Ely Local Group

collage by Terry Moore, Helen Moore & Clive BakerActivities and sightings with Ely Local Group, collage by Terry Moore, Helen Moore & Clive Baker

The Ely local Group of the Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire started in 2007 and now is flourishing.

It is a way for those who are interested in wildlife and conservation, to discover more about nature both by exploring outdoors and by attending illustrated talks given by experts in their field. The group is run by enthusiatic local volunteers who invite all who are interested to attend the meetings on the third Friday of the month. It is not necessary to be a member of the Wildlife Trust, although if you do join, local wildlife will benefit.

Our program is dictated by the weather. "Now it is October, don thy woolly smock" states the old proverb. A more apt version for us would be "Now (or when) it is October, head along to the Vernon Cross Room on the third Friday of every month for an evening of guaranteed enjoyment and wildlife-related interest. Woolly smocks optional." OK, it's unlikely to catch on as a piece of country lore, but is true nonetheless. In the past we have been entertained by facts about creatures from amphibians to whales and from slugs to trees and we have been shown those special places for wildlife like the Broads, the Wash and the Great Fen.

Our talks take place in the Vernon Cross Room, Ely Museum (Market Street, Ely) and begin at 7:45pm. Free parking is available in the East Cambs. District Council car-park (accessed from Nutholt Lane), which is next to the venue. We do suggest a donation of £2.50 without which we could not continue the talks. Traditionally, in the middle of the winter program, we blow off the Christmas cobwebs with a New Year Wildlife Walk starting from the centre of Ely.

In summer we set out on the warmer evenings to discover the richness of local wildlife, again on the third Friday of the month, and on one summer weekend we venture further afield to places like Wheatfen Broad near Norwich and to Lakenheath Fen. The walks always have plenty of people to help with the identification and spotting of wildlife.

The Wildlife Trust is working with Ely Wildspace and E.C.D.C. to improve Ely Common for wildlife and make it more interesting for people. Several members of the Local Group took part in a mammoth botanical baseline survey in 2011, and members of the group also work on the area (part of which is looked after by the Wildlife Trust) taking part in biannual "litter picks" and the bird race - a fun way doing an intensive bird survey. We also look after the Wildlife Trust interest in Roswell Pits, organising work parties to manage the small site and usually organise an orchid count on Chettisham Meadow. We try to have a presence at local events so if you see our stall, come along and see us.

For further details about our talks, or indeed any of our events, please contact Will Burdett on WillBurdett@btinternet.com or 01353 661339. Please mention our events to any friends or family you think may be interested in attending. Our local Newsletters are emailed twice a year. To see a pdf of the latest (May 2017) click here.

  The very latest local news and sightings (May 19 2017) can be read by clicking here.

The Winter Wildlife Walk this year was very successful, click here to read a report and a list of sightings.