The Trust has had a very active start to the year. Spring is here and everyone is now so aware of the wonderful landscapes that we have in our area. It’s the best place to live - and yet could be so much better still.

Improving the Ouse Valley Way
Our OVW long-distance footpath team has been working flat out to prepare and update the detailed information for the 13 permanent information panels situated at key points along the route. The panels will be displayed from Eaton Socon all the way down to Earith. As well as having a fresh look at the nature notes that were a feature of the originals, the new ones will include some information on local heritage to encourage walkers to investigate further. The panels show the route of the long-distance footpath but also suggest circular walks in each section that can be happily completed in a few hours.

Ouse Valley Way Panel 

A sample new-look panel nearing completion: fresh design; new text; additional illustrations; and now with heritage features.

This work is being carried out in co-operation with the County Council and Coral Design Management using an A14 Legacy Fund grant. One new panel will be situated in Bromholme Lane and will show a circular walk around Hinchingbrooke and Huntingdon town centre. Another will be in the centre of St Ives. Further new panels are also planned, as well as individual circular walk promotional leaflets for which grant funding is being sought.

We had a great response from our Partner Members in their analysis of issues with their local sections of the Ouse Valley Way. Unfortunately much of the work identified as necessary has yet to be commenced largely because of the extreme wet conditions this winter. However, it should hopefully get underway soon now that the ground is starting to dry out.

Planting poplars
Our project to replace the lost Black Poplars along the main river and its tributaries will continue this month. Our local farmers are very keen to help. Volunteers will shortly be planting poplars on the river bank opposite Brampton Mill. As this meadow is grazed by cattle during part of the year we are experimenting with specially designed metal tree-protectors called ‘cactus’ devices, as recommended by the Woodland Trust. The biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca has offered help in our tree-planting campaign, and we are hopeful that other grants will meet the costs of the tree protectors

Tree protector

The ‘cactus’ tree protector doing its job!

For the last few years Godmanchester in Bloom, a Partner Member of the Trust, has been working with Suez, the landfill restoration company, to help restore land adjacent to the Nature Reserve. Many trees have been planted, a bird hide constructed and a Sand Martin ‘hotel’ installed adjacent to the new lagoon. We are hopeful that the first visitors will take up temporary residence this summer, and that they will give it 10/10 on Trip Advisor!

 Sand Martin Nest Box

Photograph Graham Campbell
The new Sand Martin ‘hotel’ off Cow Lane in Godmanchester.

The Trust has been meeting with other organisations and groups including, RSPB, the Wildlife Trust, Natural England, Natural Cambridgeshire, Natural England and others, with the aim of creating Partnership Working for the whole valley within Cambridgeshire. This very much relates to the ongoing project for AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) recognition, and designation and responds to the Government's declared ambition to protect 30% of the countryside. We are all hopeful that this will be the start of a major landscape initiative which will attract large grants and enable the Trust to achieve its ambitions to promote, protect and enhance the landscape.

Other projects
Our Partner Members are working on many different projects within the valley: creating a new ‘fish pass’ to allow fish including eels to navigate through the many man-made barriers; researching the potential for a new river ferry crossing at Great Paxton; establishing wild bathing areas; and many more. We are also looking closely at how the planned study of the A141 by the Combined Authority will impact on our landscape.

The Trust has also begun to engage with other groups such as The Rivers Trust and the Fens Biosphere and FWAG (Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group). We are all working together to protect and improve the landscape.

It would be great to hear what is happening on the ground in your part of the valley. If you would like to share news of your own projects and initiatives with us, do please be in touch.

Graham Campbell, March 2021


Partner Members Zoom meeting and AGM
Speaker to be announced