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There’s nothing to do in Peterborough?

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 18.03.2015

Time: 16:39

Jennie Orrell, Greeniversity's Development Lead, looks at what our fine city has to offer.

This week is Visit England’s English Tourism Week, which got me thinking – what attractions and things to do are there on our doorstep in Peterborough that are worth celebrating?

There are the obvious ones of course, like our beautiful Cathedral, which during certain times of the year runs tours up the tallest tower for breath taking views of the city centre. For those pressed for time, small but breathtaking Longthorpe Tower is home to a unique set of wall paintings and information about medieval life.

Then there’s the museum with its diverse range of events and activities for all ages; a particular favourite during school holidays. The museum often works with Metal, who put on even more events at Chauffeur’s Cottage, a piece of Peterborough heritage that the enthusiastic community arts team are currently looking after.

Then there’s the John Clare Theatre, which shows alternative films every week and of course The Key Theatre, hosting a range of performances as part of Vivacity’s culture programme in the city. Out of the city centre there’s the Cresset Theatre, offering variety for those living on the outskirts.

But what about things to do outside? Bordering the Fens, Peterborough is surrounded by a unique landscape that has been characterised by agriculture. Surrounding the city there are therefore several farms that are open to the public. Of course there’s Sacrewell, which is in the middle of rebranding for a fresh new look to show off all of the things on offer there. Open your eyes wider and you can get involved with others that are supplying our city with fantastic local produce: groups can book an educational visit at Moor Farm and keep an eye out for family open days at Willowbrook.

On the edge of the city there is Flag Fen, a very important archaeological site that boasts Bronze Age artefacts, re-enactments and storytelling sessions. In Helpston you can visit the home of former local poet, John Clare, where you can see a stunning array of flowers in his garden. Holme Fen Post marks the lowest point in Great Britain and serves as a reminder of the dramatic change in the landscape following the draining of the Fens. I’d highly recommend this area for a Sunday afternoon walk and you can learn more about the future of it via the Great Fen Project.

As fantastic as these places and the people that run them are, not everyone is able to easily make the trip out to visit them. That’s why green space within the city is extremely important, in accessible locations for everyone from all walks of life to enjoy. The most talked about example recently is The Green Backyard, which has been raising money to buy the land that it is situated on. The Green Backyard is open four days a week for anyone to come along, and hosts a food shop as well as regular events throughout the year, all run entirely by volunteers. There are other community gardens too; I recently visited the Olive Branch Community Garden in Dogsthorpe and was amazed by this little gem tucked away behind some Cross Keys housing.

Moving on in the green space list, let’s not forget some of the city’s parks. Itter and Central Park have both been awarded Green Flag awards by the Keep Britain Tidy Scheme. Other Green Flag awards in Peterborough have been given to Victoria Gardens in Millfield, which even has its own performance area, and Manor Farm Park (Eye Community Gardens), a three-acre site that has a skate park, play area, orchard, meadow, picnic zone and pond.

Ponds can be found all over Peterborough so it isn’t a surprise that two national wildlife charities, Froglife and Buglife, are based here. Froglife in particular has been working closely on one of the many nature reserves in the city at Hampton. This site is unique as it is home to Europe’s largest population of Great Crested Newts! Another nature reserve of significant importance is Barnack Hills and Holes, which helps to conserve some very rare wildflowers.

A list of green space in Peterborough would not be complete without mentioning Ferry Meadows, run by Nene Park Trust. Many of our Greeniversity classes are held here and you can see why – the country park is home to a variety of species in its expanse of lakes, meadows, riversides and woodlands.

Ferry Meadows isn’t the only area to find interesting woodlands in Peterborough however. Another of our projects, Woodland Heritage in Action, with the help of a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, has been striving to reopen Bretton’s Ancient Woods to the public. Regular sessions are run in the woods, teaching skills that connect people to nature. All of these sites make me realise how lucky we are to be one of the places in the UK with one of the highest ratios of green space per person.

This list is extensive but by no means has it all. There’s nothing to do in Peterborough you say? Think again…



Experiencing the Orton Wistow Eco Day

Category: Education

Date: 17.03.2015

Time: 14:06

Robin Eagle, MSc student and PECT intern recounts his day spent at the recent Orton Wistow Primary School ‘Eco Day’.

