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BFER January Newsletter 2023

View this email in your browser Download as a PDF BFER NEWSLETTER January 2023 Welcome to the BFER newsletter Welcome to the first newsletter of 2023!  I am delighted to be writing the intro for the first newsletter of what is destined to be another exciting year for the BFER partnership, and hopefully all those […]

January 2023

Welcome to the BFER newsletter

Welcome to the first newsletter of 2023! 

I am delighted to be writing the intro for the first newsletter of what is destined to be another exciting year for the BFER partnership, and hopefully all those people taking part in, and volunteering for our projects. 

As the partnership board and I digest the mid-term evaluation report for the scheme, completed in December, I’m pleased to say that it shows that despite the impact of Covid on the first 2 years, the partnership has made great progress in making up for lost time. I know that this momentum will continue to develop this year. 

As well as reporting on the wide range of great Christmas activities that took place last month, this newsletter will look forward to an even bigger programme of events and activities and more new opportunities to get involved and celebrate the Brecks coming on-line. These include: 

  • Viking history of the Brecks teachers’ CPD sessions coming up at the end of Jan 

  • A Celebration of Suffolk ‘s nature exhibition celebrating the Brecks at ‘The Hold’ in Ipswich – Opening early February, including an open day event in March 18th 

  • Work starting on the Iron Age Round House at West Stow Anglo Saxon Village in the Spring. 

  • Digital Heritage Wi-Fi Hotspots launching around the Brecks in the Spring – more to come in the February Newsletter. 

  • Brecks walks as part of the Suffolk Walking Festival in May 

  • Following the Santa run at Christmas, more runs are planned for 2023 including a Marathon at Euston Estate. 

  • Industrious Rivers Exhibition taking over from Viking Exhibition in late summer 

I hope you enjoy reading about some more of our outputs and plans in this month’s newsletter.  

Please note we hope to have a copy of the mid-term report on the website shortly for those who’d like to find out more about the first half of the scheme. 

BFER Scheme Manager


Project Focus

2.2 – Tales from the River

The activities at the Riverbank project were inclusive, fun, and family-friendly for everyone of all ages to enjoy. Some of the activities that were the most popular were the arts and crafts section where people would create their own underwater world in a plastic bottle! There was glue, paper,  and tissue paper in every crevice. Another popular section was the photographs using a polaroid camera you dressed up as a Thetford fisherman! All in Thetford library, it was one to not miss.  The Brecks Riverbank Project was that of high success and infatuation. Working on the project has provided me and local communities the opportunity to come together in a time where that is all too rare in this day and age, I have met some brilliant people across the project, and has no doubt inspired me to do this again! 

Rebecca Hardy 

UEA student 2nd year 


3.1 – Citizen Science: Testing the Water

As part of this project we would like to add to our knowledge more information of frogs and toads in the Brecks area. We are looking for volunteers or anyone who is out and about in the Brecks to keep an eye out for these amphibians and log your results as we head into spring. We’re asking you to record both toad and frog spawn in your garden ponds, local community ponds, and any ponds you come across in your adventures in the countryside. 

This will run from now until May 2023 and you can log your results here on the Freshwater Habitats Trust website: 

4.5 – Volunteer Hub & Engagement

BFER had a festive December, hosting a series of seasonal events and activities. Riverside foliage was carefully foraged at our event Festive Wild Crafts and turned into Christmas wreaths and stars. A Volunteer Celebration event was held for volunteers from across the BFER project, with 47 attendees enjoying talks, stalls, and festive refreshments. Run Breckland held their final run of 2022, the Thetford Santa Run, which welcomed 200 participants (many of whom were in impressive fancy dress) for a 5k run exploring the riverside and historical town centre of Thetford.  

#Breathe in the Brecks

This month we want to start focussing more on the Health and wellbeing opportunities you can gain from participating in the BFER as a volunteer or someone who takes part in events OR just takes inspiration from what this partnership is doing to discover the Brecks’ heritage for themselves. 

2023 is the Chinese year of the rabbit. Very apt for the Brecks which has an incredible relationship with rabbits. Not only the historic tradition of warrening, but also the close relationship of some of the rarest Brecks species with the habitats created by their grazing of the grasslands and disturbance of our sandy soils. There’s lot of information out there about this relationship, including the Warreners Tales on our YouTube Channel (see video below), and the 4.5 mile Warren Trail, which forms part of a series of fascinating heritage walks in the Brecks on the Norfolk trails website here: . Why not check them out and let us know your thoughts, and how you got on? 

