Repairs, improvements and fencing - Chris Rollason, Deputy Park Manager

We are pleased to say that after all the flooding and difficult ground conditions at the start of the year, our contractor was finally able to gain access to the riverbank near Water Newton lock and has managed to repair the breach and reinstate the footpath. We have received some good feedback on the work that has been completed and the footpath is now fully accessible again to the public.

We continue to try and improve access across the Rural Estate and have plans to replace the last Nene Park owned stile with a hand gate very soon. We are also in talks with the Environment Agency and Peterborough City Council to try and resolve ownership of the footbridge that crosses the Weir between Water Newton and Wansford. We are aware there is a need for some improvements to this bridge and we have already had assurance from the Public Rights of Way Officer that the inaccessible stiles at either end of the bridge will be replaced with hand gates soon.

In preparation for cattle coming on site as part of the share farming scheme, Rangers have been busy carrying out various repairs and improvements to signs, fences and gates as well as tidying up debris from the winter flooding. On top of this there are plans to install some new cattle fencing along the riverbank of the Tumuli Field (south of Normangate Fields), similar to what has been installed next to the riverbank near Sutton. This is part of a joint initiative between Nene Park Trust and the Peterborough & District Angling Association with funding from the Wildlife Trust. The reason for the fencing is to protect the riverbank from cattle poaching (a legal requirement) and will allow the bank to recover and re-vegetate which will be beneficial to the river and its wildlife. Hand gates will be installed so fishermen and the public can still access the riverbank.

Share Farming - Craig and Ryan Baxter, Farmers

The inaugural lambing period on Nene Park Trust’s Rural Estate marks a very exciting step forward in the Share Farming Partnership between ourselves and Nene Park Trust. Ewes have given birth outdoors, unaided and naturally in most cases. The barn on the Rural Estate at Castor has seen some repairs and renovation and has been put to good use, housing ewes and lambs that required monitoring and a little extra care.

Notably, one ewe did in fact give birth to four lambs – quite unusual when ewes are expected to give birth to and raise just two lambs each. The four lambs are all alive and well, albeit two of these are now under the care of other ewes to ensure they can be properly fed and supported as they grow. With just a handful ewes left to lamb, the attention begins to turn to the months ahead, with the pasture at Castor and Ailsworth full of the joys of spring with 250 new mothers and their 400 or so lambs!

There has been a great level of engagement, with people making the most of the footpaths which cross and border the land on which the sheep are grazed. Time taken out of the day for a chat are a welcome break in what have been long days for Craig and the team – thanks to all that stopped for a hello!
The not too distant future should also see the addition of cattle to the Share Farming enterprise and the river meadows at Normangate – more to follow on this through Nene Park’s social media channels in the week to come.

Woodlands - Chris Rollason, Deputy Park Manager

We are sad to announce that Scott Bryan, our groundsman at the Woodlands sports pitches, has left the Trust for a job much closer to home. In the short time Scott has been with the Trust he has been instrumental in getting football and cricket back playing on the pitches and has improved the grounds considerably. He also made some excellent relationships with some of the local community and he will be missed. We wish Scott all the best for the future and hope to appoint a new groundsperson very soon.

To find out more about the Rural Estate please click here.