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PICTURES: Harnham Water Meadows are 'drowned'

PICTURES: Harnham Water Meadows are 'drowned'

Published by Jack Deery at 12:55pm 11th February 2020.

2 minute read

The annual event took place on Saturday (8th February) and it returns again at the end of the month.

The Water Meadows are 'drowned' every year towards the end of winter. 

It consists of opening various hatches dotted around the site, for a week at a time, to let water flow across it's surface. 

Harnham Water Meadows drowning 2020
Salisbury Cathedral overlooks the Harnham Water Meadows

After a weeks rest, this process is then repeated to allow the chalk stream water to warm the grass and help it grow quicker than expected

This also means that sheep can be brought onto the land sooner than other farmers flocks and get to market sooner. 

Harnham Water Meadows drowning 2020
A big crowd gathered to see the first 'drowning' of 2020

Over 100 people turned up for the first drowning of 2020 over the weekend, with another chance to see it happening on the 22nd February. 


The 'Drowning of Harnham Water Meadows' has been happening since the 17th century. 

In the days of the coaching inns in Salisbury, two cuttings of hay then be harvested for the horses. 

Harnham Water Meadows drowning 2020
The process used to make it a prime farming site

This made the water meadows a prime farming site and added to the prosperity of the city and the surrounding villages up until the early 20th century.

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