Learn about the wildlife of the fens
The Wildlife Trust Countryside Centre at the Great Fen is a converted Victorian brickworks, within a 5 hectare nature reserve. The reserve has dedicated pond-dipping pond, minibeast area, den building sites, a bird hide, and outdoor classroom/bodgery with a fire pit. The building itself still retains many of its original features and visiting groups can peer into the old brick kilns and see the harbour where barges collected bricks to transport out into the fens.
As well as education programmes for schools we can also offer evening or school holiday activities for Scouts, Brownies and other youth groups; talks on fen wildlife and fen history; nature’s therapy visits and guided walks and tours of the Great Fen. We also host a range of adult courses including wildlife identification days, wood-carving and willow weaving and lots of fun events for families. The Countryside Centre and toilets are fully accessible and we have an all-terrain wheelchair which will access most of the site is usually available on request.
School & Group Visits
We have three school programmes designed for Reception and Primary children, all designed with the help of teachers and linked to the National Curriculum. Each programme can be tailored to your schools requirements but can usually include
- Pond dipping
- Minibeast hunting
- Sweep netting
- Den building
- Environmental art
- Adaptation and Food Chains
Your school visit includes full supervision from our experienced and enthusiastic education staff and volunteers along with all the equipment required for the day. You can also come on a free pre-visit to discuss your activities, outline our health and safety policy and see where the activities will take place.
Our evening visits for groups usually include one or two of the activities, or a simple bushcraft session around the campfire, just bring your own marshmallows!
We do not currently have a set programme for secondary or further education but if you would like to bring your secondary school, college or university group to the Great Fen please do get in touch and we can discuss arranging a visit for you.
Our Nature’s Therapy sessions are designed to bring some of the nature of the Fens to groups who may not be able to access the outdoors easily. Each session includes a range of seasonal, sensory activities include object handling, art, poetry and countryside reminiscence. We can come and visit you, or we can host a session at the Countryside Centre.
Talks, Tours and Guided Walks
We have a range of talks and films including Fen Memories, the story of our World War II Spitfire, and a talk on the Great Fen project and its wildlife. We can come and speak to your group, or host you here at the Countryside Centre instead. We can also arranged guided walks and Great Fen tours to visit some of the sites shown in our films.
Visiting & Events
We run regular fun, family events every school holiday as well as a monthly Wildlife Watch for children 6+ and Little Bugs club for 3-6 year olds. The nature reserve itself is open every day from dawn to dusk and toilets in the Countryside Centre are open most days from 9am-4pm. Car parking and entry are free, well behaved dogs under close control.