History walk 11: The tracks across the mediaeval East Field

Physical Character

 

These ‘green’ tracks are shown on the Digital Map.  They are now about 12 feet wide and are surfaced with hardcore and gravel as they are regularly used by large farm vehicles for access to the cropped fields.   They are bordered by narrow strips of a wide range of wild flowers – nettles, burdock, mallow and lesser bindweed in profusion in August.  The O.S. map of 1884 shows that the fields were surrounded by hedges, but these have nearly all been removed, however, along the track between Mill Lane and the Hemsby Road.  Just before the houses are reached there is a short stretch of hawthorn hedge on the north side.

 

Although these tracks are not registered as public footpaths they are regularly walked by local people.

 

Historical Ecology

 

These are tracks across what was once the mediaeval East Field.  The Enclosure Award of 1812 required that they should be ‘private roads’ 18 feet wide to enable the numerous farmers to have access to their individual fields.  They are the ‘private roads’ numbered 2, 3, 4 and 5 on the Enclosure Map of 1812.  Surely they already existed from the days of the open fields?  It was not until 1812 that some of the strips were finally enclosed and awarded to individual owners.

1.  The track going east from Pratts Loke at TG457185

2.  The track going north to Somerton Road at TG464188

3.  At the junction with Mill Lane at TG471185

4.  The track going west towards Hemsby Road

5.  Looking back east along the track towards the wind turbine

6.  The track at TG466184 approaching Hemsby Road

7.  Looking back as the track reaches Hemsby Road at TG463182

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