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Ouse Washes

The Ouse Washes are an area in the Fens of Cambridgeshire, England. They cover the area between two tributaries of the River Great Ouse: the Old Bedford River and the New Bedford River (also known as the Hundred Foot Drain).

In 1630, Charles I of England granted a drainage charter[?] to the 4th Earl of Bedford who engaged the Dutch engineer Cornelius Vermuyden[?] to construct the two Bedford rivers. The area between the rivers is 20 miles long and almost 1 mile wide and acts as washland[?], i.e. a floodplain during the winter and, increasingly, also in summer.



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