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Cambridgeshire

Cambridgeshire is a flat county, inland but with tidal rivers deep inland. The Gogmagog Hills are the highest features in the county (though the highest point lies near the south-east border at Camps Castle) but beneath them the Cambridgeshire landscape is generally low-lying, much of it drained fens (and still called fenland) and in some areas is at sea level or below. The northern part of Cambridgeshire is known as “The Isle of Ely”, which is remarkable for its flatness and its fertile soil. The main town is the university city of Cambridge. The University of Cambridge is the oldest in Britain after Oxford, and with Oxford is the foremost. Its beautiful old colleges sit on mediæval streets and their delightful “backs”, look out on the banks of the River Cam. In latter years Cambridge has attracted the computer industry and biotechnology research. The second town of Cambridgeshire is the City of Ely (possibly the smallest city in the land). Ely sits on a low hill above the fens, dominated by its cathedral. Ely Cathedral is visible for many miles across the level fenland and is known as “the Ship of the Fens”. In the north of the Isle of Ely is Wisbech. Apart from these Cambridgeshire has no towns to speak of but numerous villages. Much of Cambridgeshire, and whole of the Isle of Ely, is part of the Great Fen, now criss-crossed by canals and dykes, the fenland drained to create exceptionally fertile agricultural land. The main rivers are the Great Ouse, the Cam (or Granta) and two artificial rivers, the Old and New Bedford Rivers (named after the Duke of Bedford), dug for the drainage scheme.

County Facts

County Town: Cambridge

Main Towns: Burwell, Cambridge, Chatteris, Ely, Gamingley, Melbourne, Sawston, Soham, Wisbech, Whittlesey.

Main Rivers: Cam, Ouse, Nene.

Highlights: Cambridge; Ely Cathedral; Pecover House, Wisbech; Wicken Fen; Wandleybury hill fort.

Highest Point: Near Camps Castle Deserted Village, 420feet (TL 632 418).

Area: 820 sq miles

Flower: Pasqueflower