Crawley Brook
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Crawley Brook is a much lesser brook now that it was in the first half of the 20th Century. It used to flood and create wide boggy areas which was brought under control through land drainage. Here two life long Crawley residents recall the times they spent by the brook as children.
Doug Neale:
"Like most Crawley children, we enjoyed playing in the Brook. We would dam it up and bathe in it. Parts were so lovely, clear and sandy.

The amount of water used to be much greater years ago, before the land was drained. On occassions it would flood and be several feet deep in places. The speed of the water could be enough to knock you over. A lot of the ground near the brook was marsh and bog. The bog would come up to your knees in places.

In the marshy areas, there used to be massess of beautiful wild flowers; yellow kingcups and milkmaids. The Ducess of Bedford, or "The Flying Duchess" as she was called used to come down to the Woburn side of these marshes and shoot snipe. Snipe were very small birds and most difficult to shoot but she was very good at it."
A group of friends by Crawley Brook near
Crow Lane at the turn of the Century
Joan Healy (nee Battams)
"We've had so many happy hours down by that brook when we were children. Watercress used to grow there and we would creep along and pick it. We had to creep because the field was rented by a Tom Harris to graze his cattle and if his duaghter Katie caught you she would come and take all our watercress away. That was how it was then, people were very strict. But if we did manage to get any, we'd try and sell it for a few pence so we could go and buy sweets from the Bull!"