, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp 271-272
Date: 15 Nov 2012

Ian D. Rotherham: 2010 Yorkshire’s forgotten fenlands

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When someone would ask me “what type of book do you like?”, my more elaborate answer would include elements like “books dealing with interactions between humans and environment”, “books that have a story to tell”, “books on subjects I did not know about, but still can relate to”. As those three elements are present in Rotherham’s discussion on the Yorkshire Fens, it is a book I like. The Northern Fens of Yorkshire and north Lincolnshire—the wetlands between the North Sea and the Pennine Hills—are the main stage and subject in the story. The abundant resources of the fens, providing wood and shrubs, food sources (dear), peat as fuel, but also shelter from attack, have been exploited by humans over many millennia since the last Ice Age. For most of this time they did so by adding human elements in the fens (a road, some buildings) without creating an entirely new type of landscape.

The more dramatic episode creating a new landscape started in the 14th century, when large parts of the fens ...