About the Project

This website holds a collection of visual information about the Ouse Washes. The visual model of the Ouse Washes is the result of a project that was led by the Environment Agency in 2012 to gather data and other information from a range of partners who have a stake in the Washes. The results show a combined picture of how the Washes system works.

The visual model, the fly-through movies and the presentations that are all downloadable from this site, demonstrate the significance of the Ouse Washes for flood defence, nature, surrounding agriculture, for recreation and the local economy. The visual model is made up from the information and data of 12 organisations who have participated in this initiative.

The four-month process of developing the visual model has been used to create closer links between the partners and has created a single platform where the challenges that the Ouse Washes face now and into the future can be discussed. For further information about the Accelerated Collaboration and Visualisation process that created this work contact Green Ventures: info@greenventures.co.uk or Royal Haskoning via info@peterborough.royalhaskoning.com

The Ouse Washes System

The Ouse Washes system was originally conceived over 350 years ago. Its creation played a major role in turning the Fens into agricultural land. The Washes are 19 miles long and half a mile wide spanning more than ten parishes and two counties. As well as being one of the country’s largest flood defence systems it is an internationally important nature reserve attracting visitors for wildlife and recreation. When full, the Ouse Washes can hold up to 900,000 cubic metres of flood water from the river Great Ouse.

The system is managed by a whole range of organisations that all need to achieve different things from the land.  More extreme weather patterns, rising sea levels and the age of some of the infrastructure are placing pressure on the Ouse Washes. This visual model and the process of creating it has been designed to create a platform that increases understanding about the Ouse Washes and speeds up collaboration between the partners who operate or depend on the system.

Flood Depth Varies
© Simon Stirrup

Birds in the sunset
© Simon Stirrup