Coe Fen/Sheep's Green, Cambridge 4069

Cambridge, England, Cambridgeshire, Cambridge

Brief Description

Coe Fen and Sheep's Green are two low lying meadows prone to flooding. The areas are still used predominantly for the grazing of cattle but the site has an interesting history - being used for nude bathing in the late 19th century.

Detailed Description

The common land originally formed part of a continuous belt around Cambridge. By maintaining the Commons system the city has been enhanced, allowing the countryside to come into the centre of Cambridge, whilst Newnham expanded to the west. The poplars and willows complement the rural scene of animals grazing in damp meadows.

Both areas are low-lying meadows prone to flooding by the River Cam. The history of flooding prevented the expansion of Cambridge in medieval times. As the name Sheep's Green suggests, the areas are predominately grazing lands which are still controlled by an officer, known as The Pinder, who lets the land between April and October.

The common land originally formed part of a continuous belt around Cambridge. By maintaining the Commons system the city allows the countryside to come into the centre of Cambridge, whilst Newnham expanded to the west. The poplars and willows complement the rural scene of animals grazing in damp meadows.

History

Detailed History

In 1815 proposals to enclose Coe Fen failed and in the mid 1800s proposals to bring the new railway line to Cambridge across the site also failed. By 1877 the land consisted of 14 hectares and although a new road and bridge were proposed to connect Trumpington Road to Newnham in 1912, the site has hardly changed in size for over 100 years.

During the late 19th century part of the river was used by men and boys for nude bathing. This stretch of the Cam was preferred because of the levels of sewage deposited into the river at Magdalene Bridge and Barnwell Pool. Women passing were expected to lower their parasols over their eyes.

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