Fenland District

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Fenland District
On the town bridge in March - geograph.org.uk - 3108774.jpg
March, the second largest settlement in the district.
Fenland UK locator map.svg
Fenland shown within Cambridgeshire
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Constituent country England
Region East of England
Non-metropolitan county Cambridgeshire
Status Non-metropolitan district
Incorporated1 April 1974
  TypeNon-metropolitan district council
  Body Fenland District Council
  Total210.99 sq mi (546.45 km2)
  Rank84th (of 309)
  Rank238th (of 309)
  Density490/sq mi (190/km2)
98.6% White
Time zone UTC0 (GMT)
  Summer (DST) UTC+1 (BST)
ONS code 12UD (ONS)
E07000010 (GSS)
OS grid reference TL417969
Fenland District Council
Fenland District Council logo.svg
Chris Boden, Conservative
since 23 May 2019
Seats39 councillors [1]
Political groups
  Conservative (27)
  Independent (9)
  Liberal Democrats (2)
  Green (1)
Last election
2 May 2019
Meeting place
Fenland Hall, March.jpg
Fenland Hall, County Road, March, PE15 8NQ
Wisbech, known as the "Capital of the Fens" is the largest settlement in the district Wisbech, North Brink - geograph.org.uk - 2801779.jpg
Wisbech, known as the "Capital of the Fens" is the largest settlement in the district

Fenland is a local government district in Cambridgeshire, England. It was historically part of the Isle of Ely and borders the city of Peterborough to the northwest, Huntingdonshire to the west, and East Cambridgeshire to the southeast. It also borders the Lincolnshire district of South Holland to the north and the Norfolk district of King's Lynn and West Norfolk to the northeast. The administrative centre is in March.


Chatteris, one of the Fenland market towns High Street, Chatteris - geograph.org.uk - 2681793.jpg
Chatteris, one of the Fenland market towns

The district covers around 500 square kilometres (190 sq mi) of mostly agricultural land in the extremely flat Fens. The population of the district was 98,262 at the 2011 Census. [2]

Whittlesey, one of the Fenland market towns St Mary's Church, Whittlesey - geograph.org.uk - 3220349.jpg
Whittlesey, one of the Fenland market towns

It was formed on 1 April 1974, with the merger of the Borough of Wisbech, Chatteris Urban District, March Urban District, Whittlesey Urban District, North Witchford Rural District and Wisbech Rural District. [3] In 2022 the council was reported to be the second most complained about in the county. [4]

Settlements in Fenland District

Its council covers the market towns of Chatteris, March, Whittlesey and Wisbech (which is often called the "Capital of the Fens"). [5] Other villages and hamlets in the district include:

Elm, one of the many Fenland villages and one of the districts largest settlements War memorial and church in Elm near Wisbech - geograph.org.uk - 2883379.jpg
Elm, one of the many Fenland villages and one of the districts largest settlements

The latter includes Guyhirn and Parson Drove. [6]


Fenland District Council is elected every four years, with currently (2020) thirty nine councillors. Since 1976 the Conservative Party has held control of the council, apart from a period after 1995 when Labour had control, the Conservatives regained a majority at the 1999 election. As of June 2022, the council composition is: [7]

Conservative Party 27
Independent 9
Liberal Democrats 2
Green Party 1

In the May 2019 elections, twelve councillors were returned without a vote to Fenland District Council, which topped the Electoral Reform Society's list of 'rotten boroughs'. [8]


The local economy has traditionally been built upon farming and food related industry. The food industry is now well established, and related processing, storage, packaging and distribution has become more sophisticated and diverse. The predominantly rural economy of the area also includes a strong industrial tradition, including brewing, brick making, can making, pet food production, printing and engineering, and many local residents commute outside the district to work or study. The River Nene provides access to the sea via the Port of Wisbech. Other waterways provide opportunities for angling and other water based activities. Marinas are located in Wisbech and March.

