Monument record STN 024 - Probable post medieval water meadows

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Summary

The earthworks of probable post medieval water meadows are visible aerial photographs and surviving as earthworks on 0.5m resolution Lidar data. The earthworks have previously been recorded as post medieval ridge and furrow, although the location and relationship with the Little Ouse and associated drainage channels would suggest they functioned as a type of water meadows.

Location

Grid reference Centred TL 798 870 (171m by 179m) (Centred on)
Map sheet TL78NE
Civil Parish SANTON DOWNHAM, FOREST HEATH, SUFFOLK

Map

Type and Period (2)

Full Description

Straight ridge and furrow running at right angles to the Little Ouse river. The ridges are 7m wide and the furrows are 4m wide. There are alder trees growing in the damp furrows and on the edges of the ridges, though the main area of the ridges is clear of trees. The land was acquired by the Forestry Commission circa 1920, but they have no record of planting the trees (S1); the size of the trees makes it unlikely that they are much older than that date. It is always possible that the trees have spread from the adjoining alder carr, the seeds germinating in the damp furrows but not on the drier ridges. The straightness of the furrows and the virtual absence of a headland makes it likely that this ridge and furrow is PMed in date (?C19). It is likely that these may be floated water meadow earthworks, similar to those remaining at Lynford and West Tofts in Norfolk. This was a late C18 & C19 method of irrigation well-documented by Arthur Young who describes how banks and ditches were used in controlled flooding of pasture to provide an early bite of grass (S2). Young, however, does not mention Downham meadows at all, which is slightly suspicious. Their position at an angle to the river, though, is perfect for water meadows.

February 2017. 'Brecks from Above' and Breckland National Mapping Programme.
The earthworks of probable post medieval water meadows are visible aerial photographs (S3) and surviving as earthworks on 0.5m resolution Lidar data (S4). The earthworks have previously been recorded as post medieval ridge and furrow, although the location and relationship with the Little Ouse and associated drainage channels would suggest they functioned as a type of water meadows.
S. Horlock (Norfolk Historic Environment Service), 13th February 2017.

Sources/Archives (6)

  • --- Unpublished document: Palmer, R.. 2006. Aerial Photographic Evaluation: Brandon Bypass Outer Study Area, centred TL7885, Suffolk.
  • <S1> (No record type): Rogers E V, Forestry Commission, 1989.
  • <M1> Unpublished document: Suffolk Archaeological Service. Parish file. Parish file: letter, field report form.
  • <S2> (No record type): Young A, 1813 General View of the Agriculture of the County of Suffolk.
  • <S3> Vertical Aerial Photograph: Vertical aerial photograph. RAF/106G/LA/227 FS 2150-2151 17-APR-1945 (HEA Original Print).
  • <S4> LIDAR Airborne Survey: LIDAR airborne survey. LIDAR Santon Forest Research 0.5m DTM 17-JUL-2015 (BNG Project, FC England, Fugro Geospatial).

Finds (0)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (2)

Record last edited

Mar 4 2019 12:55PM

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