OuseFest: Celebrate history, wildlife and habitats of Ouse Washes with fortnight of activities

PUBLISHED: 11:07 10 July 2015 | UPDATED: 11:07 10 July 2015




A packed fortnight of events will celebrate the history of the Ouse Washes, its wildlife and habitats.

OuseFest begins on Monday and offers events across the Ouse Washes Landscape and surrounding area until August 2 – from Denver to St Ives, from Ely to Chatteris.

There will be wildlife safaris, walking tours, arts and literature events, museum trails, filming workshops, family fun days and much more.

Sara Marshall, countryside engagement and marketing officer at the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership, which has organised the event, said: “We are incredibly excited about OuseFest and hope it gives you additional opportunities to connect with your local area and meet new people in your communities.”

Highlights of the two-week programme include the OuseFest fun day, at Mepal Outdoor Centre on July 25.

OuseFest - what’s on where and when

Migrant Links Exhibition – Rosmini Centre, Wisbech. July 20-24, July 27 and July 29-31; 9am-5pm.

Fen Landscapes in Glass Exhibition – The Stained Glass Museum, Ely. July 20-31; 10:30am–5pm.

Walk on the Washes – WWT Welney. July 20, July 23 and July 27; 11am-1pm.

Bug Bonanza – RSPB Fen Drayton Lakes. July 20; 11am-3pm.

Ouse Washes talk by Mike Petty – Fen Drayton Village Hall. July 20; 8.30pm.

The Catching, Cooking and Eating of Eels Installation – WWT Welney. July 21-24, July 29-August 2; 10am–4pm.

Cycle Ride on the Ouse Washes – WWT Welney. July 21; 11am-4pm.

Children go free day – WWT Welney. July 22 and July 29; 9.30am-5pm.

Pond dipping – RSPB Fen Drayton Lakes. July 22 and July 29; 10.30-11.30am and 1.30-2.30pm.

Writing the Fens: an evening with Jim Kelly, Jill Dawson and Alison Bruce – St Peter’s Church, Ely. July 22; 7.10pm.

How to film wildlife workshop – WWT Welney. July 23 and August 2; 9.30am-5pm.

Ancient human occupation of Chatteris – Chatteris Museum. July 23 and July 30, 2-4.30pm; July 25 and August 1, 10am-1pm;

The Fenland Ark: St Withburga’s The Floating Church talk – Manea Village Hall. July 23; 7-8.30pm.

Wire Sculpture Workshop with Yvette Parfett – WWT Welney. July 25; 10am-4pm

Walking Tour of Denver Sluice. July 25, noon; July 26, 10.30am-noon; July 27, 6-7.30pm.

OuseFest Fun Day – Mepal Outdoor Centre. July 25; 11am-5pm.

Manea Pit Day – Manea Pit & Pavilion. July 25; noon-4pm.

History walks – WWT Welney. July 25; 1pm and 3pm.

Wildlife film screening – WWT Welney. July 25; 6-8pm.

Bat discovery evening – Wicken Fen. July 25; 8-11pm.

Wetland safari – WWT Welney. July 26; 9.30am-5pm.

Hilgay community archaeology test pit – Dents Hilgay. July 26 and August 2; 11am.

Wind, steam & diesel family trail & fun day – Prickwillow Engine Museum, Stretham Old Engine & Wicken Fen. July 26; 11am-4.30pm.

Wildlife film room – WWT Welney. July 27-August 1; 9.30am-5pm.

OuseFest at Denver Sluice & Cambridgeshire Archaeological Unit flat earth trials – Denver Sluice. July 28; 10am-4pm.

Drainage of the Fens talk – Earith Rector’s Hall. July 29; 7-8.30pm.

RSPB discovery day – RSPB Ouse Washes. July 30; 10am-4pm.

Ouse Washes poetry workshop – WWT Welney. July 30; 1.30-3.30pm.

Words on Water: an evening of poetry readings – WWT Welney. July 30; 7.30-9.30pm.

Isle of Ely open churches trail – visiting Coveney, Sutton, Witcham and Mepal. July 31; 10am-4pm.

Children’s author Victor Watson – Ely Library. July 31; 10.30-11.30am.

The life & migration of Bewick’s & whooper swans talk – WWT Welney. July 31; 1pm.

Big Twitch Day – WWT Welney. August 1; 6am-7pm.

Wildlife film room – WWT Welney. August 1; 9.30am-5pm.

Anglo Saxon adventure – Ely Museum. August 1; 10.30am-5pm.

Beautiful butterflies – RSPB Fen Drayton Lakes. August 2; 11am-3pm.

Visitors can take part in an RSPB Treasure Hunt, get creative making mosaics or relax in the trees with story-telling.

There will be music, games, dancing and a cinema room to unwind. Learn about barn owls, discover the history of eels with an art installation and encounter different cultures.

On July 26, explore the history of drainage technology through wind, steam and diesel on a 27-mile circular trail in East Cambs, accessible by car or bike.

It takes in Prickwillow Drainage Engine Museum, Wicken Fen Wind Pump and Stretham’s Old Engine House. A map is available on the OuseFest website.

The Environment Agency holds a day of fun at Denver Sluice on July 28. Boat trips, a rowing experience and a chance to get close to eels are among the attractions.

There is also a rare chance to explore four medieval churches within the Ouse Washes Landscape area, on July 31. The churches in Coveney, Sutton, Witcham and Mepal will be open for the day.

For more information about the festival, visit www.ousewashes.org.uk/ousefest

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