History on our doorstep

10 Aug

I’ve travelled the world to see historical sites, but have driven past this sign every morning on my way to work for the last five years and have never taken time to find out what is on my doorstep.

Flagfen sign

Well today was the day!

Situated just south of Peterborough Flag Fen gives you an opportunity to explore what life was like 3,000 years ago in Britain. During the 1960s and early 1970s evidence of Bronze Age farming was discovered on the site.  But is was not until a chilly day in November 1982 that archeologist France Pryor noticed an oak post in the mud in the dyke near Fengate. The post had been worked with a small axe.  Further exploration found this to be part of a timber platform the size of Wembley stadium, dating back to 1350 BC.

This causeway was made up of over 60,000 timbers and stretched for a kilometre from Whittlesey Island to Fengate (part of what is now the city of Peterborough) across the wet fenland. It is presumed that the small island part way across was where religious rituals were performed.  Flag Fen houses a small museum of artifacts and is trying to preserve some of these ancient timbers….

Causeway Flagfen 100813

You can also see examples of two round houses, giving a flavour of what life was like in the Bronze and Iron Age.

This is the one depicting a house of the Bronze Age, with the meadow on the roof 😉

Roundhouse Flagfen 100813

And the other is depicting an Iron Age roundhouse…. just like being back in rural Africa…

Roundhouse Flagfen 100813 (2)

Then there were their boats made from hollowed logs…

Boat Flagfen100813

This is a replica, but original  Must Farm Boats were discovered at nearby Must Farm and are in the process of being restored on the site.

Then as well as seeing an exposed section of the Roman road known as the Fen Causeway, you can walk along a reconstruction of a prehistoric droveway.  This is a great place for nature spotting.

Look at the 7-spoted ladybird…

7-spot ladybird (2) Flagfen 100813


Comma Flagfen 100813

Meadow Brown…

Meadow Brown open Flagfen 100813

A small tortoiseshell caterpillar…

Small Tortoiseshell Caterpiller Flagfen 100813And lots of his friends…

Small tortoiseshell Caterpillars on mass FlagFen 100813

Then along the dyke were plenty of birds singing in the reeds…. although it was difficult to spot them…

Flagfen habitat 100813

..including juvenile Goldfinches…

Juvenile Goldfinches Flagfen 100813

As well as Mute swans….

Flagfen Swans 100813

Swans dipping Flagfen 100813

Mute Swans Flagfen 100813

There is a lakeside walk where I heard lots of action but is was hard to see the birds through the reeds. I did spot lots of Harlequin ladybirds though; a very interesting find and more will follow in my next blog. Here is just one as a taster…

Harlequin Closeup Yellow 16-spot  Flagfen 100813

Back near the visitor’s centre were the Soay Sheep…

Soay Sheep Flagfen 100813

Soay Sheep 3 Flagfen 100813

…..beautiful waterlilies…

Lily Flagfen 100813

and some very friendly swallows…

Pair of Swallows Flagfen 100813

Swallow Flagfen 100813

….. then you can sit on the cafe veranda and admire the view.

Flagfen Landscape 100813

All in all, an interesting few hours exploring a site of historical and natural interest, just 8 miles from my door.  I wonder what else I am missing?

Click here for more information on Flag Fen and for a location Map

1 Comment

Posted by on August 10, 2013 in Bird, butterfly, History, Insects, Landscape


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One response to “History on our doorstep

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