Magazine article Geographical

Thirsty Works: In This Month's Discovering Britain Viewpoint, Laura Cole Visits the Partially Submerged Church at Rutland Water

Magazine article Geographical

Thirsty Works: In This Month's Discovering Britain Viewpoint, Laura Cole Visits the Partially Submerged Church at Rutland Water

Article excerpt

When we think of flood water, we think of unexpected surges washing out homes and streets. But what about the deliberate floods that we bring upon ourselves? A half-submerged church keeps a lonely sentinel over Rutland Water reservoir, near Peterborough. Normanton Church overlooks 12 square kilometres of watery horizon, where once sat two valleys of farmland, woods, and a small village.

The east is generally the driest region of England, so it had to outdo itself in order to meet the growing demand for water in the 1960s and 1970s. In 1973, a dam was built in Rutland, and the bottom of the two Gwash valleys, east of Stamford, were lined with clay to create an impermeable bowl for 140 million litres of water. It took four years for the twin valleys to fill up and become the largest artificial lake in the country.

Water security came at a cost. The village of Nether Hambleton, a rural settlement with a history going back to before the Domesday Book, was lost below the waterline. …

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