Huntingdonshire, Huntingdon, or Hunts, an inland county, bounded on the NE, the E, and the SE by Cambridgeshire, on the SW by Bedfordshire, on the W, the NW, and the N by Northamptonshire. Its outline has considerable indentations and saliencies, but may be described as irregularly four-sided. Its length from NE to SW is 32 miles, its breadth from NW to SE varies from 20 1/2 to 34 miles, its circuit is about 125 miles, and its area is about 372 square miles or 234,218 acres. The north-eastern part is chiefly fen, belonging to the basin of the Nen; while the south-western part is higher land, belonging to the basin of the Ouse. The chief heights are some on the S bank of the Nen; a range from Bedfordshire to near Huntingdon, on the right bank of the Ouse; and an offshoot of the heights of Cambridgeshire. The surface, though nowhere presenting bold or striking features, shows a large amount of pleasing soft scenery. The Nen runs for about 13 miles along the north-western and the northern boundary; the Ouse runs about 21 miles, chiefly through the interior, but partly on the boundaries; and both are navigable here by large boats. A number of streams, cuts, and drains traverse the fens to the Nen, and some of them are also navigable. Two considerable streams, and several small ones, fall into the Ouse; yet they and the rivers and their feeders fail, in many parts, to afford the inhabitants a tolerable supply of water. Three large lakes, called Whittlesea, Ramsey, and Uggmeres, were in the N, and the first was several miles in extent, and afforded excellent sailing and fishing; but all three have, within a recent period, been entirely drained. Numerous pools and marshes also were in the fens, and many of these, with the tracts around them, have likewise of late years been completely drained. The substance of the small hills in the SE is mainly ferruginous sand, that of much of the central tracts is Oxford clay, that of a few portions in the N is stone brash, and that of nearly all other parts is some variety or other of alluvium.
The soils are of many kinds, ranging from strong deep clay, through loam and loamy gravel, to sandy gravel and poor peat; but even very bad kinds are capable, by skilful treatment, of bearing good crops. The fens are mostly bare of trees, but abound with willows, and after being drained they form very fertile land. The higher tracts are mostly in tillage, and the meadows feed and fatten many cattle for exportation to the great towns. Estates are large, and farms commonly range in rental from £50 to £500, and let yearly. Wheat yields averagely about 3 1/2 qrs. per acre; barley, 5 qrs.; beans, 3 qrs. Oats, turnips, rape, and mustard, also are grown. The cattle are of the Leicestershire and the Derbyshire breeds. The sheep are chiefly of the Leicestershire and the Lincolnshire breeds. Hogs and pigeons are reared, and water-fowl and eel used to be plentiful.
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