The Ouse Washes Website

an independent research and information project

The South Level of the Bedford Level and South Level Drainage Commissioners

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The section of the 'Great Level of the Fens' to the east of the Ouse Washes, reclaimed by drainage during the mid-17th Century, is known as the 'South Level' (SL). It is NOT part of the Ouse Washes, but water is transfered into and out of the Washes, and that plus the operation of Denver Sluice affects operations within the Washes.

SL has a catchment of just over 0 acres (0,000 hectares), all dependent on pumped drainage, and 0 miles (0 km) of major watercourses of which 0 miles are 'statutory navigations'.

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Originally a division of the Bedford Level Corporation, and managed by them, the South Level gained some self control under an act of Parliament of 1830.


Major works undertaken

In 1827-1830 the South Level Commissioners straightened the Ouse by a cut from just below Ely to Sands Hill End near Littleport Bridge, eliminating the bend through Burnt Fen, increasing velocity and scouring power of the river

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Text and photos except where noted © Eddy Edwards, 2010-12

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