DOI link for Ancestral geographies
Ancestral geographies book
The erosion of peat is transforming the Cambridgeshire fens. Driven by ever more intensive drainage and cultivation, the rich dark earth has been lost in many places. The wind drives across the open ground, carrying drifts of soil across roads and under doors. Few hedgerows remain to check its migration. Each year, the peat grows thinner. The flat black wash is scratched away, revealing an impasto surface of more varied form and colour, the yellows and browns of sand and gravel, the greys and blues of chalky marl. Long protected by the peat, this landscape is diverse. There are river channels and low valleys, flood plains and gravel terraces; meanders, promontories and drier ‘uplands’. Exposed now to the threat of dessication, much of this land has not been seen or worked for more than three thousand years.