Over the last two years I have become a hardened fan of Strumpshaw Fen. Not only is it convenient for me to visit but it has a special feel about it and has a calming effect; even with the trains and boats passing by.
Having just opted to renew my membership for the coming year I was concerned to find out that the funds go directly to Bedfordshire and "HQ", rather than going to Strumpshaw Fen (SF) as I'd hoped most of it would. We need more funds for improvements at Strumpshaw!
How can we get more funds directed to Strumpshaw Fen?
There are numerous people using the site that may or may not pay visitor's fees, including the annoying "joggers" in their bright red Lycra, or the brisk walkers who, when you see them walking, talking loudly and waving their arms about, are obviously not bothered about the wildlife! It would be nice to have more signs regarding these issues, but more importantly for Norfolk's so-called "Honey Pot" site, it would be a vast improvement having a Reception center, with shop and cafe; like Minsmere (Suffolk). New hides are soon needed too, plus maintenance and materials.
It has been my pleasure to put forward one suggestion to Lotte (which is "under wraps" at the moment.. the idea, not Lotte.... Doh, sounds dodgy whichever way I say it!) ;-) but this idea will take at least a year to get under way, let alone raise funds.
If any of you own farms, building trades and/or transport that can move the earth - as in Dumper Trucks - then otherwise wasted basic materials can be used by Tim and Co. to bolster the foundations for hides and paths - and I'm sure we'd all like to see the riverside and dyke paths raised a few inches so we are not transformed into Waders!
How about fencing posts, logs (large), sand, shingle, topsoil and bark chippings? These could all be used; but do ask Tim first! I'd love to help in this practical way but at the most, due to hectic work and family commitments, plus not having a lorry to hand, can offer ideas and a "spotting" service; e.g. Tim, there's a farm on Arminghall Lane that has piles and piles of topsoil, hardcore and felled trees outside. I have no idea whether they wish to get rid of it for free but it's worth a look.
Come on you lot, let's push for Strumpshaw! I'm going to start the ball rolling by writing to HQ and stating that I want more of my SF based membership fees to go to our home project! :-)
I'm not certain about this but I did hear that funds are allocated on the basis of visitor numbers. So, the largest/most developed sites get more funds than the others, which hardly encourages more visotrs to frequent to smaller/less well developed sites. Toilets are a must, portacabins are not ideal and one reserve I visit has nothing at all and long walks with no bushes. I agree visitor centres are an attraction in themselves and offer opportunites for community activities, including child education and crafts etc, which in turn encourage more visitors. The downside of course is that more visitors tend to end up with a place losing its specialness and solitude that many seek when they visit. Last time I visited Strumpshaw, info was limited to a hut and a bloke trying to enrol new RSPB members. Things may have improved since then and if you are the bloke in the hut, you were doing a grand job in the face of adversity!
Live simply, so others may simply live.
Wildlife and nature is not purely the preserve of birders... it is important that our young are encouraged and educated in respecting and preserving our wildlife and environment and there isnt a better place to do that than in the reserves themselves. It is not important to think only of your own desires, that's selfish, what is important is the preservation of our world. I do agree I am not entirely in favour of the corporate approach adopted at some reserves, but that is down to the system we live under and if it does encourage more youngsters the system itself will be changed by them in future years, for they will have the sense to do it.
Mike 'Old Taoist' said:Over the last two years I have become a hardened fan of Strumpshaw Fen. Not only is it convenient for me to visit but it has a special feel about it and has a calming effect; even with the trains and boats passing by.
Our herring gulls are red listed birds. Think about that the next time you hear some flaming idiot calling for a cull of them.
In reply to Clare:
I've had to do some editing of this thread as a poster decided they did not wish to be a part of the community anymore, I hope that this can now continue on topic.
By the way, Strumpshaw is in Norfolk - see our website for full details.
Warden Intern at Otmoor.
In reply to IanH:
I've responded to most of the comments in this thread in the following blog:
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In reply to Lotte Large:
Thank you Lotte. I like Strumpshaw and Titchwell as well as the other reserves. They all have their own specialness and I've some wonderful memories and photos from all the reserves I've visited.
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