The Fens, also known as the Fenland(s), are a naturally marshy region in eastern England. Most of the fens were drained several centuries ago, resulting in a flat, damp, low-lying agricultural region. A fen is the local name for an individual area of marshland or former marshland and also designates the type of marsh typical of the area. The Fenland primarily lies around the coast of the Wash; it reaches into two Government regions (East of England and the East Midlands), four ceremonial counties (Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and a small area of Suffolk), 11 District Councils and six postcode areas (LN, PE, CB, IP, NR, and NG). The whole contains an area of nearly 1,500 square miles (3,900 km2) or about 1 million acres. Most of the Fenland lies within a few metres of sea-level. As with similar areas in the Netherlands, much of the Fenland originally consisted of fresh or saltwater wetlands which have been artificially drained and continue to be protected from floods by drainage banks and pumps. With the support of this drainage system, the Fenland has become a major arable agricultural region in Britain for grains and vegetables. The Fens are particularly fertile, containing around half of the grade 1 agricultural land in England.
The Drainage Boards oversee the drainage and management of the various areas of the Fens (as well as other areas of the country)
For a map of all the Drainage Boards in Lincolnshire (not the Fens) see here: http://www.witham-1st-idb.co.uk/images/lincs%20boards%20map1.jpg
- Witham First District Internal Drainage Board - for map of area see: http://www.witham-1st-idb.co.uk/eMaps/images/mainmap.gif
- Black Sluice Internal Drainage Board - for map of area see: http://www.blacksluiceidb.gov.uk/image/68/550x/Homepage%20picture.jpg
- Witham Third District Internal Drainage Board - for map of area see: http://www.witham-3rd-idb.co.uk/eMaps/images/mainmap.jpg
- Witham Fourth District Internal Drainage Board - for map of area see: http://www.w4idb.co.uk/map.jpg
- Welland and Deepings Internal Drainage Board - for map of area see: http://wellandidb.org.uk/images/map.jpg
- South Holland Internal Drainage Board - for map of area see: http://www.wlma.org.uk/uploads/210-SHIDB_Index.pdf (this is a PFD, there was no other map available)
Major and/or notable Waterways
Rivers (though many have been altered into drains)
- River Witham
- River Welland
- River Nene
- River Great Ouse
- Bell Water Drain - W4IDB
- Benton's Drain - W1IDB
- Billinghay Skirth
- Black Fen Lane Drain - W1IDB
- Blankney Town Dike - W1IDB
- Branston Delph - W1IDB
- Branston Delph Side Drain - W1IDB
- Branston Sewer Drain - W1IDB
- Car Dyke - W1IDB
- Cathole Drain - W1IDB
- Cross Bank - W1IDB
- Dales Drain - W1IDB
- Dales Head Dike - W1IDB
- Digby Dam
- Dorrington Dike
- Dunston Bankside Drain - W1IDB
- Farroway Drain
- Fox's Drain - W1IDB
- Hares Head - W1IDB
- Hobhole Drain - W4IDB
- Horseshoe Drain - W1IDB
- Horse Dike Drain - W1IDB
- Langham Drain - W1IDB
- Linwood Drain - W1IDB
- Longstongs Delph - W1IDB
- Martin Town Dike - W1IDB
- Metheringham Delph - W1IDB
- Middle Drain - W1IDB
- Mill Drain - W1IDB
- Nocton Bankside Drain - W1IDB
- Nocton Delph - W1IDB
- North Forty Foot Drain - BS
- Rook's Drain
- Sandhill Beck - W1IDB
- Silkholmes Drain - W1IDB
- South Delph - W1IDB
- South Forty Foot Drain - BS
- Timberland Delph - W1IDB
- Twelve Foot Drain - W1IDB
- Water Dike - W1IDB
- Witham Bankside Drain - W1IDB
- South/West side of the River Witham from Lincoln to B1191 (Martin South Drove). - all waterways complete.
Major and/or notable places and/or settlements
- Boston, port and administrative centre of the Borough of Boston.
- Chatteris, a market town.
- Crowland, one of the Fen Five great Monasteries, also medieval triangular bridge.
- Ely, ("Isle of Eels"), a cathedral city. One of the Fen Five great Monasteries Ely Cathedral, on a rise of ground surrounded by fenlands, is known as the "Ship of the Fens".
- Holbeach,a market town.
- Littleport, a large village approximately 6 miles north of Ely.
- Little Thetford, settled on a boulder clay island within the fens since the Bronze-age, 3 miles (4.8 km) south of Ely.
- Long Sutton, a market town, home to UK's largest food cannery (owned by Premier Foods).
- March, a market town and administrative centre of the Fenland District.
- Market Deeping,a market town.
- Peterborough, a cathedral city, one of the Fen Five great Monasteriesis, the largest of the many settlements along the fen edge. It is sometimes called the "Gateway to the Fens". Administrative centre of Peterborough Unitary Authority.
- Ramsey, one of the Fen Five great Monasteriesis, market town in the Fens.
- Spalding, a market town, administrative centre of South Holland, and famed for its annual Flower Parade.
- Thorney, one of the Fen Five great Monasteries, later Model Village & Agricultural estates of Dukes of Bedford.
- Whittlesey, a market town, annual Straw Bear Festival.
- Wisbech ("capital of the fens"), a market town.