My wonderful backyard

The Great Ouse is a river I know well. It runs through my home town, is the river I swam in as a kid and now paddle on as an adult.

As with everything, the things you know well, you often overlook.

Through my volunteer role with Sustrans I was invited to the launch of the Great Ouse Valley Trust (GOVT).

The Great Ouse runs from its source in Northamptonshire to The Wash at Kings Lynn. The GOVT focuses specifically on the section between St Neots and Earith.

At the event I learnt a lot about the geology and archaeology of this section of the Great Ouse Valley. Suddenly, I started to see a familiar landscape through different eyes.

Other talks focused on the wildlife and flora and fauna, and the areas relationship with artists. I knew about Lucy M. Boston and The Green Knowe stories, we’d had them read to us by my Year 4 teacher whilst in primary school. I talk about them when I lead cycle rides through The Hemmingfords. But, one of the things I hadn’t realised was how much of an inspiration for artists this area had been from the 1880s to the 1960s.

I’d never seen the paintings by the Frazer brothers before. They were wonderful to see, but it was also great to read quotes by writers such as Daniel Defoe and William Corbett. Many of the quotes focused on Portholme, the largest water meadow in England and one of my favourite places.

The event finished with a 4km walk through the Godmanchester Nature Reserve, following parts of the Ouse Valley Way. Our guide from The Wildlife Trust showed us rare wild plants, identified bird species and spoke about the loss of herbs due to the agricultural improvement of the meadows.

Today was one of those where a great adventure is right on your doorstep. @adventure4all

Great Ouse Valley Trust

A14 Works Archaeology finds

Green Knowe

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