Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Rural Relaxation & Medieval Fields

     A couple of days ago the sun came out, after days of heavy rain, and I went to Long Marston to look at the effects of flooding. Not surprisingly Watery Lane was justifying its name - basically it was a small river, with water from side to side, steadily flowing north, for a distance of several hundred yards, and several inches deep. What I had come to see was the large field between Astrope Lane and the old Long Marston Church Tower. On previous walks I had noted the low ridges which suggested that it was a former medieval ridge and furrow field, but in the summer, with the grass long, it was almost impossible to photograph in a way that showed the layout.
     As the above picture shows, the plan was immediately revealed and would have been really striking from the air. A whole series of long pools filled the furrows, with the ridges standing proud.
    This is not far from the former medieval fields I have photographed under Wilstone and Startops Reservoirs. In past years, in my walks along the local canals in nearby Buckinghamshire, I have photographed evidence of medieval fields near Wendover (feint but visible in suitable light), at Bierton (very well preserved, and bisected by the Aylesbury Arm of the Grand Union Canal) and at Buckland (a tiny corner of the field north of the later canal survives, but the rest south of the canal is ploughed out). (If anyone is interested I can post pictures of these.)

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