at the once bustling street scape which it aims to revive. You’ll see the historic shop buildings through old photographs, maps and documents. Free event at Wisbech & Fenland Museum


Fenland Archaeologists Society talk at Mendi’s restaurant, Old Market, PE13 1NB. Non-members £3.


On Monday 2nd March 2020 at 7.30pm at the Chapel at Wisbech General Cemetery, North End, Wisbech, the ffinal of the winter lecture series is entitled “White Crosses of Fenland” Peter Thatcher, a retired teacher with a passion for local history, will explain what these predominantly medieval structures were and where in Fenland there are examples of them. He will concentrate on one formerly located at Fitton End Newton and his mission to trace what remains of it We look forward to seeing members, for whom there is no charge. Non members are welcome to attend the lectures for which a donation of £3.00 is requested. Young people 18 or under are free.

MODEL RAILWAY EXHIBITION Saturday 14th March, 10am - 4:30pm

March & District Model Railway Club present their exhibition at Westwood Community Junior & Infant School, Maple Grove, March, Cambs, PE15 8JT. Layouts in many gauges, Trade

REGULARS FREE Glow in the Dark Table Tennis! New and exciting activity for ages 1019 years old Just drop in and play! Fridays 15.30-17.00, Rosmini Centre, Wisbech. Fenland Music Centre Association Orchestras, Bands and Ensembles. Open to all ages and abilities. Meets every Friday evening during Term time 6pm - 9pm, March Community Centre. Just come along or visit our website on http://www. fenlandmusiccentre.org.uk Fenland Archaeological Society (FenArch) meet at 7:30pm in Mendi’s, Old Market, Wisbech on 4th Wednesday of the month. Young archaeologists The 8-16 Fenland Archaeology group meet 10am - 12pm at the museum, Museum Square, Wisbech on the 4th Saturday of each month. 44 The Fens | February 2020

Wisbech Model Railway Club The group meet every Monday from 6:30pm to 9pm in Room 1 of The Institute, Hill Street, Wisbech. New members most welcome. Unfortunately there’s no wheelchair access. Further details from 07707 885718. Walking Netball – Thursday 9:30am Hudson Wisbech £2 Walking Football – Tuesday 9:30am and Friday 8pm Hudson Wisbech £2 Back to Netball – Tuesday 7pm Hudson Wisbech £2 Ladies Badminton – Wednesday 7pm Hudson Wisbech £2 Adults Badminton – Monday 7pm Hudson Wisbech £2 Forever Fit – Tuesday 11:30am £2 (Short mat bowls, New Age Kurling and Table Tennis) Adults Table Tennis – Friday 1:30pm Wisbech Table Tennis Club £1 Beginners Running – Tuesday 9:30am Wisbech Park Free

Yoga Oasis Centre – Tuesday 1:30pm Oasis Centre Free For more info on any of the above email lbremner@fenland.gov.uk or call 01354602116 Play Bridge? Wisbech Mixed Bridge Club meet every Thursday 6.45pm at WWMCC, 29 Hill Street, Wisbech. No partner necessary. Call 01945 464608 for more details. Silver Surfers We meet at Parson Drove Sports Pavilion behind the village hall. Thursday mornings, 10am to 12noon. Everyone is welcome to meet others and to overcome problems with computers iPhone or ipads. NEW Ukulele Group at Parson Drove A new Ukulele playing and singing club meets each Wednesday at The Butchers Arms, Parson Drove 7pm to 9pm. Beginners and learners or those


stands, Demonstrations, External steam traction rides. Refreshments etc. Free Parking available. Entrance: Adults £5.00, Children: £2.00, Family (2 Adults + 3 Children) £10.00. Info at www.mdmrc.co.uk

Huntly Restaurant Fine dining in a wonderful setting . . .

HEALTH AND WELLBEING FAIR Saturday 21st March,10am – 3pm

Visit the Health and Wellbeing Fair and find out ways to look after your health and wellbeing. Local businesses and organisations will be showcasing their services covering food, fitness, self-care and mental health. Refreshments available. No tickets required. FREE ENTRY! The fair will be held at Queen Mary Centre, Queens Road, Wisbech PE13 2PE

GARDEN WILDLIFE TALK Wednesday 25th March at 7:30pm

The RSPB Huntingdonshire local group welcomes Peter Holden MBE to talk about how wildlife can benefit from our garden activities. During an incredible 40 year RSPB career, Peter has co-authored more than a dozen books, appeared on Blue Peter and Springwatch, run the RSPB’s junior membership programme, and devised the Big Garden Birdwatch. The evening will also include: - A chance to buy Peter’s book on garden wildlife - An intermission with tea, coffee and snacks - A raffle and items for sale St Ives Free Church, PE27 5AL £4 entry (free to local group members)

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who have never played are welcome. The choice of music will be yours as we will have a democratic approach to what we play. Martin Hammond 01945 700 676 Marshland Hall activities Mondays: 9:30-10:30 Yoga; 10-1 Soft Play; 2-3:30 Line Dancing; Tuesdays: 10-1 Soft Play Wednesdays: 10-12 Indoor Bowls; 1-2 Sweaty Mamas; 6-7 Karate; 6-7 Marshland Saints Football; 7-8 Tai Chi; 8-9 Clubbercise Thursdays: 6-7 Marshland Saints Football; 7-8 Yoga; 7-8 Marshland Saints Football Fridays: 10-12 Soft Play; 2-4 Tea Dance; 6-7 Karate Saturdays: 10-12 Archery All events held at Marshland Hall, Smeeth Road, Marshland St James, PE14 8JB. More info can be found on facebook or by calling 01945 430414. Junior Science Club Meets every second Saturday of the month at 1am to 1om at the Wisbech and Fenland Museum.

New year, new chef, new menu! See our board for daily specials, including Hunter's Chicken, Homemade Pies & proper puddings! Fresh, locally sourced and grown produce Home grown produce from our own garden Wide range of Gluten Free & vegan products Locally sourced, free range meat & eggs The one shop stop for all your food & drink! Roast Dinner served every Sunday from 12 noon Book NOW to avoid disappointment Call us on 01733 219888 Email us info@harvestbarn.co.uk

The Fens | February 2020


46 The Fens | February 2020


Compensation Claims We work with no-win-no-fee solicitors to help people who have suffered injuries in accidents caused by others.

Serious Injury • Personal Injury • Industrial Disease • Accidents at Work • Dispute Resolution • Medical Negligence • Road Traffic Accidents • Compensation Calculator •

Have you ever been injured in an accident that was NOT your fault? If so, then you may be entitled to make a claim for compensation. Mayiclaim works with a panel of specialist lawyers to help accident victims receive the compensation they deserve for their personal injuries. The Old Chapel | St Johns Court | East Street | St. Ives | England, PE27 5PD T: 0800 756 777 | E: enquiries@mayiclaim.co.uk

The Fens | February 2020


48 The Fens | February 2020

Profile for The Fens magazine

The Fens Wisbech February 2020  

The Fens Wisbech February 2020