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Magical history tour at Surfleet Reservoir

Find out about the history of Surfleet when you visit the sluice at Surfleet Reservoir. Photo: Judy Chapman
Find out about the history of Surfleet when you visit the sluice at Surfleet Reservoir. Photo: Judy Chapman

Visitors to Surfleet Reservoir can now read up on the history of The Fens and discover a little about the village’s past, including its one-time role in brewing beer.

Surfleet Parish Council has replaced story signs originally installed some years ago by Fens Tourism.

Parish councillor Judy Chapman says the old signs were almost unreadable but the script has been copied to new signs, which were installed either side of the sluice on Wednesday by her parish councillor husband, Mike, and businessman John Rowbottom.

She said: “The old signs were really badly damaged by wind and rain, and ours were very poor. They looked shabby.”

Fens Tourism no longer exists but the council tracked down someone linked to the organisation, who was happy for them to be replaced, and obtained consent from the Environment Agency.

Visitors can find about drainage of the entire Fenland area and Surfleet.

The story is told of how silt blocked the Welland, forcing travellers to carry boats overland by cart three or four miles to Fosdyke, to continue their journey to the sea – and of the sluice being built in 1739 to try to overcome the silt problem.

The sluice was built by the order of the Honourable Adventurers of Deeping Fen in the grand Bason, known today as Surfleet Reservoir or, often these days, Surfleet Res.

Barley was landed at Surfleet to brew beer in quantity at the maltings, which was once attached to the Mermaid Inn.

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