The Lost Fens

Heritage Lottery FundA couple of weeks ago saw the launch of a remarkable new book about the history of the Fens.

Ian Rotherham, the author of ‘The Lost Fens’ is a writer, broadcaster and Professor of environmental geography and reader in tourism and environmental change at Sheffield Hallam University.

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The Lost fens, by Ian Rotherham. Source: http://www.environmentalhistories.net/?p=697
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Ian Rotherham

The Lost Fens is about the history of the cultural landscape of the Fen area. It tells the story of the most dramatic ecological destruction in our history. Around 8,000 sq km of wetland present in the 1600s was almost entirely obliterated by 1900. The book draws together the story of a lost ecology, of changing landscapes, lost people, lost cultures and ways of life, and lost wildlife.

The story of these lost Fens is, in Rotherham’s words “the greatest single ecological catastrophe that ever occurred in England”.

Indeed, so thoroughly has the process been undertaken, that most visitors to, and even many residents in, the Fens have little knowledge of what the landscape used to be like.

The image of the Fens today is dominated by the vast expansive flatlands of intensive farming, a starkly different picture than the former landscape this book depicts.

A good review of the book can be found here: review in The Independent. See also this newspaper article in the Yorkshire Post about the author and his latest book.

Some sample pages can also be read at Amazon.

If you are interested to learn more about the Fens and the changes in its landscape, below is a selection of similar books. Let me know if you know of any other books that are worth a read! Thanks.
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