About us Blogs Joining the blue fleece army! 22/03/21 Trevor Henderson, Nene Park Volunteer My first experience of Ferry Meadows was in 1982. I had recently relocated from London and was renting a Development Corporation flat at Orton Centre, as it was then. When my car had broken down, my direct route on foot to work in Thorpe Wood, took me through the Park. That was a bonus! Working in Thorpe Wood also meant that the park was convenient for an occasional lunchtime stroll in Bluebell Wood. After various house moves and having two Golden Retrievers, meant that over the following years the Park was frequently used for dog walking and occasionally discovering other parts of the wider estate. In the summer of 2018, my work commitments stopped and daily excursions helped me find out what was on offer. I discovered that it’s possible to walk into Peterborough through parkland, and in the other direction to Castor and beyond. During those rambles, I would see the park rangers carrying out maintenance and construction in various areas, assisted by people in blue fleeces, and I had the notion to find out if I could get involved, after all I was in the Park just about every day. A search on the Nene Park website led me to join the band in blue as a volunteer ranger in November 2018. Monday mornings would now find me wandering the Park, checking for damage, safety issues, chatting to people and armed with litter picker and rubble sack to clear up discarded bottles, cans and other rubbish. The base for the boardwalk was also being constructed at that time and volunteers would be involved putting in the treads, handrails and other fixtures from February 2019. I really couldn’t miss out on that opportunity and spent every Thursday over a couple of months assisting with the construction. During one of those sessions I had my first otter sighting, when a mother and kit climbed out of the river onto a fallen tree near where we were working. From that day on I have always had my camera over my shoulder when in the Park, having experienced many further otter encounters as well the kingfishers and other wonderful wildlife we have. When the boardwalk was completed I was invited to join the ‘Hit Squad’, a group of 6 that would venture anywhere in the park on a Thursday afternoon to do repairs, coppicing, finish jobs for community groups, hedge cutting, wildflower seed sowing, and maintenance of tools, to name but a few tasks. As a volunteer I’ve been fortunate to pick up new skills, and learn from the highly knowledgeable rangers that we have working in the Park, and from other volunteers who are all willing to share their knowledge, from understanding the woodland management through to fence laying and so much more. During the lockdowns over the last year volunteering has been on hold at various times, returning only when safe to do so. Hopefully, now there can be a gradual return to some sort of normality and once again the blue fleeces will be visible in the Park. Nene Park belongs to us all. As volunteers we just want to help present it in its best possible condition. To find out more about becoming a volunteer at Nene Park please click here.