We’re excited to announce that our new electrically-powered passenger boat has arrived at the Park and is ready to take bookings for tranquil family-group boat trips at our Autumn Festival.
The boat replaces the previously diesel-powered boat that used to provide passenger trips around Overton Lake at Ferry Meadows. The batteries used to power the new boat will be charged using electricity provided through a green energy tariff, as part of the Trust’s commitment to reducing its carbon footprint and in response to the climate emergency.
The boat has been made by Norfolk Boat builders, Landamores who have been building boats in Wroxham and Hoveton since 1923. The new boat for Nene Park is an Edwardian styled Frolic 31 Launch, made by combining new and traditional manufacturing methods and the highest quality of materials and workmanship.
We are also excited to announce that the boat has been named ‘Wyndham’, after Wyndham Thomas, the chief architect of Ferry Meadows in the 1970s, who sadly passed away last year. Naming this boat after him is a fitting tribute to the amazing work he did to lay the foundations for the Park we see today.
Nene Park Trust has been able to purchase the new boat thanks to a number of generous funding sources including The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development through the LEADER programme – Europe investing in rural areas; Augean PLC and the King’s Cliffe and Thornhaugh Environmental Associations for a grant through the Augean Community Fund; The Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority COVID19 Capital Grant Scheme Initiative with funding from the UK Government Local Growth Fund and The Bruce Wake Charitable Trust for funding an accessible lift for wheelchairs to enter the boat.
Oliver Burke, Head of Operations at Nene Park Trust said, “The arrival of our very own hand built electric boat for the Park is a poignant one. Both in terms of looking back and celebrating the tremendous achievement of Wyndham Thomas in founding Nene Park, but also in looking forward to a more environmentally sustainable future for the Park, which continues to play such an important part in the lives of local communities.”
We will be running the first boat trips as part of the Nene Park Autumn Festival (24 October – 1 November 2020) for household groups or social bubbles of up to 6 people. These will be Covid-secure and can be booked at on our events page. We will then hope to launch a more regular service next year when the ‘Rule of 6’ is relaxed. We hope to be able to run a service at weekends and school holidays, offering 30-45 minute boat trips for up to 12 passengers at a time around Overton Lake and out onto the River Nene.
In addition, bespoke trips will also be developed for special occasions and corporate groups, providing a unique view of the Park and an inspiring experience on the water. To ensure this tranquil experience is available to all, the boat will have an accessible lift available from spring 2021, enabling up to two wheelchair users on board at any time.
Future plans for the boat include the possibility of a taxi service to different parts of the Park. The Trust also hopes to install a solar array to help charge the boat, creating a truly sustainable long-term energy source.