Monday, January 28, 2008

Drains and Pumping Stations

Mark said he would take me out to take some photos of the Wind Turbines yesterday as the forecast was dry. I wanted some long exposure ones to try to get the effect of the sails going round. Well, yes it was dry but it was also bright and sunny. Absolutely no good for long exposures!!! So I went out on my bike instead!

D is for Drains. Or Dykes. Or Ditches. They seem to be called all three around here equally. This is the Forty Foot Drain, taken from the bridge on Dodington Road.

The second photo is taken along the Forty Foot road.


The Fenlands are below sea level. Until the mid 17th Century, Chatteris was an island. The Romans tried to drain part of it to farm it but it wasn't until 1630 that Dutch engineer Cornelius Vermuyden came along and built the Forty Foot that draining the Fens was successful.

Of course, for all these drains to work, you need Pumping Stations.


Since the Fens were drained the peat areas have shrunk and on avarage the land is 20 feet lower than it was when the Romans farmed it.

Water has to be lifted as much as 7 metres uphill to keep the land dry.

Fenland today is kept dry by numerous Drainage Boards in the North, South and Middle Levels. The pumping staion at Tydd Gote has 6 1200mm pumps, each of which can shift 200 tons of water a minute.

Information is taken fromt the "Cambridgeshire Fens Visitor & Accomodation Guide".


  1. Excellent photos Enfys and some interesting info about the area too!

  2. I loved reading about this-it's an area I've not been to. thanks for sharing

  3. Great photos Helen and you def are doing some research


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