Naturalist’s bungalow gets a face-lift

THE historic 100 year old Rothschild bungalow on Woodwalton Fen nature reserve has been re-thatched to mark its centenary.

The �30,000 project is almost complete, and has used both reed and sedge from the reserve to give a new lease of life to the building.

“This has been a fantastic project, it is a wonderful building,” said Alan Bowley, senior reserve manager.

“It has taken two years to get the funds together; the money has come from Natural England, which runs Woodwalton Fen as part of the Great Fen Project.”

Banker, and amateur aturalist Charles Rothschild bought Woodwalton Fen in 1910, and built the bungalow on stilts in 1911 as a weekend retreat.

He went on to found the Society for the Promotion of Nature Reserves. In 1919 Woodwalton Fen became the society’s first reserve, and is one of the oldest nature reserves in the country.

Mr Bowling said: “We use the Rothschild bungalow a great deal, for visitors and field courses; it is the heart of the Great Fen and is used to raise its profile.”

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Thatcher Clive Dodson from Great Raveley has carried out the work, which also included the taking down and rebuilding of chimneys.

Mr Bowling added: “The key things is that we insisted that East Anglian reed was used, and some of the reed has been taken from the reserve. It is the first time for at least 60 years that our reed has been used for thatching,

“This work has given the building a new lease of life. Natural England is concerned about wildlife, but equally as important is the history of the site. If it were not for Charles Rothschild, the reserve would not be here.

“We hope to have a celebration of the project in the autumn. Hopefully the building is now ready to face another 100 years.”