Starting my volunteer summer placement…

Emily is completing a summer placement with Cambridgeshire ACRE working on both the Water Care Partnership and the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership. Find out more about Emily and her interests in her blog.

Ouse Washes: The Heart of the Fens

logosHello, I am Emily Stacey and I have just begun a Volunteer Summer Placement with Cambridgeshire ACRE working on both The Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership and The Water Care Partnership. Having always lived in a rural area I have a great passion for our local countryside and am strongly supportive of the conservation of its unique wildlife and habitats. This summer I graduated from the University of Reading with a degree in Physical Geography. I now dream of a career in environmental management where I can play an active role in promoting the importance of the environment as well as work closely with communities.

??????????????????????????????? The Old Bedford River at the RSPB Ouse Washes reserve. Images by Sheils Flynn for OWLP.

Alongside my position at Cambridgeshire ACRE I work for the National Trust at Wimpole Hall Estate where conservation of the property, land and the ‘Spirit of Wimpole’ is a…

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Have a meander along your river

Ouse Washes: The Heart of the Fens

Do you live in or near Welney, Denver, March or Ely? They have something in common… Can you guess what they all have? Rivers! They all have their own character and issues. Would you like to enjoy and learn about your local Fenland rivers?


This is a chance to enjoy a lovely, informative and sociable walk along some of our local rivers whilst discussing and gaining an understanding of issues and impacts upon these and other Fenland rivers and on the Ouse Washes. It will be a laid-back endeavour with stops to view the scenery and features, or to chat and take photographs.

The Ouse Washes The Ouse Washes. Image by Bill Blake Heritage Documentation, all rights reserved.

A partnership (The Water Care Partnership) is working to investigate and work towards solutions for the problems these rivers face and which have been pointed out by the Environment Agency. This is where you and your ideas…

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Catchment Partnerships

The Old Bedford and Middle Level catchment is defined as a ‘Management Catchment’ and is one of 100 that can be found in England and Wales.

A hydrological catchment is usually defined as an area of land in which the surface water flows into one point, usually the sea. A management catchment is not necessarily the same as a hydrological catchment, a management catchment may contain several hydrological catchments particularly near the coast but a hydrological catchment may also be split into several management catchments.

The Great Ouse catchment runs from its spring in Brackley, Buckinghamshire through Northamptonshire, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Norfolk until flowing into The Wash near King Lynn. This hydrological catchment consists of three management catchments, the Upper Ouse and Bedford Ouse which runs from the source to Earith. At Earith the Great Ouse River can flow around Ely taking in the Cam, Lark, Little Ouse, Wissey rivers and their tributaries. This section of the Great Ouse is the Cam and Ely Ouse management catchment. Any water that doesn’t flow through Ely enters the Old Bedford and Middle Level management catchment via the New Bedford River and the River Delph. The rest of this catchment is made up from the Middle Level drains system. For the Water Care Partnership

The Great Ouse catchment, along with the rivers in north west Norfolk, are managed by the Environment Agency by the Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire Area, a map of the area can be seen below. This area is part of the wider Anglian River Basin District which covers 27,890 square km.

Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire Area - Management Catchments. Source - The Environment Agency

Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire Area – Management Catchments. Source – The Environment Agency


Under the Catchment Based Approach (CaBA) there is a catchment partnership in place for these four management catchments. As you can see from the map above, the management catchments can cover quite a large area with a lot of different things happening in those areas. For this reason, the Environment Agency have split some management catchments into smaller ‘operational catchments’. These operational catchments help communities and organisations to work at a more local level, really making sure that local people have a say in their local water environment.

The Upper Ouse and Bedford Ouse catchment has several organisations operating at an operational catchment scale. These organisations include Marston Vale Trust, Milton Keynes Parks Trust, Greensand Trust, Ouse Valley AONB and Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charity. Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charity are acting as the secretariat for the management catchment.

The catchment partnership for the Cam and Ely Ouse is hosted by Anglian Water and The Rivers Trust. The CamEO partnership covers the whole management catchment with help from local organisations and groups at a local level to understand the issues. More information on the CamEO partnership can be found at

Finally the North West Norfolk management catchment is hosted by Norfolk Rivers Trust. They also cover the North Norfolk management catchment which is outside of this Environment Agency area – showing the need to build strong partnerships. For more information on Norfolk Rivers Trust, please visit

For more information on your local catchment partnership, please visit