In 2019 we celebrated our success in securing over £48,000 from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development LEADER programme, through the Rural Peterborough and Rutland Local Action Group. This money will be split three ways to fund an electric boat, signage in our Rural Estate, and a staff member to oversee the project. 

boat being made in the workshopElectric Boat

The new electrically-powered boat for the Park will replace the previously diesel-powered boat that used to provide passenger trips around Overton Lake at Ferry Meadows. The batteries used to power the new boat will be charged using electricity provided through a green energy tariff, as part of the Trust’s commitment to reduce its carbon footprint and respond to a climate emergency.

The boat has been made by Norfolk Boat builders, Landamores who have been building boats in Wroxham and Hoveton since 1923. The boat is an Edwardian styled Frolic 31 launch, made by combining new and traditional manufacturing methods and the highest quality of materials and workmanship.

30-45 minute trips will be offered for up to 12 passengers around Overton Lake and out onto the River Nene. To ensure this tranquil experience is available to all, the boat will have an accessible lift enabling up to 2 wheelchair users on board. The service will be run at weekends and during school holidays. In addition, bespoke trips will also be developed for special occasions and corporate groups, providing a unique view of the Park and an inspiring experience on the water.

Future plans for the boat include the possibility of a taxi service to different parts of the Park. The Trust also hopes to install a solar array to help charge the boat, creating a truly sustainable long-term energy source.

The boat will delivered to the Park at the end of Septmber 2020 and we'll be offering cruises on Overton Lake and onto the river as soon as we are able to.

Many thanks go to the various funders who have enabled us to purchase this electric boat:

  • The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development through the LEADER programme – Europe investing in rural areas
    Project Name: Ferry Meadows Visitor Experience Improvements.
    Project Description: To improve the facilities at Nene Park in order to enhance the visitor experience through improved signage and a new electric boat provision.
  • Augean PLC and the King’s Cliffe and Thornhaugh Environmental Associations for a grant through the Augean Community Fund
  • The Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority COVID19 Capital Grant Scheme Initiative with funding from the UK Government Local Growth Fund
  • The Bruce Wake Charitable Trust for a contribution towards the provision of a disabled lift

Signage in the Rural Estate

river running down through a bridgeBeverley, our Project Officer, started in the Autumn of 2019 and began by working hard to understand how we can best help visitors to navigate their way around the Rural Estate and plan the placement of signposts and other information to make the most of this idyllic area of Nene Park with so much history underfoot.

Work on the Rural Estate project has been completed in September 2020 and we are very much looking forward to introducing this area of the Park to visitors.  Funding from LEADER has enabled us to provide a number of directional fingerposts and information boards, to help visitors navigate their way around this largely agricultural part of the Park.

The sustainable Accoya wood signs have been designed to be in keeping with the rural landscape.  Information boards have been placed at three main access points with maps showing the walking routes and bridleways across open countryside and along river banks, which give access to the historic villages of Alwalton, Castor, Ailsworth, Sutton and Nene Valley Railway Station at Wansford.  

A series of Park Ranger led guided walks are planned later in the year, to introduce this idyllic part of the Park to visitors.  With outdoor space becoming more and more important for our health and wellbeing, we are very grateful to LEADER for funding this project which has provided us with an opportunity to improve areas of the wider Park for visitors to enjoy.