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Sixteen Foot Drain - Sixteen Foot River - Part of The Middle Level Fenland Waterways
We cruised the navigable Sixteen Foot Drain (River) from Three Holes junction with Popham's Eau Drain at the northern end in early June 2011 to the junction with the Forty Foot Drain also known as Vermuyden's Drain for the full 11.7mi / 18.8km at the southern end.
This fenland drainage channel dates from the 17th century. As the drained land dried out, the land sunk, so the water level in these drainage channels are now higher than the surrounding ground year round!
There are no locks or sluices on the Sixteen Foot Drain. The navigation runs almost north east to south west, is wide and the water deep with a couple of kinks in the almost straight line. There are no visitor moorings and we didn't see another boat. The speed limit is 5mph.
We moored overnight just south of a farm road bridge against the (only) steel bank enforcement on the road side, opposite Broad Alder Farm, an unofficial mooring, and managed to get a satellite freesat signal!
The Sixteen Foot Drain and other areas of the Middle Levels are renowned for its Zander fishing and I can confirm that they are there! As the boat channeled bait fish closer to the bank I saw Zander in the gin clear water taking their pick of the shoals. This drain has on many occasion broke the UK Zander weight record and in recent years out of the top fifty fish on the list; over half of these fish were caught here on the Middle Level - I believe the Middle Levels still hold the record today with a fish caught by D lavender at 19lb 5oz back in mar 1998!
The village of Stonea (PE15 0DX) is adjacent to, and east of, the watercourse on the B1098 (here known as Sixteen Foot Bank) near the Golden Lion Public House.
Navigation Authority - Middle Level Commissioners, 85 Whittlesey Road, March, Cambridgeshire PE15 OAH : Telephone 01354 653232
There are no low bridges on this watercourse.
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