Flag Fen and a riot with a risk assessment – a normal Peterborough Saturday?

After we arrived in Peterborough we discovered that we were about to be treated to a weekend of free events courtesy of the Peterborough Arts Festival – all based right beside where we’ve moored the boat – perfect!

I was particularly curious as to what they were going to do with this wonderful bit of kit but that would be for the following day.


Before we dived into all that we walked the two and a half miles to visit the bronze age site of Flag Fen where several years ago they unearthed a ritual causeway (familiar to any Time Team viewers). It was a kilometer long raised pathway built to link two pieces of higher ground. Some of the timbers are preserved in situ in an environmentally controlled room.


Amazing to think that these pieces of wood were placed there 3500 years ago!

They’ve also reconstructed a couple of huts. The first being bronze age….


…and the second Iron Age. I didn’t see a vast amount of difference between the two apart from the fact that the Iron Age hut had a rather nice covered awning at the entrance which must have made it a bit cosier in the bitter easterlies you get in the fens.


The area around the site is perfect for wildlife and I finally managed to get a couple of decent shots of dragonflies – they stayed still for me, which was very considerate. I looked them up and they’re apparently male and female Southern Hawkers. Common as muck round here but still pretty spectacular to see.

Dragonfly DragonflyFemale

The evening’s entertainment was Marsailles based theatre group Generik Vapeur’s performing a piece called Bivouac, which involved a half mile parade from the Cathedral Square to the Embankment. We’d had them described to us by someone selling programmes as ‘a riot with a risk assessment’ but had only the vaguest idea of what the evening was going to be like. We’d heard their band practicing and they sounded pretty good and we knew that there were a load of oil drums involved because they were everywhere.


When it made its appearance in the square in the evening the lorry and band had been transformed.

Musicians MusiciansCloseup

I don’t think I can begin to describe how loud, chaotic, anarchic and wonderful the whole thing was. The following photographs give only the vaguest hint of the atmosphere that this incredible group created. They stormed through the centre of Peterborough alternatively throwing, playing, standing on and setting fire to their oil drums to the background of fire crackers and loud rock music from the lorry following behind. Stewards did their best to maintain some kind of order but it was a losing battle.

Pointing OilDrums Flaming


One of the very best pieces of entertainment I’ve ever experienced.

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4 Responses to Flag Fen and a riot with a risk assessment – a normal Peterborough Saturday?

  1. Ms Sue Ellery says:

    wow – more on the gadget at the top please!

  2. paul says:

    If you go inside the huts you will find that the iron age one has full central heating, that is the difference…honest.

    Paul xx

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