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BFER Newsletter 5th Edition October 2021

View this email in your browser BFER NEWSLETTER 5th EDITION – October 2021 Welcome to the BFER newsletter   Hello! And welcome to the October newsletter. Autumn is here, and even though I’m not sure I’m ready to say goodbye to summer, we can’t wait to capture, and celebrate the wonderful rivers and wildlife in the […]

5th EDITION – October 2021

Welcome to the BFER newsletter


Hello! And welcome to the October newsletter.

Autumn is here, and even though I’m not sure I’m ready to say goodbye to summer, we can’t wait to capture, and celebrate the wonderful rivers and wildlife in the Brecks during this beautiful season. Join us on Instagram to share your best pics.

It’s been another busy month for our partners planning and delivering a wide range of projects, some of which are highlighted in this month’s update. You can find even more updates on our project pages here:

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

Our partners have been incredibly busy this month, here are just a few highlights to celebrate key project milestones.

1.6 Lost Ponds: Reinstating Ghost Pingos


On Monday 27th September, the first day of restoring ghost pingo ponds on Thompson Common began The work is being led by Norfolk Wildlife Trust on their newly acquired Watering Farm land, and is supported by Carl Sayer and colleagues from UCL, as well as local Geologist Tim Holt-Wilson, Archaeologist David Robinson and many other skilled volunteers. Pingo ponds were created at the end of the last ice age. As the ice formed, fed by underground uprisings of water, hard lenses of ice were created that pressed into the ground, with soil over the top of them. These eroded to form raised ramparts around the pond. When things warmed up it caused the lenses to melt forming a circular depression filled with water – a pingo pond.
The excavation of the first pingo pond went well and discoveries were found including animal bones and burnt flint. Further investigation will take place to see what seeds and organic matter remain from when the pond was intact.

This project aims to map, understand and recreate the ghost pingos lost from the Brecks Fen Edge and Rivers landscape area, enabling species expansion and movement across the countryside.

Read more about the project here

2.2 Tales from the River


Set in the beautiful Engine House at Brandon Country Park we had our second Tales from the River event with talks and an introduction to Oral History training session provided by Suffolk Archives. 

This project aims to uncover a wide range of local stories about the Brecks Fen Edge and rivers including oral histories, myths and legends. If you have any stories relating to the rivers in the Brecks then please get in touch: 

3.6 Supporting Sustainability
During September we hosted the first of our Basic QGIS training sessions. Through the Supporting Sustainability programme, and together with Exegesis, we are looking to train people of all experience levels on how to use free-to-download QGIS mapping. 

We are running 5 basic training sessions; 3 of which happened in September, with the other 2 running in October. Once these sessions have finished, we hope to start our Intermediate QGIS training sessions. Priority will be given to those who have already taken part in our introductory sessions and signed up, and those who are associated with BFER projects and partners and if we have spaces available we will advertise further afield.

See below some feedback from our recent training sessions:

‘It was brilliant, tailored for every need’  ‘I found the basic QGIS training very useful, and it was good to be able to go at our own pace’  ‘I felt that I had learned a great deal and want to learn more’

4.4 Healing Waters

Photo credit: Morz Marlow

The photos above show the last Outdoor Swimming event of the season, held once again at Lynford Waters with the kind permission of Forestry England. This event was very successful with just over 80 people attending including 20 children. Volunteers and lifeguards gave an insightful and engaging briefing teaching children and adults how to float to stay safe when out swimming.

Our outdoor swimming event season has finished for this year. Over the past 12 months, we have held 4 Introduction To Outdoor Swimming events, with over 300 people attending. These events have been held at Thorpe Woodlands, Jubilee Fields (Mildenhall) and Lynford Waters. During this time, we also trained 11 people to be Open Water Lifeguards who have then come along to volunteer at our events. Our thanks go out to all the volunteers that contributed to making these events such a success!

These events wouldn’t be possible without Imogen Radford who has organised and promoted each outdoor swimming event. Special thanks also to David Ebbs and the volunteer lifeguards who have made every attendee feel comfortable and safe in the water.

4 events 324 people introduced to outdoor swimming 11 open water lifeguards trained 

Upcoming Events

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


In October, Kevin Marshall (Positive Steps Fitness) will be offering two Nordic Walking Taster Sessions – Wednesday 13th October: 2pm and 3:30pm at West Stow Anglo-Saxon Village. If you’ve ever wondered if Nordic Walking might be for you and want to do something different to get healthy this might be just the thing for you! Booking will open shortly, please see our website for details. Following these taster sessions, Kevin will be offering a full 6-week training course at West Stow which will run every Wednesday from 20th October to 24th November.

Also at West Stow, on Wednesday 27th October, Sue Whitton (The Craft Room Lavenham), will be delivering Willow Fish workshops. Take the plunge and have a go at making your own willow fish; a chance to find out more about this wonderful material and how it can be used.


Further ahead, we will be joining with the NHS and many other wonderful partners to support the Spotlight on Thetford event on 28th November. At this unique health and wellbeing event, BFER will be hosting riverside activities to support physical and mental wellbeing. Come down and join us at Thetford riverside where Jon Tyler will be hosting drop-in workshops on Seasonal Celebration Crafts made with local, natural materials, Michelle Jermy will be leading grounding breathwork and guided meditation sessions and Bush Adventures UK will be offering drop-in canoeing and axe-throwing. There really will be something for everyone!

Keep an eye on our website for more engagement and wellbeing activities in the months ahead which are set to include guided walks, greenwood spoon carving, water dowsing workshops and lots more.

BFER Events

Nordic Walking Taster Sessions: 13th October
Happening at West Stow Anglo Saxon Village
For more info visit our website

Archaeology Geophysics: 18th October – 29th October
To sign up click here

Willow Fish Workshop: 27th October
Happening at West Stow Anglo Saxon Village 
For more info visit our website

Spotlight on Thetford: 28th November
Various events happening across Thetford

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

Volunteer Opportunities

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

Brecks’ Fen Edge and Rivers LP – Events Volunteers

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

For more information on the opportunities visit:

Upcoming Opportunities:

Brecks’ Fen Edge and Rivers Archaeology – Geophysics Volunteer Opportunity. Recruiting stars mid-September. Join our mailing list or follow us on social media to sign up.

West Stow Anglo-Saxon Village and Country Park – Woodland Conservation Volunteer Opportunity. Details coming soon.

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

Are you going to Norwich Science Fair?
We will have a stall at Norwich Science Fair so come and say hi!

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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 latest video here:

Open Water Lifeguard Training May 2021

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