The Suffolk Wildlife Trust has been awarded over £4 million to enhance Carlton Marshes near Lowestoft through the purchase of a further 348 acres of land. This will include the construction of a new visitor centre that is due to open in 2020. This will form part of the Broads National Park.
In a nod to the shift from the experience to transformative economy in site management and interpretation, Parks Canada has been placing red chairs in scenic locations around its National Parks. These are designed to not only provide a passive viewpoint experience of natural heritage and landscape, but also generate a proactive sense of adventure in the visitor (the transformative bit) who is encouraged to seek out the locations where the benches have been placed.
The programme has been running for around three years, having started in Gros Morne National Park and has featured in social media and advertising across the country, with each Park taking its own approach to promotion. The hashtags #ShareTheChair and #TimeToConnect hook in to the idea of shared outdoor experience and connecting with nature to bring about wider wellbeing.
The chairs themselves have heritage background, built in the Adirondack or Muskoka style, are bright red and carry the Parks Canada organisational logo. The chairs can also be bought from the Parks Canada website (children and adult sizes available).
It is an interesting approach by the organisation, though has attracted some criticism – but as a site intervention of experiential design which incorporates a call to action, heritage, branding, visual stimulus, and landscape interpretation, it is effective. I hope to capture my own red chair moments in the next month and will no doubt participate in #ShareTheChair as I encourage a couple of teenagers to disconnect from their phones for a moment.
In the UK, we have seen smaller scale equivalents at individual sites with National Trust branded deckchairs, and very subtly branded picnic benches at English Heritage sites.
The Suffolk Flora Preservation Trust had an open day on the Fromus Valley at Kelsale in Suffolk. One of the most impressive features is a 200 m long medieval dam across the valley. The Trust has used LIDAR imagery to show the extent of the lake.
The dam and lake appear to form part of the hunting estate by the Bigod family at Kelsale. The earliest reference to the lake appears in the Patent Role of 1281 (details).
The Suffolk Wildlife Trust hasa reserve at Framlingham Mere, adjacent to Framlingham Castle, managed by English Heritage.
Wicken Fen is a major National Trust property in Cambridgeshire, and a National Nature Reserve. The fen is a reminder of what so much of this part of Cambridgeshire would have looked like at the beginning of the twentieth century – and a reminder of what drainage and modern agriculture has done to these former wetland landscapes. There is a huge bio-diversity in the fen that makes it well worth a visit.