TF1627 : The South Forty Foot in its landscape

taken 8 months ago, 3 km from Northgate, Lincolnshire, Great Britain

The South Forty Foot in its landscape
The South Forty Foot in its landscape
Black Sluice and the South Forty Foot drain were part of the battle to drain the fens to create more land to harvest crops. But the Fenmen, who had rights to fish and graze their livestock there during the summer, put up a fight to save their livelihoods.
The South Forty Foot drain was first dug in the 1630s to drain Holland fen. Engineers devised a long straight channel to take the water faster to the River Witham where it flowed out to sea. The sluice was built to stop the tide running far inland. Large scale drainage of the fens took place at this time financed by speculators known as "Adventurers".
There was violent resistance and houses, farms and corn stacks on the land were destroyed. The wooden gates of the sluice were burnt leaving them charred black and useless. The fen men drove the Adventurers off the huge common fen.
Over 100 years later, a second sluice was built to relieve the flooding that had continued. The fenmen rioted in Boston, and the militia was sent to prevent the town being burned down. Several years of violence followed but this time, the drainage schemes went ahead. So began the transformation of the fens into the agricultural landscape we see today.
The South Forty Foot drain was dug by labourers using picks, shovels and barrows These tools were still used by navvies clearing silt from drains and rivers until the early 1900s.

The resident engineer to the River Witham commissioners was William Lewin (1794 to 1863), and the third and present Black Sluice was constructed in 1846.

Since 1946, water draining from Holland fen into the South Forty Foot has been pumped into the tidal section of the Witham known locally as the Haven.
The Black Sluice lock at Boston gives boaters access to the South Forty Foot drain as far as Donington High bridge, a distance of 16 km. This lock, opened in 2009, is the first phase of the fens waterways Link.
Black Sluice is the outfall of the South Forty Foot drain into the tidal section of the River Witham known locally as the Haven the sluice and the drain are part of an intricate network of waterways pumps and locks that continue to perform the essential task of draining the lands to reduce the risk of flooding.

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TF1627, 22 images   (more nearby )
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Date Taken
Monday, 7 May, 2018   (more nearby)
Tuesday, 8 May, 2018
Geographical Context
Farm, Fishery, Market Gardening  Rivers, Streams, Drainage  Flat landscapes 
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! TF 1663 2721 [10m precision]
WGS84: 52:49.7881N 0:16.2203W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! TF 16523 27097
View Direction
Northeast (about 45 degrees)
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Other Tags
The Fens  Fenland  Fenland Drain  South Forty Foot Drain  Black Sluice IDB 

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Image Type (about): geograph 
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