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BFER August Newsletter 2023

Welcome to the August newsletter from all at the BFER partnership.

Although I still feel like I’m waiting for summer to settle in properly, it’s August already. And the school holidays are upon us. We’ve been super-busy in July talking to schools and young people about careers and project engagement opportunities, and will now be focussing on a variety of other activities while teachers and young people enjoy their summer break.


August 2023

Welcome to the BFER newsletter

Welcome to the August newsletter from all at the BFER partnership.

Although I still feel like I’m waiting for summer to settle in properly, it’s August already. And the school holidays are upon us. We’ve been super-busy in July talking to schools and young people about careers and project engagement opportunities, and will now be focussing on a variety of other activities while teachers and young people enjoy their summer break.

BFER summer activities will include opportunities for Health and wellbeing at West Stow such as Yoga, Forest Bathing, meditation, as well as watercolour workshops. Other events such as poetry workshops and nature walks will be happening at a variety of other location – see the events listing below.

As a team we accepted a kind invite to have a look at the new Rendlesham Revealed exhibition at Sutton Hoo in July. It complements the existing exhibits really well, and celebrates that huge impact of volunteers and community engagement really well, which was great inspiration for us.

We also attended Abbeygate Sixth Form and spoke to several classes and more than 70 students about the huge variety of job roles within the BFER partnership, sign posting opportunities for heritage careers and signing many up for work experience within the partnership (any partners who would like to offer a BFER supported work placement this year or next are encouraged to get in touch!)

As part of this Youth Training and careers strand, out partners at Bush Adventures are also actively recruiting for placement on our youth training programme, with many places still available. More information can be found in the ‘In Other News’ section below.

The Wider partnership have also been busy engaging with us as we start to look at legacy and future opportunities for the Brecks landscape in our Brecks Options Study.  Following an introductory event at the end of June, and a workshop on 25th July about how we look after the Brecks in the future. Updates on this process will be posted here:

BFER Scheme Manager

In this months edition


Project Focus

1.2 – Sea to Chalk: Restoring Sea Trout & Eels

For the second successive year, the Environment Agency are supporting The Brecks’ Fen Edge & Rivers Landscape Partnership by providing elvers for the annual ‘Eels in the Classroom’ or ’Eels on Wheels’ project. Delivered by the Norfolk Rivers Trust, the project aims to educate children on the life cycle of the European Eel, an iconic Fenland fish species which is now critically endangered.In early June Ursula Juta, Senior Project Officer at Norfolk Rivers Trust, met Fisheries Officer Paul Wilkanowski on site to collect 30 elvers which would then spend the next few weeks visiting 6 schools across the Brecks area within Norfolk and Suffolk, as part of an education programme, before being released back into the river to continue their onward upstream migration.

In addition, the Trust will develop education packs celebrating the amazing lifecycle of eels, and the important role they play in Brecks biodiversity and local history. Additional support will help schools set up aquariums in schools to create a lasting focus for learning about our rivers and aquatic life.

We have 1 space available for schools to apply for a funded aquarium in their school, if you would like to know more, please email:

2.4 – River Raiders

As the successful ‘The Vikings; history on your doorstep’ exhibition closes at Ancient House Museum in Thetford, a 360-degree tour is being created to continue to make this fascinating story accessible online, and BFER partners the Breckland Society publish the much-anticipated, and fascinating research report ‘River Raiders: Anglo-Saxon and Viking Breckland’, which features a new walking trail around the town.

With research workshops and report editing undertaken by Dr Richard Hoggett, the report is the result of many dedicated volunteers undertaking new research into the Anglo-Saxon and Viking history, bringing the discoveries together in a 128-page report that will be available in hard-copy (while stocks last) and online on the website, and that of the Breckland Society.

Head over to our website to view a PDF version of the booklet:

3.6 – Supporting Placement & Youth Training

On the 7 July 2023, Nick and Tracy from BFER went ‘back to school’ to meet over 85 biology and history students from Abbeygate Sixth Form College in Bury Saint Edmunds. Time was spent providing information about the BFER project and careers in Heritage. Students were able to sign up to volunteering and work experience opportunities and find out more about their local Brecks heritage.

Are you interested in volunteering or work experience with us?
Get in touch: or

Also, check out our new career profiles page over on our website, featuring career profile cards from lots of our partners and the routes they took in their career.

4.2 – Celebrating River Heritage

Photo credit: Imogen Radford

It was great at to be Ancient House Museum last month with the team, a variety of BFER partners and VIPs for the Launch of the fascinating new exhibition ‘Made by The River’, as part of our Celebrating Brecks Heritage project.

Made by the River tells the engaging story of the town’s old riverside industries from the 1800s to the 1980s. Displays featuring evocative names such as Fison’s fertilizers, Burrell’s steam engines and Bidwells brewery conjure up the sights, sounds and smells of the town’s rich industrial heritage.

