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Hannah Fields aka Littleover Community Garden


By twiggy


I haven’t visited here for a long time (no reason – just life getting in the way!) but nowadays I’m heavily involved in a huge gardening project. I’m one of a very small group of volunteers working on a 2 acre site with the vision of creating a ‘space’ where people can come and garden, meet or just simply sit and enjoy the peace and quiet.

What we’ve been grappling with was originally wall-to-wall 8’ high brambles half of which we’ve doggedly tackled by hand and then we decided to pay for a 16ton digger to deal with the rest (there’s a limit!). The digger carefully uncovered approx. half-an acre of medieval ridge and furrow – the whole 2 acres would originally have been the same but over the years it’s become less well-defined so we were really excited to see what survived. Excited but also a little bit over-whelmed! The intention for this area is to begin cultivating it again – all we need is a man, a plough, 2 oxen and a small boy at the front! Failing that digging and using a rotovator where possible!

I’ll keep posting on here and I’ve got absolutely masses of questions!

More blog posts by twiggy

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What an exciting discovery - are you hoping to keep the original ridge and furrow if the oxen and small boy don't materialise? Good thing you like a challenge! All the best with it and keep us posted.

17 Jan, 2019


Good idea to do that !
It must have been exciting to find the medieval ridge and furrow, Will you be keeping it like that ?

18 Jan, 2019


Sounds like an ambitious project but I'm sure it will be spectacular. Once you get rid of those brambles, the work will be easier & more rewarding. Would love to see some pictures.

18 Jan, 2019


wow that is some project but it will be so rewarding. keep a photo diary if you can. take the pictures from the same places every time and if you can at regular intervals. it makes a wonderful archive. in the future you may be able to publish a small book on it.

exciting times :o)

19 Jan, 2019


In answer to those questions: -

Yes, we're definetly keeping the remaining ridge and furrow - somehow (I suspect because I was the only person in our very small band of volunteers who's become obsessed with them) I've been put in charge of 'doing something with them'! There's approx. half-an-acre left consisting of 4 ridges and 3 furrows the remainder across that width have disappeared into an the row of houses bordering that side of our space. The 2 outer ridges have also become absorbed into the remains of the original hawthorn hedge which leaves the 2 middle ridges with their furrows. They're approx. 150' in length and 20' wide at a conservative estimate and it's an almost over-whelming task so I decided to start on the 1st ridge and simply mark out a 15' length - I then inveigled my other half into helping me dig it over (took approx. 3 hours) and it was full of bramble roots plus every other thing that had taken hold over the years! We've left it for the frost and snow to break the soil down for a few weeks and then I guess we'll just have to take a deep breath and dig it over again. I've found a place called Laxton Open Fields Village near Newark, Notts, which is a protected site and is the 'only village in Europe still operating this ancient system'. As soon as the weather cheers up we're going to drive over there and try and get an idea of what we can do. I do know that plants needing plenty of moisture were grown at the bottom of the ridge (the furrow is the drainage system which is why they seem to have been built on a slope) and plants preferring drier growing conditions would have been grown at the top of the ridge. They'd have been ploughed by a man driving 2 oxen with a plough attached and there'd be a boy at the side of the oxen with a pole/rod just long enough to reach the head of the oxen furthest away from him so he could adjust direction they were ploughing in. I'll try and upload a few pics of this area.

ps we cleared one acre of brambles by hand (secateurs, shears etc.,) and I sacrificed a pair of wellies to the wretched things - the 2nd acre was cleared by a 16ton digger and the driver dug a hole every so often and pushed the brambles into it, filled it with soil and moved on. Our problem are the piles of brambles we removed from the 1st acre!!

30 Jan, 2019

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