Baker's Fen, near the Cambridgeshire village of Burwell, is part of the National Trust's Wicken Fen Nature Reserve, but part of the wider scheme which is accessible by public paths, rather than the Sedge Fen itself for which there's a visitor centre and an admission charge.
There's a grand plan to eventually convert a much wider area to a more natural state. To maintain a diversity of habitats there needs to be some, but not too many, grazing animals. And here on the fen that role is played by Highland Cattle and Konik Ponies.
Neither of these are native breeds and were, I think, chosen because they'd been used elsewhere with good results. Koniks come originally from Poland and have been used in the Netherlands on nature reserves. For many years they were thought to be descended from the extinct Tarpan, or European wild horse, though recent genetic analysis suggests that they are much closer to modern horses - even though they look a bit like Tarpans.
The Koniks already have a large area to graze, including their own dedicated bridge to take them from one part of the fen to another. Mostly you see them way off in the distance, but a few seem to like hanging about this particular gateway.
Their mild and friendly nature is perhaps part of the reason why they were chosen, for this area is popular with families taking exercise. Les decided to show you just how friendly they can be....
In these times of social distancing you have to get a cuddle wherever you can! (I wouldn't recommend trying this, most of the ponies are less approachable than this one).
We don't often get weather like this in March (23° C or 73° F) with scarcely a cloud in the sky and I'd forgotten just how glorious it can look out here.
The ponies seemed to appreciate the sunshine too. Incidentally, on the above picture you can see the dark dorsal-line which makes them so resemble wild horses.
There are true wild animals living here too - equally photogenic though less willing to pose. On our way here we saw three Roe Deer trotting across the fields. There are a surprising number of deer living wild in our intensively farmed landscape; Muntjac, Roe Deer and Fallow Deer are all seen from time to time.
We'd hoped to spot a few migrating birds, but were out of luck. However the two Little Owls that live on a pile of logs near Priory Farm posed nicely in the sunshine, and we caught a brief glimpse of the oft heard but seldom seen Cetti's Warbler.
And Chiffchaffs, recently arrived from Africa, were singing their distinctive two-note song from almost every bush and treetop. Exactly what it's saying is a matter of debate however; in Germany it's called a Zilp-Zalp, in Dutch it's a Tjiftjaf, while in Wales it's a Siff-Saff. In Albania they hear it as Byrynxhyk!