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The Story of the Fens


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How the fens have developed from being mostly underwater, through drainage programmes and invasions to become an agricultural heartland.


Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk, as well as Peterborough City Council, all lay claim to a part of the Fens. Since Roman times, man has increased the land mass in this area by one third of the size. It is the largest plain in the British Isles, covering an area of nearly three-quarters of a million acres and is unique to the UK. The fen people know the area as marsh (land reclaimed from the sea) and fen (land drained from flooding rivers running from the uplands). The Fens are unique in having more miles of navigable waterways than anywhere else in the UK. Mammoth drainage schemes in the seventeenth and eighteenth changed the landscape forever – leading slowly but surely to the area so loved today.

Insightful, entertaining and full of rich incident, here is the fascinating story of the Fens.


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