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The Draining of the Somerset Levels

By: Michael Williams

288 pages, b/w photos, b/w maps

Cambridge University Press

Paperback | Apr 2009 [2009 reprint] | #180444 | ISBN-13: 9780521106856
Availability: Usually dispatched within 1-2 weeks Details
NHBS Price: £31.99 $41 / €37 approx

About this book

This is a detailed study of how the Somerset Levels, originally a large tract of marsh, were drained and reclaimed to become one of the most agriculturally productive areas of south-west England. The story of the draining of this region brings to light significant comparisons and contrasts with other reclaimed lowlands and extends our knowledge of one of the processes by which the British landscape has changed. This is an important book, which brings together information on an area that has until now received very little attention; it also shows just how early massive reclamation began.


1. Draining: the general setting
2. Draining: the setting of the Somerset Levels
3. Medieval reclamation
4. Draining activity 1400-1770
5. Expectation and disappointment
6. The consequences of draining
7. The lost years
8. The new spirit

Sources and bibliography

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