The council run markets in three of the towns (the market in Wisbech is run by Wisbech Town Council) and a number of festivals and other events. [9]

A proposal for a new Fenland rail link was agreed in June 2020. [10]

Fenland council gave £370,400 to its chief executive Tim Pilsbury when he took early retirement in 2010–11. [11]

Awareness and Promotion

The term Fen Tiger is associated with the fens. A flag with a tiger is now linked with this part of the county. [12] A number of organisations such as the Fenland Archaeological Society (FenArch) and publications such as the Fenland Citizen and The Fens magazine cover much or all of the district. The Wisbech & Fenland Museum for many years was the only museum covering the district. In recent years the Fenland Poet Laurate awards have been eligible for local poets. [13]

Twin towns & sister cities

Fenland is twinned with:

Further reading

Merrison, Karen (2022). Secret Fens. Amberley.

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cambridgeshire</span> County of England

Cambridgeshire is a ceremonial and non-metropolitan county in the East of England government statistical region, and popularly known as one of the three counties of East Anglia. The largest city is Peterborough, followed by the county town of Cambridge. In 1974, modern Cambridgeshire was created through the amalgamation of Cambridgeshire and Isle of Ely with Huntingdon and Peterborough, which including the historic counties of Huntingdonshire and the Soke of Peterborough. A majority of the county is locally governed by Cambridgeshire County Council in combination with the lower tier non-metropolitan district councils of Cambridge, East Cambridgeshire, Fenland, Huntingdonshire, and South Cambridgeshire. Peterborough however is governed as a unitary authority with one council, Peterborough City Council. It is bordered by Lincolnshire to the north, Norfolk to the north-east, Suffolk to the east, Essex and Hertfordshire to the south, and Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire to the west.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">The Fens</span> Natural region on the east coast of England

The Fens, also known as the Fenlands, in eastern England are a naturally marshy region supporting a rich ecology and numerous species. Most of the fens were drained centuries ago, resulting in a flat, dry, low-lying agricultural region supported by a system of drainage channels and man-made rivers and automated pumping stations. There have been unintended consequences to this reclamation, as the land level has continued to sink and the dykes have been built higher to protect it from flooding.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Wisbech</span> Town and civil parish in Cambridgeshire, England

Wisbech is a market town, inland port and civil parish in the Fenland district in Cambridgeshire, England. In 2011 it had a population of 31,573. The town lies in the far north-east of Cambridgeshire, bordering Norfolk and only 5 miles (8 km) south of Lincolnshire. The tidal River Nene running through the town is spanned by two road bridges. Wisbech is in the Isle of Ely and has been described as 'the Capital of The Fens".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Isle of Ely</span> Historic region around the city of Ely in Cambridgeshire, England

The Isle of Ely is a historic region around the city of Ely in Cambridgeshire, England. Between 1889 and 1965, it formed an administrative county.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ramsey, Cambridgeshire</span> Human settlement in England

Ramsey is a market town and civil parish in the Huntingdonshire district of Cambridgeshire, England. The town is about 9 miles (14 km) north of Huntingdon. Ramsey parish includes the settlements of Ramsey Forty Foot, Ramsey Heights, Ramsey Mereside, Ramsey Hollow and Ramsey St Mary's.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Whittlesey</span> Town in Cambridgeshire, England

Whittlesey is a market town and civil parish in the Fenland district of Cambridgeshire, England. Whittlesey is 6 miles (10 km) east of Peterborough. The population of the parish was 16,058 at the 2011 Census.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">March, Cambridgeshire</span> Town and civil parish in Cambridgeshire, England

March is a Fenland market town and civil parish in the Isle of Ely area of Cambridgeshire, England. It was the county town of the Isle of Ely which was a separate administrative county from 1889 to 1965. The administrative centre of Fenland District Council is located in the town.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Chatteris</span> Human settlement in England

Chatteris is a market town and civil parish in the Fenland district of Cambridgeshire, England, situated in The Fens between Huntingdon, March and Ely. The town is in the North East Cambridgeshire parliamentary constituency.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cambridgeshire Constabulary</span> English territorial police force