On Wednesday 11 March 2015, Orton Wistow held a superb whole school ‘Eco Day’ and I was lucky enough to be a part of it. Focusing on the themes 'Energy', 'Waste' and 'Healthy Living' numerous activities were run to engage with every year group in the school.

Working with Jill Foster, PECT’s Environmental Education Coordinator, we ran a series of workshops for Year 2 children centred on renewable energies. The children were able to play and learn with solar cars, basic solar-powered circuits and witness the workings of a small wind turbine. PECT’s Matt Robinson, the Woodland Management and Volunteer Manager, led small groups demonstrating and teaching year 6 pupils’ woodcraft skills and techniques.

Amongst these PECT-led activities were a whole host of other organisations covering everything from cookery to scarecrow-building. There was a fantastic, positive buzz in the air the whole day, as children whizzed around with smiles from ear-to-ear!

I was pleasantly surprised by not only how interested and engaged the children were, but also how much prior knowledge and understanding they had around broad concepts of environmental stewardship and sustainability. The science is now irrefutable and the consequences of climate change are being felt globally.

It was heartening to witness, at such a young age, the future generation being so well educated and embracing the importance of protecting the planet. What the children learnt that day will stay with them for many years to come.

The ‘Eco Day’ was a great example of how a relatively small amount of time and effort from external organisations and individuals can have a large and profound impact, re-invigorating the school environment.



Keeping Peterborough clean

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 16.03.2015

Time: 12:43

People in Peterborough are being encouraged to join in the national Community Clear Up Day on the first day of spring – Saturday 21 March. Join together with friends, neighbours and local businesses to tackle your favourite parts of Peterborough, whether it’s a corner of your local park or the street you live on.

Why not get involved with Thorpe Gate Rivercare’s organised Litter Pick on Saturday 21 March? Simply meet at 10.30am on the riverside steps at the back of Asda to spend a morning clearing the riverside paths.

In addition to this, after the clear-up you can join the group’s friendly lunch at the Boathouse pub from 12.30pm to get to know your fellow volunteers.

Discover more information about other clean-up events held throughout the year on the Keep Britain Tidy website at www.thebigtidyup.org. Share your clean-up efforts on social media with the hashtag #ClearUpDay.



What planting 84,759 trees means for Peterborough

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 13.03.2015

Time: 16:51

With the fantastic news that PECT’s Forest for Peterborough project has now planted a total of 84,759 trees in the last five years, what does this mean for our city and its inhabitants?

Peterborough is one of the least wooded areas in the UK with only 3.6% woodland cover, compared to a UK average of 12%. In an area where tree coverage is below the national average, the Forest for Peterborough project aims to create a network of wooded areas to improve our green spaces.

Trees provide a multitude of benefits. As well improving the appearance of an area, they also remove and store carbon from the atmosphere, slow heavy rain and so reduce the risk of flooding, and provide an ideal habitat for a rich mix of flora and fauna.

In addition to this, trees greatly benefit the people living around them by having a positive impact on health and well-being.

The Forest for Peterborough project was launched in 2010, and it aims to plant over 180,000 trees by 2030, which is one tree for every person living in Peterborough.

We’ve got a long way to go, and we need your support to achieve our aims, but just think how wonderful the end result will be: 180,000 trees later.



Yaxley Reed Bed Habitat Project - Family Volunteer Day

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 05.03.2015

Time: 17:21

Here at PECT we love to share fantastic eco initiatives and events! That's why we thought we'd let you know about Produce World's Family Volunteer Day, being held on Saturday 14 March.

This community project runs at the Produce World site in Yaxley to increase the value of the area for biodiversity and for people. There is a sustainable water recycling system, using channels and reed beds to clean the water that is used to wash the vegetables, and it is this reed bed area that is being enhanced.

Yaxley reed bed is getting an exciting new look and your help is needed to bring it to life! During this event, volunteers will join together to plant a strip of woodland, build a big bug hotel, and create a footpath and small fence to make year-round access easier.

Everyone is welcome and there will be activities for both adults and children. Refreshments will be provided. If you need more information please contact 4Life@ProduceWorld.co.uk.

The event will be held at:

Produce World Yaxley
Great Drove