The Fobbing and Canvey Island Marshland

  A Panorama article by Professor Stephen Rippon
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Panorama 50 contains an article by Professor Stephen Rippon of Exeter University about the marshland of south Essex, including the Fobbing marshes. This article contains three maps showing the extent of reclamation at different points in time. These maps are very detailed and the A5 format of Panorama does not do justice to them. The first map shows how Canvey Island, and areas to the west, were in fact a series of small islands. The second map shows the earliest reclamation, probably during the medieval period (around the 12th or 13th centuries?). At that time, the remaining areas remained as intertidal saltmarshes used for grazing sheep. The third map shows reclamation dating to the 17th century, which was the work of Dutch engineers. Note that the present sea wall along much the southern coast of Canvey island and Shellhaven, and up Holehaven Creek is relatively recent, having been moved back to this location following rising sea level: the 17th century sea walls in these areas have been lost to later erosion (which is why we can only suggest their approximate location).

The A4, pdf versions of the maps on this page enables those interested to see the detail of the river channels and sea walls - click on the image to open the pdf.

The south Essex marshes before any reclamation.

The earliest phase of reclamation.

The second phase of reclamation,

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The Panorama article was based on a project entitled Our Wetland Heritage: An Integrated Approach Towards Managing Coastal Landscapes. The report on the first phase of the project gives more details of the methodology and results. It can be found here.

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