History walk 14: The green lane from Damgate Lane to the River Thurne i.e. from TG457193 to TG453203
Physical Character and Historical Ecology
This is a level lane starting from the end of the metalled road, which is now named Damgate Lane, and is one of the ancient roadways of the Parish. It can be identified on Faden’s Map of 1797. It led from the upland part of the parish to the Common, which existed for centuries before the Enclosure of 1807-12, and was the route that would have been used by the farmers who lived alongside it to drive their livestock to pasture on the Common.
The first stretch of the lane, which at the Enclosure became Private Road No.10, was originally part of the lane that went along the edge of the Common where the upland met the marsh. From the map it is evident that it winds to follow the contour. It is about 12 feet wide, with a ditch on the west side throughout its length with hedges and trees on the farther side which may date from the time of the Enclosure or even earlier.
The hedges on the east side includes sweet chestnut, elder, oak, hawthorn rose, ivy and ash.
The hedges on the west side includes alder, elm, bullace, and oak, crack willow, pussy willow, sloe, ash, Lombardy poplar and birch.
Along part of the east side of the lane there are ditches in places. See photo 3. It was along the east side of this lane that we found a crack willow tree of enormous girth which we thought was over four metres but it could not be reached to measure it.
From the point TG455198 the lane goes directly straight to the Thurne riverbank. This is the part that was Private Enclosure Road No. 11 and crosses the former wet common to give access to a staithe which was created by the River Thurne at TG453203. The lane is about 12 feet wide between ditches all the way. These ditches are vital for drainage and are regularly cleared of vegetation and dredged to keep them open and the water flowing through to the drainage pump at TG439192. This pump lifts water from the drainage ditches by Archimedes Screw into the River Thurne. There are no hedges alongside these ditches but reeds grow in abundance.
The staithe that was created at the Enclosure was for a wherry to be moored while produce from the local fields was loaded and other goods unloaded. Since it fell out of use it has become a reed bed.