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BFER November Newsletter 2023

Welcome to the November Newsletter! 
As we enjoy the changes that autumn brings to the Brecks’ landscape, the BFER partnership continues to be super-busy delivering a wide variety of innovative and exciting activities and events.



November 2023

Welcome to the BFER newsletter

Welcome to the November Newsletter!

As we enjoy the changes that autumn brings to the Brecks’ landscape, the BFER partnership continues to be super-busy delivering a wide variety of innovative and exciting activities and events. One of the highlights for me is the Biofluorescence Walks, which cast a whole new light (literally) on our fascinating landscape. These have attracted a great amount of interest, so look out for new dates coming soon.

Other activities this month include A guided River History Walk in Brandon, Lantern making, and a series of Farming support events focussing on Sustainable Farming, and funding opportunities. We also have a fully funded on-line training opportunity for BFER partners and local organisation to learn more about using Social Media effectively. See our events section for more info.

We’re also busy looking a bit further ahead with a presentation of the Brecks Future Options Study proposals on the 5th December, and a number of other events  planned before Christmas. These include a volunteer celebration event to say thanks to those people giving their time to support the scheme, and heritage activities in the Brecks, with a warm drink and a few mince pies. If you’ve done any volunteering for heritage in the Brecks for BFER or our partners – or are thinking about doing some, we look forward to seeing you there! See the events section for details.

I’m also delighted to confirm that we have successfully recruited to the vacant Project Support Officer post, with the new post holder starting mid-November. Find out more next month!

As always, I hope you enjoy this edition of our newsletter, and welcome any comments or contributions.

BFER Scheme Manager

In this months edition


Guest Blog

Discover the wonders of the Brecks!

by Zack Maskill

(Image credit: Nick Ford)

Zack Maskill, from Manchester, approached BFER recently, offering to research and write a blog post about the fascinating landscapes of the Brecks. We are thrilled to have such an interest in the Brecks far and wide, and tasked Zac to share his discoveries about what makes the Brecks so special and the importance of its natural habitats. Read Zac’s article to gain a snapshot about the brilliance of the Brecks and find out more on

To read the full blog post, click here: Discover the Wonders of the Brecks!

Project Focus

Project 1.2 Eels in the Brecks Teaching Packs

(Drake Primary School students setting up their tank ready for the fish)

It was great to see local schools setting up their own fish tanks as a resource for further learning about the Brecks aquatic habitats, following the ‘Eels on Wheels’ extension of the Eels in the Brecks project.

We are now excited to announce that we now have KS2 Teacher Packs available on our website for downloadable use as part of our Eels in the Classroom project.

Many thanks to our partners at Norfolk Rivers Trust and to the schools that took part in the project.

Find out more and access the learning resources HERE

Project 2.1 ‘Bones and Stones’ Palaeolithic Day School

On a  lovely sunny day in late September 2023 around 9am at Mildenhall Museum, a group of 40 people arrived with excitement and enthusiasm for the ‘Bones & Stones’ Palaeolithic Day School that was being led by Tim Holt -Wilson.
The morning consisted of three lectures on Palaeolithic archaeology and geographical context by Peter Watkins and Tim; these lectures were followed with a fascinating museum Palaeolithic material handling session.
Late morning the real adventure began when a coach arrived to take the participants on a day’s field trip excursion to several sites of interest (including two Palaeolithic sites) in the Brecks: West Stow, Rampart Field, Barnham, East Farm Pit where Professor Simon Lewis was there on hand to give a potted background of the sites visited; and lastly onto Lynford Hall Pit and to witness a truly wonderful exhibition of flint knapping by John Lord who was just magically sitting waiting in Lynford for all to come and see, before the coach took everyone back to Mildenhall.

A magical, interesting day out said all, as they returned tired and weary but full of knowledge and learning. This day school was part of the 2.1 Hidden Heritage project, being led by Tim Holt-Wilson. Look out for further day-schools in this series coming in the new year.

Project 2.1 ‘Beneath our Feet’: Hidden History Talk by Tim Holt-Wilson
October 2023

On the evening of 5 October 2023, there were queues snaking out the door of  the Mildenhall Museum as people arrived to hear the latest talk ‘Beneath our Feet’ –  part of a series of talks from Tim Holt-Wilson.
A fascinating evening as Tim (with the medium of photos and a PowerPoint presentation) talked through how anyone who has spent time in Norfolk cannot have failed to notice the county’s natural beauty. And yet many of us know very little about what lies beneath our feet: the geology that has shaped our county, creating many of its physical features and wildlife habitat.
Tim provided a fascinating talk with an introduction to Norfolk’s geodiversity, defined as the natural range of geological features (rocks, minerals, fossils and structures); geomorphological features (landforms and processes), soil and water features that compose and shape the physical landscape.
Keep an eye on our events page for more dates of future talks in this series.

Project 3.1
Citizen Science

The BFER team went out to visit The Damara School on 12 October 2023 for a presentation prize giving event. The rain didn’t dampen spirits and the staff and pupils were excited to be presented with a garden wildlife children’s pack. They won this prize for being nominated as being one of the best schools that were involved with water testing earlier in the year, as part of the BFER project ‘Citizen Science’.  Many thanks go to our partners in this project Freshwater Habitats Trust.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
A big thank you of course to The Damara School for all their efforts, hard work and being so willing to learn more!

Project 4.4

At the end of October, Run Breckland volunteers hosted another fantastic event with the Sapiston 5k and 10k Trail Runs. Despite the preceding heavy rain of Storm Babet, it was blue skies for the morning’s running events. The runs were organised by Run Breckland in collaboration with BFER and BFER partner, Suffolk Rights of Way.

The routes followed footpaths and byways in a loop around Sapiston and Honington, in Suffolk’s picturesque Black Bourn Valley. These included new public access routes developed specifically as running trails by Suffolk Rights of Way through the BFER project, Accessible Rivers.

Well done to all who took part, and a huge thank you to the amazing volunteers who supported the event, and the Run Breckland team.
Find out more here

4.5 – Volunteer and Engagement Programme

The Wheels on the bus go… to Lackford Lakes!

On a warm and sunny Friday in October, BFER Scheme Manager Nick, and Volunteer and Engagement Officer Nicole ventured out on an exploratory trip to Lackford Lakes SWT Reserve. BFER and partners Suffolk Wildlife Trust, are keen to promote green access routes into the countryside and to our key partner sites.

As part of the BFER scheme we will be looking to promote links between urban areas and natural Brecks landscapes and hope to offer events in 2024 that facilitate this. Nick and Nicole were joined by Amy Rushton of Suffolk Wildlife Trust, for a trip from Bury St Edmunds to Lackford Lakes Nature Reserve. Read more about their adventure HERE.

New Rainwater planters project launches in Brecks schools

This autumn, we have launched an exciting new school project about water sustainability. The Brecks is one of the driest parts of the UK, and we will be working with four primary schools to educate children about saving water to protect their local environment.

The project is being developed and delivered by landscape and garden designer Mia Witham. Mia will work with each of the four schools, who will receive a specially designed rainwater planter which will help to reduce waste rainwater. They will also provide learning opportunities to monitor rainfall, and learn about wildlife, plant care, and the Brecks landscapes.

Mia kick-started the project in October with a school assembly to pupils of Norwich Road Academy, Thetford. The pupils’ engagement was fantastic, with many keen to share their interest in caring for nature and the environment.
Find out more HERE

Fungi, Biofluorescence, and candle making fun!

In October, BFER took part in the second annual Walk Norfolk walking festival, organised by the accessible walking charity, Pathmakers. Although several BFER events were sadly cancelled due to Storm Babet, we were able to showcase some of the fantastic fungi of the Brecks on our wildlife walk, Fungi, Fruits and Seeds.

