The Fens are a large area of drained wetlands from the Norfolk Coast to Cambridge some of it below sea level. Its distinctive flat landscape where sky meets land in a straight line edge, punctuated by lines of marching pylons contains some of the richest agricultural land. But much of it is only protected by dykes from rising sea levels caused by climate change. There are also attempts to make the landscape and agriculture more sustainable, recreate areas of peat wetland as a means of carbon capture as well as increasing biodiversity.
The project will focus on selected derives around the Fen Edge trail in Cambridgeshire:
includes derives from my house on Fen Estate, Fen Ditton in Cambridge
Littleport on the River Great Ouse is on the large Fenland plain within the Isle of Ely, Cambridgeshire. It is the largest village in East Cambridgeshire by area and third largest after Ely and Soham by population. Much of the surrounding rich agricultural fenland area is below sea-level and dependent on drainage systems. The lowest trig point in Britain is near Little Ouse; it sits at 3 ft (1m) below sea level. The whole area as far as Ely is under threat of flooding from rising sea levels as a result of climate change.
The village in parts is very picturesque, with its old library building, churches and village hall. The area has been inhabited since at least mesolithic times, and Littleport itself is said to have been founded by King Canute. Historically it is famous for the Littleport riots of 1816 that influenced the passage of the Vagrancy Act in 1824. There are also many green spaces. But a quick car tour around the village and its outskirts also found very large differences in income levels between very affluent large houses, increasing in number through development. And large older housing estates where people are obviously much less affluent. Several large out of town shopping centres, Indian take aways and burger shops…..
An interesting place for diverse derive walks, also in the car and well covered for on-line exploration through Google satellite maps. And iPhone street photography. Covid-permitting there are a number of pubs and cafes to sit and get to know people, and the library looked a good source of information.
2.1 ‘In Praise of Littlefolk’ Scarfolk-style book with photomontage, pencil sketches and cartoons. Possibly illustrated walks?
2.2 Fenland Edges: Cardcut and solar-plate Printscapes and Maps based on sketches.