RSPB Fen Drayton Lake
Mick George Community Fund grant helps create new ‘visitor hub’ at RSPB Fen Drayton Lakes.
This winter, RSPB Fen Drayton Lakes nature reserve is creating a brand new ‘visitor hub’ and a new viewpoint to help connect people and wildlife, after being awarded a grant of £31,000 from the Mick George Community Fund towards its ‘Giving Nature a Home at Fen Drayton Lakes’ initiative.
The project forms part of the wider Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership Scheme, which is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and brings together Government, business and civil society organizations to improve community interaction and participation to maintain and safeguard the area’s inherent landscape beauty, its wetland habitats of international importance and its hidden archaeological and historical ‘gems’.
The first of the changes made possible by the grant is the creation of a new viewpoint, which is already largely complete. Adjacent to the Cambridgeshire guided bus-way, visitors and passing commuters can enjoy elevated views across Elney Lake towards the village of Fen Drayton. The lake shore has been re-sculpted and invading scrub cleared from the islands in front of the viewpoint to increase their value for wildlife and give the best possible views. On completion, the viewpoint will include a nest bank for kingfishers as well as benches, cycle racks and interpretation telling visitors about the wildlife they will be able to see there.
A welcome point and meeting place for visitors to the reserve is also in development and due to open next Spring. This ‘visitor hub’ will provide information and inspiration as well as a place for people to gather while planning their visit to the reserve, with maps, wildlife information, news and self-guided family activities all available from the custom-built oak structure.
Chris Hudson, Senior Site Manager at the RSPB commented: ‘”Fen Drayton Lakes is home to some of Cambridgeshire’s greatest wildlife spectacles, from stunning starling murmurations in the winter to cuckoos and hobbies in the summer. This project will increase the opportunities for people to immerse themselves in the experience of the wonderful wetland wildlife the reserve has to offer.
“We hope it will inspire more people to visit the reserve and give them a greater appreciation of Cambridgeshire’s special Fenland landscape. We are very grateful for the support from the Mick George Community Fund to allow us to realise this exciting initiative.”
Jon Stump, Finance Director at Mick George Ltd said: ‘’When awarding the ‘Community Fund’ we are always keen to reach a variety of audiences that may benefit as a result of our contribution, hence the diverse nature of projects in which we are involved.’’
Stump continued: “We have partaken in a number of conservation projects in recent years, partnering wonderful charities such as ‘The National Trust’ and the ‘Woodland Trust’. This initiative gives us the chance to join forces with another wildlife charity in the form of the RSPB which we are sure will be equally successful in providing visitors and the local community with a superior experience as a result.”