Two weeks ago I found myself close to Wootton Bassett after a day taking photographs on the Gloucestershire & Warwickshire Railway. I’d not seen my good friend Paul for quite a while so a small detour to Bassett would be good. No need to rush back home so an overnight stop was in order. The following day Paul and I decided to go for a walk on the Southern Escarpment of the Ridgeway close to Broad Town before I had to set off home. An interesting area with a ‘chalk’ horse, ancient hill fort, medieval churches and a lot of medieval strip lynchets.
Lynchets (known as ‘raines’ in Yorkshire) are the result of repeated action by a plough’s mould-board turning soil outwards and downwards. This forms a level strip for cultivation with a a ‘riser’ (slope) down to the next strip. They are quite common around the South West but do occur all over the country. They are much easier to see from above. The following image is of the same escarpment a little further around from my photo above.
(image via Google Earth)
The majority of features that remain from these ancient times are things that tell us something about the upper classes. If you come across lynchets like these then pause for a moment and think of the peasants who would work together to cultivate this otherwise unwanted land. With the Acts of Enclosure even these small bits of land were taken away from ordinary working class people.
Before looking at the lynchets we had walked down an ancient path which lead through an area that showed intense badger activity.
Paul’s camera bag went home loaded with badger bones and other assorted items he will use as study pieces for his illustrations. Reminder – take more containers for finds next time Paul!