Earith is a village in Cambridgshire, England. At Earith, two artificial diversion channels of the River Great Ouse, the Old Bedford River and the New Bedford River, leave the river on a course to Denver Sluice, where they rejoin the River Great Ouse. This photograph was taken looking across the flood plain towards Sutton Gault this morning 18th March 2016. It is perhaps not surprising that some people say the word Earith derives from the word earth….or ‘mud’.
South of March
Rape Seed Field
In 1630, King Charles I granted a drainage charter to the 4th Earl of Bedford who engaged the Dutch engineer Cornelius Vermuyden to construct the two Bedford rivers. The purpose of the new rivers was to facilitate drainage of the Great Ouse between Earith and Downham Market. The area between the rivers is 20 miles (32 km) long and almost a mile wide and acts as washland, i.e. a floodplain during the winter and, increasingly, also in summer. When they are flooded this causes a 30-mile (48 km) detour for local residents.