The name Littleport probably comes from the Latin 'portus' meaning harbour or port. Numerous artifacts have been discovered which date from the Roman period, and the Roman road Akeman Street, ran through the town. Littleport was listed in the Domesday Book as 'Litelport' and was surrounded by fens with access to Ely by a narrow causeway. The watery fen provided a plentiful supply of fish, eels and waterfowl, which was often used as rent to pay the Abbot of Ely.
William Sylvester Harley who founded the Harley-Davidson motor company with Arthur Davidson, was the son of William Harley who was born in Littleport on May 2nd 1835. In 1860 William Harley left Littleport and emigrated to the USA. Soon after arriving he enlisted in the army and fought in the American Civil War. William fathered several children. One of these was William Sylvester, born on December 29th 1880, who went on to form the Harley-Davidson motor company with Arther Davidson in 1903.
The Harley Trail through Littleport is around 2 miles long and starts from The Barn, home of the Littleport Society, who discovered and confirmed the link between Littleport and the Harley-Davidson Motor Company.
For further information about the Harley Trail call Ely's Tourist Information Centre on 01353 662062 or contact The Barn, Littleport on 01353 860449