Nights are getting darker, the temperatures are dropping but there is still so much going on in the wild in our Cambridgeshire Fens. As the seasons change, get outside and enjoy a journey of discovery as our countryside prepares for winter. Here’s some inspiration and don’t forget to share photographs and stories with us via firstname.lastname@example.org or on social media with the hashtag #NewLifeOldWest.
- Take a stroll surrounded by colour, spot wildlife and connect with nature at a National Trust location. It’s free to experience the awe of the season thanks to a free, single-use pass that can be used between 18 September and 20 October 2023. The pass allows free entry for two adults and up to three children, one adult and up to four children, or two adults on their own.
- We’re big fans of hedgehogs and Autumn is the perfect time to make your garden hedgehog friendly. Create an awesome hibernation site for these prickly gardeners’ friends. They love piles of leaves or logs, or you could build a hedgehog house. Download our special hedgehog information sheet from our website for help.
- The first migratory birds are arriving in Cambridgeshire to enjoy winter with us. Why not visit WWT Welney near Wisbech to see what you can spot. They have an open day on Sunday 24th September and lots of other autumnal activities on site including wetland walks with guides. Families may like to visit during October half term for their eek! week – an interactive trail where you can discover the eek!citing and mysterious world of wetland nature.
- Are you a fungi fan? Weird and wonderful fungi may be found in woodlands at this time of year. Look out for the purple glow of amethyst deceiver, the enchanting red caps of fly agaric, and the white antler-like fruiting bodies of candlesnuff fungi. Remember, look but don’t touch – they could be poisonous. Find out more about fungi and lichens with the Woodland Trust.
- Secret spot – Chippenham Fen. Chippenham Fen NNR is one of the best remaining areas of undrained, semi-natural fen in Europe. Due to its many different wetland habitats, it is home to a variety of wildlife, including snipe, woodcock and several hundred different moth species. A great place to visit on your own or join us for a guided walk with a Natural England guide on 10th November.
- Can you spot the signs of autumn? Visit the NLOW website to download our ID sheets for hedgerow berries, nuts, and leaves. Keep a record of what you spot and share photos of what you’ve found on social media using the hashtag #NewLifeOldWest so we can see too!
- Feed the birds with an apple feeder. Apples are plentiful at this time of year so use this super food to create a bird feeder. It’s simple to make and the birds will love it! Details are here courtesy of the RSPB.
- Have you visited RSPB Ouse Fen recently? Autumn arrivals and departures include wigeons, teals and lapwing gathering in large flocks on the riverside meadows. Look out for great white egrets, little egrets and cattle egrets; can you tell the difference between them? Redwings and fieldfares will also be arriving in Autumn to escape the colder winter in Scandinavia for berried hedgerows and worm-rich fields.
- Help us to monitor some of our habitat enhancement works at our NLOW sites. See our habitat monitoring and recording wildlife guides for details and let us know what wildlife you see by emailing email@example.com or submitting records via our data log. Citizen science is so important for our project and we appreciate all the records that we receive.
There you have it – nine wonderful places and activities to enjoy outdoors this autumn. Do let us know where you go and what you see – we love hearing from you!
Funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, New Life on the Old West (NLOW) is a programme delivering small-scale habitat improvements across the Cambridgeshire Fens, important strongholds for rare and threatened species.
If you’d like to become a volunteer doing something as simple as counting wildlife spotted on a monthly walk or supporting community activities, do get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org