SP9113 : Medieval Ridge and Furrow - Startops Reservoir, Near Tring

taken 8 years ago, 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.

Startopsend (or just Startops) Reservoir, near Tring :: SP9114

Startopsend Reservoir was opened in 1817 to provide water for the Grand Junction Canal (now the Grand Union Canal). All but the section of the reservoir adjacent to the Marsworth Reservoir dam are in SP9113. Most of Startopsend Reservoir is in Hertfordshire, but the northernmost part is in Buckinghamshire. It differs from the other reservoirs in the area in that it has very little natural vegetation. It has the Marsworth Reservoir dam on its eastern flank, plus the road on the Tringford Reservoir dam. The Northern edge separates it from the Grand Union Canal and the South West and North West sides are also dams. It takes the overflow water from Marsworth and Tringford Reservoirs and has no direct supply of water.

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SP9113, 172 images   (more nearby search)
Photographer
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Date Taken
Saturday, 10 March, 2012   (more nearby)
Submitted
Sunday, 11 March, 2012
Geographical Context
Historic sites and artefacts  Water resources 
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SP 9196 1368 [10m precision]
WGS84: 51:48.8518N 0:40.0436W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SP 9205 1381
View Direction
Southwest (about 225 degrees)
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