The breach and the Buffalo

Including the events that led up to the loss of Buffalo 47…

In this section of the website, you can find further information about the breach, the recovery, and Buffalo 47.

The Breach

The events that led up to the breach

The Recovery

75 years underground

Buffalo 47

Our buffalo

Artist impression of the Abbey prior to the dissolution of the monasteries in 1539

The site where Buffalo 47 was recovered from is located to the north of the town of Crowland in South Lincolnshire which is well known for its historic abbey which was founded in the early eighth century. Crowland is situated close to a river known as the Welland, the surrounding area is largely composed of fertile farmland reclaimed centuries ago.

Whilst the “Isle of Crowland” itself boasts a rich history dating back to its charter in 716, when Æthelbald, king of Mercia, founded a monastery at Crowland. The surrounding land was reclaimed from the sea and drained from 1630s onward. The town is also home to Trinity Bridge, a unique three-way stone arch bridge located in the centre of the town.

Historic photo of Crowland

Photos from around the town of Crowland.

To the west of the town is the River Welland which rises in the county of Northamptonshire. It flows 105 km (65 mi) through the towns of Market Harborough, Stamford and Spalding before it reaches sea. The river originally flowed through the town before it was re-routed to the west of the village in the mid 17th century.

Looking north along the River Welland with Crowland Low Wash to the east. The breach location is in the upper right corner of the photo. The ‘wash’ area to the east of the river can be flooded when there’s a risk of the river overflowing it’s banks protecting the farmland to the west and in a severe flood situation.

Much of the land around Crowland is only around 1m above sea level and in a level 3 flood zone, areas within this zone have been shown to be at a 1% or greater probability of flooding from rivers.

Flood map for Crowland

After the 1947 floods subsided investigations began to look into how risk could be reduced in the future. One of the causes was thought to be the narrow width of the river through the nearby town of Spalding which constricted the flow. This led to a new river channel, the Coronation Channel, to the east of the town which opened in 1953, named so because it was the year of the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

Sunset from the Welland Bank


If you would like to support the restoration click here to find out how you can.

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© Crowland Buffalo Association

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