The Tales from the Riverbank exhibition, created by the history clubs, will be at the museum 1-9 September. It complements the industrious history by telling the story of recreation in the rivers of Thetford and the Brecks.

For more information and to visit, click here:

Also don’t forget to check out the list of events below happening at the Ancient House Museum.

4.4 – Healing Waters: Breathe in the Brecks

20 August 2023
Intro to basic life-saving for families and children, youth groups & adults
Lynford or an alternative venue to be confirmed.

During a 90 minute session you will learn ways to keep yourself and others safe when swimming in or visiting inland waters:
• in water – self-survival, floating, reach/throw/wade rescue, rope throwing
• on dry land – how & when to call for help, water safety, recovery position, rescue techniques.

You need to be able to swim a bit and to not mind being splashed! For over sevens, though younger children can come as part of a family or youth group.

Booking: Adults and 13+, 9.45:;
Families and children and youth groups 11.45:
Extra sessions will be arranged in the afternoon once these are full.

4.5 – Volunteer & Engagement Programme

‘A Rubbish Art Exhibition’

In July, Drake Primary School (Thetford) helped to highlight the importance of keeping our rivers tidy by hosting an exhibition about litter pollution. With the support of BFER, 360 pupils participated in creative workshops to make art works for the exhibition, which was displayed in a gallery in Thetford town centre and visited by over forty members of the public. Pupils learnt willow weaving techniques with artists from the creative duo Willow Phoenix, to make large natural sculptures inspired by river wildlife. Litter collected locally by Thetford River Group was incorporated into the sculptures, as well as used to inspire and create a range of other sculptures and paintings. BFER’s 360-degree camera was used by pupils to capture a film of the River Little Ouse, which was displayed along with recordings of the pupil’s songs, poems, and soundscapes about caring for our rivers.

If you are a teacher at a school in the Brecks and would like to find out more about ways to engage your pupils in the BFER project, we’d love to hear from you! Email the team at: 


A Rubbish Art Exhibition – Thetford (Walkthrough)

In Other News

BFER are partnering with the Restoration Trust to launch a new job opportunity:  

Heritage Link worker-Bury St Edmunds 

This exciting new role will be hosted by the Restoration Trust in partnership with BFER. The post holder will assist both organisations to facilitate social prescribing to engage people with the heritage and nature of the Brecks, for the benefit of their mental health and wellbeing.

£14 per hour for 15 hours per week, September 2023 – May 2024

For more information, and to apply, visit: 

BFER Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteer with us!

We are looking for volunteers to join us, see a list of our current opportunities:

BFER Blogger Volunteer – BFER is launching a new blog as part of its website and is seeking Blogging Volunteers to assist in writing engaging articles and content. BFER will use blog posts to reach both new and existing audiences. The BFER Blog will report on the diverse range of exciting heritage, wildlife, wellbeing, and art projects and events taking place across the BFER scheme.

BFER PR & Social Media Volunteer – We are looking for a driven PR & Social Media Volunteer to attract and interact with new and existing audiences. Volunteers should have a solid understanding of how each social media channel works and how to optimize content so that it is engaging on those channels.

BFER Video Editor Volunteer – Can you create and edit videos suitable for websites and social media? We are looking for a video editors to help create, edit and deliver content for our social media platforms, YouTube and Website.

BFER Events & Activities Helper – Events and Activities Helpers assist with one-off BFER events and activity opportunities throughout the year. Participants of these events hugely benefit from and value their interactions with volunteers. Volunteers serve as a ‘friendly face’ representing BFER: engaging visitors and participants, and generally being warm and helpful.

If you are interested in any of the above volunteer roles, please get in touch:

Spotlight on Volunteering

Last month, volunteers joined forces to help conserve the Brecks heathland of Barnhamcross Common. Volunteers from Thetford Conservation Group, Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, and Get Involved Norfolk, joined the BFER team and Thetford Town Council to help remove ragwort from the Common.

Ragwort is a plant that thrives in dry, open areas such as heathlands. The plant itself is poisonous, and therefore is naturally avoided by grazing animals (which are used to help manage vegetation). Barnhamcross Common, like many Brecks heathlands, is reliant on its very short vegetation, in which many unique and nationally rare Breckland species survive. Without management and control of a variety of other, more vigorous species (such as ragwort, gorse and bracken), these rare species would quickly become overwhelmed.

To help conserve the heathland habitat, volunteers assisted in removing ragwort plants by hand. This prevented the need for damaging chemical interventions, while helping to keep the plants to more manageable levels.

If you are interested in getting involved in conservation work in the Brecks, we’d love to hear from you! Email the team at:

Upcoming Events

We are really excited to share with you some of the wonderful outdoor events and activities that are in the pipeline.

