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BFER Newsletter 1st Edition June 2021

View this email in your browser BFER NEWSLETTER 1ST EDITION – JUNE 2021 Welcome to our first newsletter Hello! And welcome to the first edition of the Brecks Fen Edge & Rivers Landscape Partnership Scheme’s newsletter. We’re going to trial producing this newsletter on a monthly basis, so that we can make this a really […]


Welcome to our first newsletter

Hello! And welcome to the first edition of the Brecks Fen Edge & Rivers Landscape Partnership Scheme’s newsletter.

We’re going to trial producing this newsletter on a monthly basis, so that we can make this a really useful source of information on all things relating to the Brecks Fen Edge & Rivers landscape heritage.

We will include updates on all aspects of the Scheme, including project delivery reports in the ‘Project Focus’ section, an ‘Events’ section to signpost what we hope will be a wide range of exciting events and activities for all ages, interests, and abilities. There will also be other interesting snippets and links to partners activities and volunteering opportunities in the Scheme area and wider Brecks.

The first year of this scheme has seen an unprecedented change in our ability to deliver much of what we had hoped to do, and this newsletter was one of the outputs that had to take a back seat. Despite this, the BFER delivery team, (we will introduce ourselves properly in the next newsletter), has been able to set up the Scheme admin and support, develop good working relationships with all our partners, and gel as a team while working from home. All being well though, we hope to be back in our office at the Carnegie in Thetford soon.

Year 1 Highlights

The Scheme has been busy however, with events and volunteers active in early 2020 bringing impressive River Lark Channel Restoration works delivered by the River Lark Catchment Partnership, and our ‘Outdoor Swimming’ element of the Healing Waters: Breathe in the Brecks project delivering a well-attended landowner workshop, followed by a great ‘Introduction to Outdoor Swimming’ event later in early autumn. The Environment Agency have also been busy this year with a major engineering project getting underway at Brandon Staunch to install a new fish pass and canoe pass.

Many of our partners have also been looking at new ways of delivering activities, and many have found their way online, including an introduction to the Brecks’ Fen Edge & Rivers Landscape Partnership Scheme’s ‘Hidden Heritage: discovering Geology and Archaeology’ project, produced by Geologist Tim Holt-Wilson, which led the way during the first lockdown.

The Breckland Society have also delivered a very successful seminar series on Anglo Saxon and Viking East Anglia and Reading the Anglo Saxon and Viking Landscape. A third event ‘Digging Deeper’ has provided an invaluable resource for volunteers wanting to explore the many and varied sources of archaeological and historical information which can be accessed online and used to inform research projects.

Meetings, training events and partnership workshops have also been delivered online when face-to-face was not allowed or possible. Most notaby ones include ‘Supporting Sustainability’ workshops on developing partnerships, working online and external funding, and Citizen Science: Testing the Water, which has trained in excess of 50 volunteers (including the BFER team) in testing lakes, ponds, rivers, streams and ditches in the Brecks for Phosphates and Nitrogen.

I hope you enjoy reading this, and would like to encourage you to provide feedback on content, submit ideas and articles, or links to relevant activities in the Scheme area by contacting

BFER Scheme Manager

Project Focus

Although lots of projects have been incredibly busy this year, here are a few highlights to celebrate key project milestones.

1.1 – River Lark Channel Restoration

On 14th March 2020 17 members of the RLCP worked on restoring part of the river by Fuller’s Mill, West Stow. They are hoping to return the river to it’s natural shape and width by creating bends and narrowing the river with artificial banks. These are made out of wooden posts which are hammered into the river bed, with branches woven between. Silt will deposit first on the new structure, and then bigger river debris, along with river flora, which will all in time establish the new bank.

Read more about the project here

1.3 – Little Ouse River Improvement

Click the image to watch our update video on the construction happening over at Brandon Staunch.

This project will construct a single flight Larinier fish pass that will also provide passage for canoes.

Read more about the project here

4.4 Healing Waters: Breathe in The Brecks

On 11th March 2020 a group of 40 attended a BFER workshop to share useful advice and information, look at issues from the point of view of both landowners and swimmers, and see how BFER might be able to bring us all together to work for positive outcomes around outdoor swimming and safety. This workshop comprised of 3 national landowners, 20 local landowners/land managers, 12 local authority representatives and 5 swimmers. It included presentations and a field trip hosted by Forestry England.
On 13th September 2020 64 swimmers took part in BFER’s Introduction to Wild/Outdoor Swimming event with Imogen Radford. 11 volunteers helped facilitate the event which was supervised by lifeguard David Ebbs and his team of junior lifeguards.

The session aimed to teach people how to swim outdoors safely and give them confidence, as part of Breathe in the Brecks.

Read more about the project here

4.6 – 3rd Party Grant Fund

Bury St Edmunds Trout Club Grant Awarded

We were fortunate to have beautiful spring weather when we met up with members of the Bury St Edmunds Trout Club at West Stow Country Park to discuss their project ‘Rewilding the Lark.’ Through BFER’s 3rd Party Grant Fund, this project has been awarded a £2,500 grant.

‘Rewilding the Lark in the Park′ is a project to improve the habitat and environment of the River Lark as it passes through 1.6 km of West Stow Country Park. The project is also supported by Keep Britain Tidy, West Suffolk Council and Suffolk Wildlife Trust as members of the River Lark Catchment Partnership (RLCP).

Read about our visit here

Another project supported through our 3rd party grants is the creation of several new dragonfly/amphibian pools at the BTO’s reserve in Thetford. The work will help maintain wetness in an area that has been steadily drying over the years, and we are eager to see how the pools develop and who or what will take up residence.”

If you’d like to discuss your project idea with a member of the team, would like more information, or to be added to our mailing list email:

BFER Events

Open Water Lifeguard Training Days
16th, 23rd, 29th May
We are hosting a three day training course for an open water lifeguard qualification.

Introduction to Open Water Swimming
6th June
A FREE taster session: intro to enjoying water safely with care for environment. Learn how to look out for risks and to keep yourself safe

Brecks Heritage Schools Digital Network Event
Free CPD opportunities for primary teachers

Volunteer Opportunities

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

River Lark Catchment Partnership

Breckland Society

West Stow Country Park

Thetford Town Council Conservation Group

Norfolk Wildlife Trust

Freshwater Habitats Trust

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

Have you seen our new website? Click the photo to view it!

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Are you subscribed to us on YouTube?

We will be creating more video content this year so make sure to subscribe to us on YouTube and hit the notification bell!

While we are out filming videos for you, you can watch our River Raiders Seminars presented by Dr Richard Hoggett hosted by the Breckland Society.

Seminar 1:
Seminar 2:
Seminar 3: