Tuesday, November 08, 2005

A Year of Pensthorpe

Tickets for the auction party on the 26th Nov are very nearly sold out. If you are unable to attend, sealed bids and telephone bidding can be accepted. To email for further details, or to register for either method click here

To look through the whole blog click on "Archives" on the right hand side.


Throughout the Guestwick campaign, we have been strongly supported by conservation and wildlife organisations, who oppose the construction of wind turbines in an area so rich in wildlife and protected species.

One of those organisations is Pensthorpe nature reserve, who have very generously offered us two promises for the auction, the first of which is a double one year season ticket.

Pensthorpe is 500 acres of nature reserve near Fakenham. It incorporates a rich diversity of habitat including woodland, lakes and unspoiled river. There are several areas designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest including the flood meadows of the River Wensum and old pasture filled with wild flowers and orchids.

Leaning one of the wooden bridges crossing the gin clear waters in the sunshine, watching the fish and the darting dragonflies, hoping for a rare glimpse of a water vole. B-liss!

Apart from providing a retreat for the likes of me, nationally and internationally important conservation work goes on there. One of the main strands of work at the moment is a breeding and release scheme for the corncrake, which was once numerous in these parts and hopefully will be heard again in the fields of East Anglia thanks to the Pensthorpe project.Click here to hear a corn crake call.

9th November - update. The Aviculturalist from Pensthorpe has just e-mailed me with this interesting corncrake fact. When migrating Corncrakes fly during the night and look to the horizon, not in front of them so they collide with obstacles that are on their migratory routes – therefore the turbines would be a hazard for them.

Alongside the managed conservation projects, nature takes advantage of the huge unspoiled natural environment there, for example wild otters now live and breed there. Great wild bird watching opportunities are available in the hides over looking the lakes, and Pensthorpe is an important part of the rich habitat and green corridor that make this patch of rural Norfolk so uniquely important to numerous wild species including raptors, owls and farmland species.

Close to the visitor’s centre, Pensthorpe also have their own permanent breeding collection of birds. If you have never seen a newly hatched avocet taking its first dabbles in the shallows beside its parents then I would suggest you have missed something very special. The aviaries are set in the beautiful Millennium Garden, which was designed by Piet Oudolf and the Wave Garden by Julie Toll – both winners of golds at Chelsea.

The visitor’s centre also houses a large gallery space which hosts very good exhibitions throughout the year, including the un-missable BBC/Natural History Museum International Wildlife Photographer of The Year.

I’d always thought of visits to Pensthorpe as an occasional treat, albeit one that we were most fortunate to have so handily close. But the chance to stroll into such a special place just whenever the muse strikes, as provided by the season tickets, would be a very desirable luxury!

Click here for Pensthorpe's website

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