BFER Events

Wellbeing at West Stow 

Adult sessions: 

Don’t miss out on your chance to relax and unwind at West Stow Country Park this August, with the last week of our Wellbeing at West Stow series! 8th – 12th August

Experience the beautiful ancient landscape of the country park at a range of unique mindful sessions. With sessions for both beginners and those with previous experience, enjoy a range of outdoor yoga, meditation, forest bathing, and sound bathing. At each of these sessions, you will have the unique opportunity to experience the tranquillity of the country park and Anglo-Saxon village in a new way (including special early morning and evening session!). Connect with nature, slow down, relax, and discover mindfulness techniques with friendly and welcoming sessions led by experienced instructors. These sessions are perfect for anyone who wants to try something different, have a go, and reduce feelings of stress. Booking required. To find out more, visit:

Childrens Summer Yoga and Mindfulness camps: 

Young people aged 7 to 12 are invited to join some special event days this summer at West Stow Country Park. Three themed event days are available, helping promote mindfulness for young people through fun and engaging activities including yoga, games, riddles, quizzes, and crafts.

Each event day is 10am-3pm, and free of charge to participants with thanks to the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
The Enchanted Forest: August 1st, 10am-3pm
I Do Like to Be Beside the Seaside: August 2nd, 10am-3pm
Hakuna Matata: August 3rd, 10am-3pm
Booking required. For more information and to book, visit:

Celebrate the summer and connect with our Anglo-Saxon ancestors at a range of drumming sessions this August at West Stow Anglo-Saxon village.

Monday 31st July to Sunday 6th August, 3pm: Experience a ‘drum circle’, a special communal drumming activity, in the ancient setting of West Stow Anglo-Saxon village

Tuesday 1st August, 8pm: Experience the summer super full moon and discover the Anglo-Saxon village out-of-hours at a special atmospheric evening drum circle

Wednesday 2nd August, and Thursday 3rd August, 11am: Join a fun, family musical workshop inspired by the sounds of the river.

Other events: 

Friday 18th August: Aromatic Adventure sensory guided walk, West Stow Country Park

Saturday 19th August: Words on Water Wildlife poetry workshop, West Stow Country Park

Friday 25th August: Dusk to Dark Guided Bat Walk, Knettishall Heath

Saturday 26th August: Dragonfly guided walk, West Stow Country Park

Sunday 27th August: Words on Water poetry workshop, Thetford & Brandon

Find out more information at 

Ancient House Museum Events

Work Experience opportunity for 16-25s in September/October 2023
Their Finest Hour: a unique work experience opportunity from Norfolk Museums, Thetford Library and the University of Oxford!
We are seeking applications from 16-25 year olds to work alongside industry experts collecting and recording local WW2 history data for Oxford University’s national digital archive project ‘Their Finest Hour’.
Participants will learn transferable workplace skills like communication, interacting with visitors, teamworking and data inputting, and gain an overview of museum working practices.
They will learn how to photograph historical objects and record oral histories contributed by local people.

Most sessions will take place online on Wednesdays 4pm-5.30 from 6 Sept to 18 October.
The public collection event will be all day in Thetford on 21 October. Participants are expected to attend all sessions and public transport costs will be covered.
If you are interested please email

Other Ancient House Museum Events

Knit and Knatter
First Tuesday of the month 10am to 12 noon: Come and knit, natter and enjoy a tea or coffee and a biscuit. You can bring along your own knitting or crochet or get involved in one of our projects.

Mardle and Make
First Tuesday of the month 2pm to 4pm: Bring your craft projects and spend some time working on them in good company with a cup of tea or coffee and a biscuit.

History Club
Every Wednesday during term time from 4-5.15pm: After-school club for children aged 6 to 11 years old.

Teenage History Club
Every Friday during term time from 4-6pm: Free after school club for teenagers aged 12 and over.

Heritage Open Day: Made by the River
Saturday 9 September 2023, 10am to 5pm

First World War in Thetford
Tuesday 24 October 2023, 10am to 4.30pm: Discover the industries along the rivers in Thetford and how they contributed to the war effort.

Second World War in Thetford
Saturday 24 February 2024, 10am to 3.30pm: Discover Thetford’s important role in the Second World War and find out why Churchill’s secret papers came to Thetford.

Family Trails at Ancient House Museum of Thetford Life
10am to 4pm
Included in museum admission: Adults: £5.70; Concession:* £5.50; Child: £4.80; Adult in a family group: £5.20; Twilight (last hour before closing): £2
Click here to book

Made by the River Trail
Saturday 22 July to Friday 8 September 2023: Fill your boat with cargo made in Thetford to win a small prize.

First World War Trail
Saturday 21 October to Thursday 23 November 2023: Find our Burrell G Company Frist World War soldiers hidden in the museum to win a small prize.

For more information on the events & to book: Click here to view our events page

Do you have an event you would like us to promote on our newsletter, on our website, or across our social media pages?

Please complete the form for us to share your event:

Event detail form

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