Conclusion of our exploration of the Fens.
The Lincolnshire/Cambridgeshire/Norfolk Fens all drain into and were flooded by the sea of The Wash. A potted history: they were first drained by the Romans, reverted to a natural state after the fall of the Empire, and were again drained around 12C by monks, falling into disrepair around 16C after the Dissolution, and drained in on a larger scale in 17C, the period focused on in James Boyce’s book.
The Fens and their drainage machines are an ongoing enterprise to maintain a balance between sea and land, in this most fertile part of England. No wonder this part of Lincolnshire is called New Holland.
The Wash is now a major natural asset for migrating and indigenous birds. As a last hurrah for our explorations, we go close to the mouth of the River Witham at RSPB Freiston Shore. Again we stand on the sea wall looking out over The Wash – salt marsh on one side and fresh water lake on the other.
A solitary cormorant stands in typical pose, amid black headed gulls and ducks.
On the landward side Boston Stump stands out proud (featured image), seaward there appears to be almost endless salt marsh, beach and then sea, with a misty Norfolk in the far distance.
I reflect that some of my ancestors played a part in this great drainage enterprise; the Fens are part of my own roots.
The dog was not impressed; there were cows on the sea wall. He dashed back towards the van.