Over the coming months we want to really celebrate the positive aspects of getting out in nature and engaging with heritage in all of it many forms, and we hope to invite participants and partners to share their experiences along the way. Look out for this slot in next month’s newsletter, and if you have stories or experiences to share, please do get in touch with us at  

Also share with us your photos of the Brecks you have taken out and about for a chance to be featured in our next newsletter! 


Our Partners below are recruiting volunteers for a variety of exciting projects in the Brecks:

Bush Adventures UK – Events Volunteers and Garden Volunteers

Charles Burrell Museum – Front of House Volunteer, Main Display Area Guide, Café Staff and Engine Specific Volunteer

Tales from the River – Research Volunteer

Run Breckland  Volunteer Marshals

Little Ouse Headwaters Project (LOHP) – Practical Conservation Volunteer

The Icknield Way Association – Officers and Wardens

The River Lark Catchment Partnership – Volunteer Opportunities

Thetford Town Council – Conservation Volunteers

For more information on the opportunities visit:

If you are recruiting volunteers in the Brecks area and would like to advertise your opportunities here, please email:

Upcoming Events

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


Vikings of the Brecks KS2 Teacher CPD Workshop

Join BFER this month for a KS2 Teacher CPD workshop to discover more about the history of Vikings in the Brecks.  

BFER has collaborated with local theatre company, Magic Floor Productions, who have developed a KS2 education pack about the history of Vikings in the Brecks. The packs have been developed in line with the National Curriculum and will cover six key themes, from who the Vikings were and what everyday life was like in Viking society, to Viking invasions of East Anglia and notable Brecks Vikings. Pupils will learn through an exciting combination of history, drama, and creative writing, and each school involved will receive a school visit from the theatre company.  

We are inviting Year 6 leads (or teachers from other KS2 year groups covering the topic of Vikings), head teachers, and curricular leads to attend an introductory CPD session,  

Thursday 26th January 4.30pm-5.30pm, at the Guildhall in Thetford. The session will be delivered by Magic Floor Productions and will introduce the themes of the education packs. It will be free of charge for schools to take part in both the CPD session, and to subsequently be involved with the education packs, with thanks to the support of the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Spaces are limited, and so registration is required.  

To find out more information, or to RSVP contact: 

BFER Events

Winter Youth Photography Workshop – 4th February 
An opportunity for children aged 10-16 years to join us at West Stow Country Park and explore the beautiful landscape in this seasonal photography workshop with local photographer; Phil Morley. 

Winter Photography Workshop for Adults – 5th February
Join us at West Stow Country Park to develop your photography skills in this seasonal photography workshop with local photographer; Phil Morley. 

See our winter talks programme below for events coming in 2023

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

Winter Talks Programme
Dates for your diaries
Join BFER next year for an exciting series of Winter Talks at the Guildhall, Thetford.

Thursday 2nd February, 7pm-8pm:
Nicola Crockford: A portal into another world: snorkelling the chalk streams of the Brecks and Fens
During the 2020 lock down, Nicola Crockford began to explore a whole new world when she took to snorkelling the rivers near her West Suffolk home. Here she will share some of her discoveries: Brown Trout to Brook Lampreys, freshwater sponges to leeches and jewellery hoard to human skull.
Thursday 16th February, 7pm-8pm:
Dr Richard Hoggart: “Wonderful Things”: Howard Carter and the Discovery of Tutankhamun
Marking the centenary of the official opening of the burial chamber within Tutankhamun’s tomb, this lecture tells the story of Howard Carter and one of the greatest archaeological discoveries ever made. The son of a Swaffham artist, Carter was inspired by visits to the Egyptian collections at nearby Didlington Hall and went on to forge a career in Egyptology, throughout which he doggedly pursued the tomb of the boy-king.
Thursday 2nd March, 7pm-8pm:
Entomologist, Dr Ross Piper: Bugs in the Brecks
From wasps that are much smaller than a full-stop, all the way up to hand-sized beetles, insects are far and away the most diverse animals on the planet. In this talk, Ross Piper invites you to take a closer look at these endlessly fascinating lifestyles of these creatures, including some of the species you can see in the Brecks

Keep an eye out on our BFER events page on our website or social media pages to find out more about the winter talks programme

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While we are out filming videos for you, you can watch our latest video here:

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