After a wet day on Saturday, Sunday was a glorious sunny day but cold. We needed a walk so we went to Wicken Fen National Nature Reserve. This is one of the few remaining areas of undrained fenland. The land was donated to the National Trust by a group of Victorian entomologists in 1899 so making it the oldest nature reserve in the UK.
The Fens cover a vast area of eastern England, Originally is was a landscape of bogs, marshland and clay islands on which small communities eked out a livelihood on cutting peat and using reeds found in the marshes for thatching etc. Although some of the land was drained not very successfully in the Middle Ages it was in the late 17th century that the fens were systematically drained by the Dutch engineer Cornelius Vermuyden. This still had problems which were not solved until the 1820’s with the introduction of steam driven pumps. The drained Fens are now fertile agricultural lands.
We took two trails in the reserve the Boardwalk trail and the Nature trail. Both gave an insight into the plants and environment of the un-drained ferns and the uses made of the various plants by man. It was an interesting walk but in some places it was very muddy because of the heavy rainfall. A good walk.