On Friday 8th September, the Great Ouse Valley Trust hosted a workshop at Hemingford Abbots Village Hall for local stakeholders to begin to tease out a vision for the stretch of the Great Ouse Valley between St Ives and Godmanchester. Over 40 people took part including local farmers and landowners, parish and district council officers, representatives of local community and sports groups and environmental organisations, as well as subject matter experts in fields such as ecology and conservation. Guest of honour, and resident of the Great Ouse Valley near St Neots, included Combined Authority Mayor, Dr Nik Johnson, who contributed to the visioning process and activities. The workshop was delivered by Dr Jade Gunnell, a specialist in citizen science, and who has been working with Great Ouse Valley Trust trustees on a strategy to engage the community in developing a joined-up and cohesive vision for the valley that prioritises nature and leads to increasing the nature value of the wildlife and habitats on our doorstep.
The event was felt to be vibrant and productive, with insights and outputs from the day being drawn together to form a report over the forthcoming weeks that will be shared with all those who participated and wider partnership stakeholders to inform further actions and priorities for the Valley.
The workshop was enabled with support from Natural Cambridgeshire and the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Future Parks Programme, and with grant funds from Natural England and a Together for our Planet award from the National Lottery Community Fund. The Great Ouse Valley is one of six priority landscapes identified by Natural Cambridgeshire to be targeted for increased investment because of its unique value to Cambridgeshire’s natural environment and the ecosystem services it provides. The Great Ouse Valley Partnership was formed in 2021 to bring together the interests of the nature and heritage organisations, community groups, farmers and landowners and local authorities and others to support the development of a vision for the area, and is chaired by RSPB’s Hannah Phillips.
Photo credit: Emily Dalziel, Great Ouse Valley Trust