Otter Park – New playground at Ferry Meadows

If you’ve been to Ferry Meadows laterly you will have noticed the new playground that opened on 4th April.

Pupils from St Botolph’s CE Primary School, have been involved in the project for some months, opened the playground and were the first children to play on the amazing new play equipment.

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A meandering path travels through the playground taking children on a journey of discovery.  With water and sand play, cradle swings, an oversized slide, a hollow log, a clambering bridge, a tree den and swinging acorn pods, there is going to be plenty to explore.

Andrée Davies, of landscape architects Davies White Ltd, said “Nature is the ultimate playground and that’s exactly what we have designed here. Inspired by the local wildlife and landscape, the Otter playground is inclusive and fun for all the family, especially young children and toddlers.”

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Teresa Wood, Visitor Services Manager, said  “The Otter playground will be an exciting place for young children to come and explore.  This is the first of a three year programme aimed at improving the play areas in Ferry Meadows.  We have worked with local schools, our Nene Park volunteers and other groups to understand what our visitors want from the play provision in the Park.  Things like the acorn seats are a direct result of this work.”

Have you been to Otter Park yet?

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Longthorpe Tower is brought to life with downloadable audio guides

Longthorpe Tower is often a forgotten gem amongst Peterborough’s historical venues. I received this press release regarding new audio guides to accompany you whilst you look around.

Longthorpe Tower

Vivacity Heritage is proud to announce the release of audio guides to accompany your visit to Longthorpe Tower!  From this Easter, you will be able to hear the stories and secrets of the Tower, from its construction in 1300 to its conservation today.

The guide features different characters from over 600 years of history. Meet an irate quarryman who brought stone from Barnack to use around the windows and doors, and listen to Lady Margaret de Thorpe making party plans for the harvest festivities!

Discover how the Home Guard used the Tower as an observation post during World War Two, and how in the aftermath Hugh Horrell unearthed the sumptuous medieval wall paintings that had hidden under plaster for centuries.

The creation of the audio guides was managed by Abi Wilson, Heritage Development Officer at Vivacity, who was delighted to see this project through from foundation to fruition: “It has been a real privilege to work on this project, and I am so excited that everyone can now share in it. Longthorpe Tower is a fascinating building, full of surprises, and finding a way to bring its story to life has been an incredibly rewarding experience.”

This project has been achieved in partnership with English Heritage. Download the audio guide for free onto your smartphone or MP3 player by visiting www.vivacity-peterborough.com/longthorpeaudio. If you do not have an audio device, there are a small number of MP3 players available for use at Longthorpe Tower.

Longthorpe Tower reopens on 5 April, when there will be a very special event running Saturday 5 – Sunday 6 April, 10am-5pm: Preparing for War – The Tower and Richard III. It’s 1485 and Sir Robert Whittlebury is preparing to fight for King Richard III. Now’s your chance to meet soldiers, handle weapons, see the ‘arming of the knight’ daily at 11am and 3pm, find out about delicious food and gruesome cures, and take part in children’s military drill sessions! Adults £4, concessions £3 and families £10. There’s no need to book – just drop-in!

World Book Night

World Book Night is a celebration of reading and books, which sees passionate volunteers gift books in their communities to share their love of reading. There are also hundreds of events from small community gatherings to author readings and audiences of thousands. World Book Night is celebrated on April 23 in the UK, Ireland and the USA.

It is run by The Reading Agency – the charity with a mission to give everyone an equal chance to become a reader. Because everything changes when we read.

In the UK 35% of people don’t regularly read despite reading for pleasure being a globally recognised indicator in a huge range of social issues from poverty to mental health.

World Book Night is about giving books and encouraging those who have lost the love of reading – or are yet to gain it – to pick up a book and read. Line by line, paragraph by paragraph until they too have discovered the power of reading and the opportunities in life that reading can open the door to.

I am delighted to be able to say that Mumsnet Peterborough has been chosen as a “World Book Night 2014 Individual Giver”

The book I will be giving out is

59 Seconds by Richard Wiseman

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59 Seconds

I have 10 copies to give away, if you would like to receive one please email me on peterborough@mumsnetlocal.com

£2.5m Lakeside @ Ferry Meadows opens its doors

Those of you who have been to Ferry Meadows lately will have seen work being done on the old Watersports Centre.  The last time I went the walls were up and all the glass windows were being put in!

Nene Park Trust sent out a press release this week with lots of information regarding the new opening.

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On Friday 11 April, following a £2.5 million investment from Nene Park Trust and a year of extensive works to the building and surrounding landscape, the new Lakeside @ Ferry Meadows will open its doors to Park visitors.

Lakeside provides a hub for activity and relaxation within Ferry Meadows as the home for Nene Outdoors, a new watersports and outdoor activity venture and Lakeside Kitchen & Bar, a contemporary dining and function venue at the Park.

Anthony Chapman Director of Nene Outdoors said “With access to the beautiful Gunwade Lake, Nene Outdoors caters for many activities on and off the water. This includes hire of kayaks, canoes, row boats and pedaloes, group activities such as raft building, land games and orienteering and structured courses in sailing, windsurfing and kayaking. Nene Outdoors also boasts a brand new 60 seater conference and meeting space with projector, air conditioning and fantastic views of the lake providing a professional environment for away days and meetings. With a campsite and outdoor clothing and equipment shop Nene Outdoors has something for everyone.”

Lakeside Kitchen & Bar will be headed by Raj Regmi of Regmi & Sons, who many will know as the operators of Ferry Meadows Café, and Mike Lucy of the prestigious London catering firm, Company of Cooks.  This exciting partnership will offer a new lakeside eating experience for Park visitors as well as the perfect setting for functions such as parties, weddings and conferences.

