River Witham Facts

The River Witham is an English river located almost entirely in the county of Lincolnshire. Its source is in South Witham, Lincolnshire, and it empties out into The Haven in Boston, Lincolnshire. It is 132 km (82 miles) in length.

Facts About the River Witham

  • The River Witham has been an important navigable river since the Iron Age, and the Romans used the River Witham as a means of accessing Lincoln.
  • The River Witham flows past or through several towns (such as Grantham and Boston), and the city of Lincoln.
  • The river flows into Brayford Pool in Lincoln, and from there it leaves via a narrow channel under High Bridge. High Bridge is the oldest UK bridge with buildings built on top of it. It was built in the 12th century.
High Bridge in Lincoln (late 19th Century)
High Bridge in Lincoln (late 19th Century)
  • The meaning of the name Witham is unknown, although historians believe it is an exceedingly old word, perhaps even pre-dating the Celts.
  • The Witham Shield, a 4th-century decorative bronze shield, was discovered in the River Witham in 1826.
  • The Grand Sluice was constructed in 1766 to control the waters of the River Witham. It separated the tidal Haven from Witham, and incorporated a lock to secure river navigation. The Grand Sluice prevented regular flooding between Boston and Lincoln, and it allowed thousands of acres of farmland to be reclaimed.
  • Some of its tributaries include River Brant, River Bain, Honington Beck, Barlings Eau, Grantham Canal, Nocton Drain, Bucknall Beck, and Catchwater Drain.
  • The River Witham’s drainage basin is more than 3800 square kilometres.
  • The Fiskerton Log Boat is an Iron Age boat discovered on the banks of the River Witham during a 2001 archaeological excavation near Fiskerton. More than 6 metres in length, the boat was made from a single tree trunk. It is thought that it was deliberately sunk as some form of ceremonial offering.
  • The first mile of the River Witham’s course is located in Leicestershire.
  • The River Witham Sword is a double-edged Medieval sword recovered from the River Witham in 1825. It is believed to have been manufactured in Germany in the late 13th century.
  • According to fishbrain.com, the most commonly-caught fish in the River Witham are perch, roach, dace, pike and rudd. People have also caught chub and tench in the waters of the Witham.

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