Cambridgeshire Constabulary is the local territorial police force that covers the county of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough unitary authority. It provides law enforcement and security for an area of 1,311 square miles (3,400 km2) and population of 856,000 people, in a predominantly rural county. The force of Cambridgeshire includes the cities of Cambridge, Ely and Peterborough, the market towns of Chatteris, Huntingdon, March, Ramsey, St Ives, St Neots, Whittlesey, and town and Port of Wisbech. Its emblem is a crowned Brunswick star containing the heraldic badge of Cambridgeshire County Council.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Civil parishes in Cambridgeshire</span>

A civil parish is a country subdivision, forming the lowest unit of local government in England. There are 264 civil parishes in the ceremonial county of Cambridgeshire, most of the county being parished; Cambridge is completely unparished; Fenland, East Cambridgeshire, South Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire are entirely parished. At the 2001 census, there were 497,820 people living in the parishes, accounting for 70.2 per cent of the county's population.

Fenland District Council in the Isle of Ely, Cambridgeshire, England is elected every four years. Since the last boundary changes in 2015, 39 councillors are returned from 24 wards. The elections are held concurrently with the local government elections for Chatteris Town Council, March Town Council, Whittlesey Town Council, Wisbech Town Council and the other parish councils in the district, when the general election was held with district elections and the town and parish elections were pushed back to 24 May 1979.

Wisbech is a former United Kingdom Parliamentary constituency. It was created upon the abolition of an undivided Cambridgeshire county constituency in 1885 and was itself abolished in 1918.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Wisbech & Fenland Museum</span> Museum in England

The Wisbech & Fenland Museum, located in the town of Wisbech in the Isle of Ely, Cambridgeshire, England, is one of the oldest purpose-built museums in the United Kingdom. The museum logo is W&F.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Walsoken</span> Human settlement in England

Walsoken is a settlement and civil parish in Norfolk, England, which is conjoined as a suburb at the northeast of the town of Wisbech, Isle of Ely, Cambridgeshire.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Whittlesey Museum</span> Municipal building and museum in Whittlesey, Cambridgeshire, England

The Whittlesey Museum is a local history museum in Market Street, Whittlesey, Cambridgeshire, England. It is based on the ground floor of Whittlesey Town Hall, which is a Grade II listed building.

The 2015 Fenland District Council election took place on 7 May 2015 to elect members of the Fenland District Council in England. It was held on the same day as other local elections. It used the new boundaries from The Fenland Order 2014.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">2017 Cambridgeshire County Council election</span>

The 2017 Cambridgeshire County Council election was held on 4 May 2017 as part of the 2017 local elections in the United Kingdom. All 61 councillors were elected from 59 electoral divisions, which returned either one or two county councillors each by first-past-the-post voting for a four-year term of office.

Wisbech Town Council is a parish council covering the town of Wisbech in England. It is the successor to the Wisbech Municipal Borough. The Council is based at 1 North Brink, Wisbech where its committee meetings and Full Council meetings are usually held.


  1. "Councillors". Fenland District Council. Retrieved 11 June 2022.
  2. "Non Metropolitan District Council population 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Archived from the original on 11 October 2016. Retrieved 15 July 2016.
  3. The English Non-metropolitan Districts (Definition) Order 1972 – SI 1972/2038
  4. "Fenland". www.fenlandcitizen.co.uk. Retrieved 27 October 2022.
  5. "Wisbech Community Network". Archived from the original on 30 April 2008. Retrieved 29 April 2008.
  6. "Town and Parish contacts". fenland.gov.uk. Retrieved 5 February 2021.
  7. "Councillors". Fenland District Council. Retrieved 11 June 2022.
  8. "Cambs Times". cambstimes.co.uk. Retrieved 7 January 2023.
  9. "St. George's Fayre". fenland.gov.uk. Retrieved 5 February 2021.
  10. "Historic Agreement". wisbechstandard.co.uk. Retrieved 8 August 2020.
  11. Swinford, Steven; Walton, Gregory (1 January 2013). "£100,000 Pay-Offs For Council Chiefs". The Daily Telegraph. London.
  12. "Fenland". www.britishcountyflags.com. Retrieved 24 November 2022.
  13. "Poetry Winners". www.fenlandcitizen.co.uk. Retrieved 24 November 2022.

Coordinates: 52°34′30″N0°02′56″E / 52.575°N 0.049°E / 52.575; 0.049