To add to the exciting facilities that will be on offer at Lakeside, a leading cycle hire facility will also be provided, with the target launch date being late Spring.

As well as introducing new faces and facilities the complex is also home to long-standing Park friends; Lakeside Sailing Club, Peterborough Sailability, Nene Bowmen and, more recent addition, Peterborough Adapted Cycling Scheme operated by Vivacity.  These groups are working closely with the new businesses to provide a variety of leisure opportunities for all abilities and backgrounds.

To get a feel for all that Lakeside has to offer why not visit the park on Saturday 10 May when Lakeside will be hosting a Family Fun day. There will be opportunities to watch and take part in various activities whatever your experience and ability as well as lots of family friendly offers. For more details about the event please visit the Nene Park Trust website, drop into the Visitor Centre or contact the office nearer the time.

Where to visit – Peterborough Museum

Many people aren’t aware of the fact Peterborough has a museum, least of all where it is! It’s actually tucked around the back of Cowgate in one of Peterborough’s most historic buildings.

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The first recorded house on the Museum site was in the 16th century, when a grand mansion was built there for the Orme family, who were given land in the area by King Henry VIII in 1536.  The Orme family were MPs and magistrates for the city and were chiefly responsible for building the Guildhall in Cathedral Square which still stands today. Some stonework still survives from this original house in the cellars under the Museum, and there may be more elsewhere in the building.

The main part of the current building dates from 1816, when it was a grand Georgian house for Peterborough magistrate, Thomas Cooke and his new wife Charlotte. He lived in the building until his death in 1854.

In 1856, the Priestgate mansion was sold to the 3rd Earl Fitzwilliam, who allowed it to be used as the City’s first hospital, the Peterborough infirmary from 1857 until 1928. The building was altered after a fire in 1884, with wings being added on the side and an extension to the rear. The infirmary, run by a charitable trust, continued to outgrow the building, leading to the construction of a new hospital as a memorial to Peterborians killed in the First World War. Upon completion in 1928, the hospital was moved to this building, until recently part of the Peterborough District Hospital.

The Peterborough Natural History Society and Field Club was founded in 1871 to promote interest in local natural history. Within a decade, the Society had widened its interest and laid the foundation of a museum and a library. It became the Natural History, Scientific and Archaeological Society and in 1947 took its modern title of the Museum Society. 

The Museum building was acquired by Percy Malcolm Stewart, Chair of the London Brick Company, who donated it to the Museum Society. It was opened as a museum in 1931, with the art gallery added in 1939.

Many of the original Georgian features can still be seen today, as can traces of its use as a hospital – we still have the old operating theatre, which is being restored as part of the current museum redevelopment. The Museum also has a darker side to its past, and is said to be the most haunted building in the city.

There are currently over 200,000 items in the collections.  They include the Norman Cross prisoner of war craftwork, Jurassic marine reptiles, artefacts from Roman Peterborough, and the original manuscripts of the famous poet John Clare.

With Natural history, art, Social History (with items relevant to Peterborough’s history such as a Perkins engine), Norman Cross, Geology and Archaelogy collections, it really is worth a morning wandering around.

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I took my 3 year old in Half Term to the Museum Menagerie activity (which was heaving) and she loved looking round the Changing Landscapes gallery with dinosaur bones and the Ice Age section (or “the ice age film” as she called it).

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Walking round the Victorian Operating Theatre is a strange experience with it’s original tiling floors and walls. You can almost smell the antiseptic.

There is also a great little coffee shop on site.

Where to find the Museum?

Peterborough Museum, Priestgate, Peterborough, PE1 1LF

When is it open?

Open Tuesday to Sunday, 10am – 5pm (last admission 4.30pm)
Open Mondays (School holidays and Bank Holidays), 10am – 5pm (last admission 4.30pm)
Open Mondays (School terms) for pre-booked groups only.
Closed 22-24 December, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year.

How much?

General admission is FREE.

Admission on special event days: Adults £3, Children, Students and Seniors £2, Families £6 (2 adults and up to 3 children), under 5s and Heritage Pass holders FREE.

All images courtesy of Vivacity Peterborough

Rambles create new insight into Sacrewell

For those of you who like to ramble (walking not talking) Sacrewell Farm have launched two new routes around the site. The routes are designed for people who want to get out on the Farm and explore but don’t necessarily want to pay Farm entry.

Below is more details.

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Sacrewell Farm, in association with Riverford Organic and Natural England, have launched two new ramble routes around the 550-acre site.

Starting from the Farm Centre, the two-mile and one-mile walks take you around the farmland which is leased by the William Scott Abbott Trust to Riverford Organic to grow their vegetables.

Ramblers will be able to view a number of the fields farmed on the site, as well as taking in the Riverford offices and the abundance of wildlife around the Farm.

Marketing and Communications Officer Megan Horner says the rambles will open up parts of the Farm never seen by visitors before.

She added: “We have been running tractor rides in association with Riverford for years and they are very popular with our visitors who want to know more about the farming side of things here.

“The rambles will give them an opportunity to explore on foot thanks to permissive access given by the Trust by working alongside Riverford.”

The routes have been created using a £1,000 Community Leadership Grant from Peterborough City Council. The money has been used to create posts to guide people around the Farm and will also be used to create interpretation boards so that ramblers can learn about the land they are walking on.

Miss Horner added: “The history of the Farm is fascinating and the ever changing landscape will keep people coming back season after season to see what has changed. What may be a field of cabbages one year could easily be filled with sheep the following.”

Ramble maps are free and can be picked up from Reception at Sacrewell Farm and will guide you around the two routes. Free parking is available and there is no charge to take part. Sensible footwear must be worn at all times and the Farm will not be held liable for any damage.

For more information about activities at Sacrewell please vsisit www.sacrewell.org.uk