Graham’s Swift’s Waterland

Graham’s Swift evoked the bleak reclaimed marshes of the Fens in his novel “Waterland” – “a landscape which, of all landscapes, most approximates to Nothing” See also “Writing Waterlands”, An exhibition at the British Library.

Most of the fens were drained several centuries ago, resulting in a flat, damp, low-lying region with prime agricultural land.

Lincolnshire’s great seal colony

Donna Nook is home to a 3000-strong grey seal colony, despite regular aircraft bombing of the area by the RAF from the nearby Ministry of Defence site. The seals have been increasingly disturbed in recent years by large numbers of visitors leading to the establishment of controlled viewing areas at the foot of the sand dunes. Best to visit October to December when the seals breed and pup.

The Wash

The Wash which Lincolnshire shares with Norfolk is the largest estuary in Britain.

First written record of the Fens

The eighth century Life of Guthlac describes the environment of Croyland when Guthlac arrived, the first written record of the Fens:

There is in the Midland district of Britain a most dismal fen of immense size, which begins at the banks of the river Granta not far from the camp which is called Gronte (Cambridge) and stretches from the south as far north as the sea. It a very long tract, now consisting of marshes, now of bogs, sometimes with black waters overhung by fog, sometimes studded with woodland islands and traversed by the windings of tortuous streams. (Hill, 1981:11 cited in Gowland & Western, 2011).

These marshes are ideal for malaria, but evidence of malaria in Anglo-Saxon England has been lacking. More here

Vine House Farm

Vine House Farm is run by Nicholas Watts a fourth-generation farmer who has been working his land in Deeping St Nicholas, Lincolnshire, since he was a boy. But he is also a dedicated birder who has developed his particular method of wildlife-friendly farming. After noticing a huge fall in birds numbers, he decided to feed the birds – on a spectacular scale. This sparked to so much interest that he started selling bird food and he now shifts
2,000 tonnes, in part in conjunction with The Wildlife Trusts.

From Stephen Moss visited the farm in Wild Kingdom

I could almost begin to imagine what this wider landscape might have sounded like before drainage and industrial agriculture transformed it into the food factory we see today. But it doesn’t take much to make room for wildlife. A strip of weeds here, a stand of reeds alongside a dyke there, are all birds, bees and butterflies need to make a home.