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2.2 Tales from the River

Uncovering a wide range of local stories about the Brecks Fen Edge and rivers including oral histories, myths and legends.

Delivery Lead Organisation: BFER team / Imogen Radford (Volunteer and Outdoor Swimming Society representative)

Tales from the River Interview - 'Mary'

Our first interview was with Mary, interviewed by volunteer researcher Helaine, and is a delightful story of growing up at Oxburgh Hall and playing in the rivers around the village, catching fish, and having lots of fun.

Here is an extract:


“We didn’t actually swim. We played. We played in the ferry river. We played in what we call the ‘second bridges’ which was down the Foulden road and we played in there because it was a sandy bank and it was clear and you could see the bottom and we paddled, we caught tiddlers and had lots and lots of fun. And lots of the children used to. There used to be a watermill there and where the watermill was, there was a (big) tree cut down and people used to actually jump off the tree trunk into this. It’s a wonder they didn’t break their necks. There was no health & safety by the riverside then.”



This project aims to uncover a wide range of local stories about the Brecks Fen Edge and rivers including oral histories, myths and legends.

It will celebrate how people engaged with the rivers and how they have been used for recreation activities in the past and present.

Young people and adults will be supported to tell their stories, and these will be brought to life through exhibitions, films and story telling.


The project will involve young people and adults in gathering and celebrating stories and folklore about river recreation (especially swimming and other watery activities) in the Brecks’ rivers in the past and present, using research, oral history and gathering a variety of media.

This will all be compiled and presented in a variety of ways, including an exhibition, a film and storytelling.

A legacy of on-line content will be produced and will be formally archived.

The project will link with other projects in the region, including the NLHF supported ‘Suffolk Stories’ Project – part of the new ‘The Hold’ Record Centre in Suffolk. It will also inform and be informed by other BFER projects including Healing Waters and Celebrating River Heritage.

If you’d like to get involved in this project contact us for more information or to be added to the project mailing list:


Training/Educational Events and Workshops


People Trained


Oral Histories