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Anchor The Lake

The Lake

Whittlesea Mere was the largest lake in lowland England until it was drained in 1851. Although nothing of the lake or its surrounding wetlands survive, it continues to be marked on Ordnance Survey Maps – black letters on otherwise featureless white space as if the cartographers were loathed to remove the one remaining sign it was there.

My intention in writing this book is to not only to tell the story of Whittlesea Mere but also to explore what it would have once been like to be there. Because nothing remains of the mere, I visited places that are still with us in England and Continental Europe that are sufficiently similar to bring this to life; also drawing on my memories of the lakes and wetlands from my career as a limnologist (lake scientist). These memories are also the subject of the book.


There are two parts – in Now I write about the history of Whittlesea Mere, brought to life by contemporary accounts and visits to surviving nature reserves (an extract from Now can be downloaded here) 

Then is a work of fiction based on my own experiences but viewed through eyes that once looked on Whittlesea Mere and its marshes. It is about now and then - stories, poems and prose poems. It remains to be finished but the extracts below may give you a sense of the work. 

Extracts and readings from Then:. 

1) Poem to my unborn son

2) The Giant

3) Waking

4) William Ginn

5) The story of the new born spring

6) February 

7) Yellow Flag

8) The nightingale's place

8) Black Ham

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