The colour-coded cottage

Canary Cottage

Canary Cottage can be seen on the right-hand side of the A47 if you are heading towards Peterborough, between Guyhirn and Thorney. It has just been made a Grade II listed building. Tony Calladine, regional director for Historic England in the East of England, said: “By protecting it we are helping to ensure it can be enjoyed by future generations, helping them to understand life in the Fens in times gone by.”

The cottage dates to the late 1700s and was believed to have been built after the fen was drained. It sits on Knarr Farm and was part of a local colour coding system. The owners of the farm owned several other farms and associated machinery, to keep a track of them all everything was colour coded and the colour assigned to Knar Farm was…canary yellow.

The cottage was lived in by farm workers until 1965 – it had mains water, an outdoor toilet, no electricity and gas lighting.  

The current owners – Dalton Seeds –  are proud of their little  cottage and regularly maintain the exterior  and have said they would like to refurbish the interior one day.

 Historic England said it hoped people would share their own stories, memories and photos of the cottage through its Enriching the List project


Aerial photos of the Old West river

These photos are aerial shots taken by a local farmer – John Parish as he flew his own plane over the Old West. They show the course of the Old West from west to east starting at RSPB Ouse Fen and ending at the junction of the Old West and the Ely Ouse and were taken in early summer this year. Mr Parish has generously offered to take this series of shots on an annual basis for the Cambridgeshire ACRE New Life on the Old West project team to demonstrate any changes taking place in the landscape over the course of time (and the project) .

Sooth of RSPB Ouse Fen
RSPB Ouse Fen, Earith in the background
Queenholme Farm, Willingham
Aldreth Causeway, Aldreth in the background
River, north of Cottenham
Quarry off Twentypence Road, A10 in background, Willow Grange Farm to the right
Stretham Ferry bridge and Marina in centre, biodigester in centre, solar farms top right
Fish and Duck pub and Marina, junction of Old West River and Ely Ouse

Water Resources East – joined up thinking about water

On the 1st of this month I went to the Water Resources East (WRE) Norfolk and Suffolk Stakeholder assembly – a Cambridgeshire version is being planned. Below is a very short summary of who WRE are and what they stand for. The slides and links expand on this.

Water Resources East is part of a network of regional groups established by the Environment Agency to act as a framework for national water resource management.

These groups arose out of recommendations from several reports and policy papers (all available from the information page of this website):

  • Preparing for a Drier Future: National Infrastructure Report 2018
  • Water Abstraction Plan: Government Policy Paper 2017
  • Water Resources Long Term Planning Framework: Water UK 2016

Anglian Water started the partnership in 2014 but this June WRE became a not for profit independent company.    

 Water Resources East believe: 

“There isn’t a lack of water, but a lack of sustainable and resilient water management.”

It aims to encourage the organisations and authorities involved in water resilience planning to think and plan outside of their traditional operation areas and to develop new, collaborative approaches to resolving the problems surrounding water supply and demand. The national network of Water Resources groups is also looking at the how best to solve the redistribution of water resources in the country from the wetter North and West of the country to the drier East and South.

They will do this by: 

  • Looking at how all sectors and interested parties can collaborate in infrastructure development.
  • Looking at how to increase the efficiency and affordability of water use.
  • Looking at how these activities can provide added environmental benefits.

You can find out more about WRE on their website here.

Slides from the 1 July event