Sunday, 12 April 2015

Wednesday 8th April 2015

On a glorious spring day 4 of us resumed the survey of Embsay’s field walls.
Tony & Sue record a sheep creep
Having obtained the kind permission of local farmers we were able to go into two fields and take a close look at several walls. Although none of them seemed particularly old (relatively speaking!), the signs were there that they had all undergone interesting repairs and modifications over the past 2 or 3 centuries. Many of the walls around here have obviously been re-built in relatively modern times; some we know were rebuilt very recently (less than 20 years ago), but stand along the lines of older boundaries.

In view of the housing developments planned and proposed for fields off Shires Lane our priority at the moment is to record the walls and features in these fields. The first field we went into will soon be gone under the concrete and no doubt all the walls will be taken down.
Views down to the steam railway & Haw Bank Quarry -
soon to disappear behind modern housing development
The views down to the quarry and the railway may not be the most beautiful in the Dales, but they are interesting, historic and part of an open countryside which gives Embsay its character.  

We had a hearty lunch at the Elm Tree Inn before returning to the second field we were surveying at the other end of Shires Lane. This field is under threat but not yet condemned. It retains interesting features on the ground which may be geological rather than archaeological.

Ruins of a former agricultural building
We came across a curious little ruined building, approximately 5 metres square, its original function a bit of a mystery standing as it does in the middle of the field, built into the slope – not big enough to be a barn for housing cattle, so perhaps for sheep or a small hay store. The Tithe Map shows that it originally stood close to a wall which has now disappeared completely.

There was a sadness about the day in that we knew that even the “modern” walls marked much older field boundaries – these fields will soon be gone forever as the march of the ubiquitous characterless housing estate swallows them up. The open vistas will soon be gone and the rural character of historic Embsay whittled yet further away.

Jane Lunnon

No comments:

Post a Comment