The Fenland waterways have a wealth of interesting and educational places to visit. When you’re boating with kids in the area, there are loads of ways to make learning fun. Here are our top three!
1. How the Fens were drained
Learn about the history of how the Fens were drained. Fenland water pumping technology started with wind pumps, then steam engines were introduced, followed by diesel engines. There are working examples of all three, and all of them are accessible by boat!
Wicken Fen Nature Reserve
At the National Trust’s Wicken Fen, you can moor up at the end of Wicken Lode, see how the Fens used to look before they were drained, and visit the last working wind pump. There’s also a traditional fenman’s cottage and a chance to explore the natural history of the area with nature walks.
Stretham Old Engine
On the banks of the Great Ouse at Stretham, with handy GOBA moorings nearby stands the majestic steam pumping engine at Stretham. The steam engine is only run on certain days to check the website in advance to avoid disappointment.
The Prickwillow Engine Museum
The museum is located in the village of Prickwillow, on the banks of the river Lark with a convenient mooring nearby. The old diesel pumping engine and a host of others are on display and are run on event days and Bank Holidays. The next event coming up at is the 4th Prickwillow Ploughing Festival on October 3rd and 4th, with heavy horse and vintage tractor ploughing skill displays, classic cars, food stalls and of course the engines will be running!
2. Get out and about in a riverside nature reserve.
Fen Drayton Lakes
Just a short hop on the Guided Busway or walk from the moorings at St Ives takes you to the beautiful RSPB reserve atFen Drayton Lakes. There are events and guided walks held here (see website for details) or just bring binoculars, follow the nature trail and see what you can spot!
Ferry Meadows Park
Just off the River Nene in Peterborough is the fantastic Ferry Meadows Park. You can use the pontoon moorings provided in the lake there and go exploring! Children’s Nature Discovery Packs are available to borrow from the visitor centre, as are orienteering maps. There are also several play areas for younger children.
3. Try Geocaching
Geocaching is something you can do wherever you are, but there are plenty of hidden treasures to be found along the waterways. Simply download the app to your phone and see if there are any caches to be found near you! A great way to explore the area, for kids to learn about map reading and using a compass, and something the whole family can do for free!
Guest Blog by Amy-Alys Tillson