SP9113 : Medieval Ridge and Furrow, Startops Reservoir, near Tring

near to Marsworth, Buckinghamshire, Great Britain

Medieval Ridge and Furrow, Startops Reservoir, near Tring
Medieval Ridge and Furrow, Startops Reservoir, near Tring
Ridge & Furrow - Three Views taken from different Angles
As the water starts to rise in Startops Reservoir the old ridge and furrow markings will soon be disappearing underwater, and these three photographs, taken on the same day, probably show them at their best and also demonstrate the difficulty in spotting such features from the ground, although I am sure they are very obvious from the air.
The pictures looking from the north and south show the ridges as long clearly defined parallel banks clearly outlined by the water,. The difference in vegetation is also very clear. In addition foreshortening gives the impression that the strips are very narrow.
The view from the east, looking along the ridges shows three ridges, and they can be seen to be far wider than the side views suggest. However the features are far more difficult to identify. For instance the longest ridge is foreshortened to a barely perceptible bump in the waterline, and the differences in the vegetation are less obvious. This is partly due to the fact that at one point the greener areas switch from the ridge to the furrow. (This may be due to the differences in the vegetation due to the depth of water covering the area when the reservoir is full.)
It is important to realise that if you actually walk the area of exposed mud (at least where it is firm enough to walk on) you see nothing if you look down at the ground. The original ridge and furrow may have been virtually ploughed out before the reservoir was built, and the maximum difference in height between the ridges and furrows where best preserved can be no more than an inch or two. In addition when you are that close you see individual plants rather than the averaged out effect of a distance view.
Ridge and Furrow Fields near Tring, Hertfordshire
Medieval farming involved large common fields which were divided into narrow strips, each a furrow long (hence the distance measure - a furlong). While this farming technique was abandoned several hundred years ago field signs can still sometimes be seen where there has not been deep modern ploughing.
Low Water in Startops Reservoir
Startops Reservoir became very low in the Autumn of 2011, as did the adjacent Marsworth and Tringford Reservoirs. Startops only receives water from the other two reservoirs when they are full and as a result the level was still slowly falling in January 2012 and only started to rise again at the end of February. The three reservoirs supply water to the Grand Union Canal which runs immediately to the North West of Startops Reservoir.
Tringford Reservoir, near Tring, Hertfordshire
Tringford Reservoir is one of four large reservoirs built to supply water to the Grand Junction Canal (now the Grand Union Canal) at the highest point on the canal between London and the Midlands. It was built in 1816 and the associated pumping station (which is still in use) was built in 1818.
In addition to its use to supply water to the canal it is also a private fishery and for many years it was used as a duck shoot. The adjoining land has become woodland and there is a bird hide. Together with the adjoining reservoirs it is a biological site of special scientific interest and for information on the wildlife visit the Friends of Tring Reservoir site LinkExternal link
Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   © Copyright Chris Reynolds and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
year taken
2012
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SP9113, 132 images   (more nearby)
Photographer
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Image classification?
Geograph
Date Taken
Saturday, 10 March, 2012   (more nearby)
Submitted
Sunday, 11 March, 2012
Geographical Context
Historic sites and artefacts 
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SP 9195 1368 [10m precision]
WGS84: 51:48.8519N 0:40.0523W
Photographer Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SP 9191 1357
View Direction
North-northeast (about 22 degrees)
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