We partnered with Reveal Nature to host the first Brecks Biofluorescent night walk at Brandon Country Park.

Wild-crafter Jon Tyler led a creative candle making workshop at West Stow Country Park. Participants carved unique candle holders out of chalk pebbles and made natural beeswax and nettle-fibre acorn cup lights.

4.6 3rd Party Grant awarded to Drake Primary School

The BFER team were delighted to award one of its 3rd Party Grants to Drake Primary School in October. A cheque for £2,500 was presented by the Scheme Manager to staff and pupils in support of their exciting pond and habitat creation project.

The Princess Catherine Pond Project seeks to create a new pond and bog area on the Drake Primary School field in Thetford, Norfolk. The school, helped by local companies, including Thetford Garden Centre, Salix, Pondkeeper, and Bradshaws, aims to create a biodiverse habitat that will attract new wildlife, and provide visual tranquillity for all that visit. Read the full story on our website HERE

We have helped fund various projects throughout the Brecks and still have funds from £500 – £2,500 available in our 3rd Party Grant pot, so if you have a project or idea then do let us know:
or find out more information on our Grants page on our website: HERE

Spotlight on Volunteering

Many hands build a…Round House!

Volunteers have been mucking in at West Stow Country Park, helping to create an Iron Age style round house using traditional heritage craft skills. The round house is being built as part of our Project 3.3 Heritage River Crafts. So far, volunteers have been involved in each step of the build. Here you can see the fantastic team of volunteers assisting to daub the walls.

BFER Volunteer Celebration Festive Coffee Morning!

Calling all BFER volunteers!
If you have been involved in a BFER supported project as a volunteer, we would love to welcome you to our upcoming Volunteer Celebration event this December. This will be a festive informal occasion for BFER to thank all of the amazing volunteers that support the project across the scheme, as well as BFER project partners. There will be seasonal cakes and refreshments to enjoy, and festive activities including the opportunity to have a go at making natural decorations with wild-crafter Jon Tyler.
If you have volunteered for a BFER supported project and would like to attend, please RSVP (including note of any dietary requirements) to the BFER team by November 24th:
( E )
( T ) 01473 265600

Upcoming Events


We are really excited to share with you a selection of some of our wonderful upcoming events and activities. 
To see our full listing of events and activities, visit
10th November: River lark: Farming, Funding and Future
Find out about the latest project sin the Lark Valley and what funding opportunities may be available to landowners and land management.18th November: Lantern making and Twilight walk
Mark the changing of seasons with a celebration of light at our special family lantern making workshop.1st December: Victorian Christmas Murder Mystery
Calling all wannabe Sherlock Holmes! Come and solve a Victorian Thetford Murder Mystery at Ancient House Museum2nd December: Microscopic marvels Family walk
Join this fun family friendly guided walk at Brandon Country Park, exploring with magnifying glasses to see the hidden wonders of wildlife.

2nd December: Microscopic Marvels Digital Microscope Walk
Delve into the details of nature on this digital microscope walk, using microscopic smartphone lenses to see the natural world up-close.

10th December: Thetford 5k Santa Run
Grab your trainers and festive fancy dress, the annual family friendly Thetford Santa 5k Run is back!

On-line Training Opportunity


Social Media Uncovered 


Join our specially designed introductory workshop to get to grips with the social media channels and techniques that can help raise awareness and increase engagement with the audiences that are important to you.
In a three-hour virtual session running from 1pm-4pm on Thursday 9th November you’ll get to:
  • Understand more about the major social media platforms and identify the most effective for you
  • Hear tips and tricks and gain best-practice guidance to help you build future content
  • Gain clarity and strengthen knowledge of both organic and paid social media approaches
  • Discover the hidden tools that can help support your proactive social media activity – be it graphics creation, content scheduling or performance measurement.
Ready to upskill your social media knowledge, build confidence and increase audience engagement?
Book your FREE place HERE  

Social Media
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