The Fens a Natural Manscape
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Project part financed by the European Union European Regional Development Fund
 

About the Fens

Potted History of the Fens

North Drove Drain

The vast, flat landscape of the Fens has a long and fascinating story. East Anglia was once joined to Europe by dry land and her rivers were tributaries of the Rhine. As the Ice age came to an end, the forest was flooded, the trees died and fell to form the rich peat soils which are cultivated today.

By the time the Romans invaded the land was covered by ‘a hideous fen of bigness ...’ (as described by St Guthlac’s biographer); banks were built to keep out the waters so the islands could be settled and cultivated. The spires, windpumps and chimneys, sluices and banks which dot the wide horizon today are all part of that continuing story of drainage, but how does the story pieces together?

Click onto the coastal reclamation to find out more.

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Did you know?
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Before Cornelius Vermuyden's army of workers drained the Fens, people commonly got from place to place on stilts or vaulting poles. They were known as Fen Slodgers.