Ploughing a different furrow

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The vertical ridges in the area circled, just off the Pelsall Road in Brownhills, show evidence of a farming history. A great spot by Warren Parry. Click for a larger version. Imagery from Google Maps.

This is a quick heads up to a post on a blog I love by a chap I have a great deal of regard for. Warren Parry – ‘The Ogley Dirt Farmer’ – is a longstanding friend of the blog, a keen metal detectorist, photographer and investigator of local history.

Warren keeps a fine local blog, and a couple of days ago he posted up an interesting piece about the existence of landscape evidence of ridge and furrow agriculture just off the Pelsall Road near Clayhanger Marsh – just where Stevie Ansell used to keep her horses.

Initially, I was sceptical, but after some ferreting around with the Historical Environment Record, I found that the feature was spotted by the DeBois survey in the late 1980s, and is clearly genuine.

Since then, Barry Carpenter has pointed out there is also evidence of the same at Leighswood, on the Aldridge-Walsall Wood border, just off Northgate.

What I find astounding about this is that the landscape around Clayhanger Marsh was absolutely ravaged by mining for a couple of centuries, and to my knowledge has been fallow ever since. That such evidence of agricultural use remains is nothing short of astounding.

There is documentary evidence on the blog, discovered and recorded by Gerald Reece, that the land was in use semi-industrially in 1848, so these features have survived a lot of change.

Reader comment is invited, as always – comment or mail me at BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

Please do pop over to Warren’s blog and check this out. It’s a fascinating piece. My thanks and best wishes to Warren for an interesting and engaging observation.

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I love Warren’s approach and passion. Click on the screenshot to visit his blog.

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3 Responses to Ploughing a different furrow

  1. David Evans says:

    Hi Bob
    A huge thanks to Warren please. Suddenly another door opens and perhaps we can see further back in time…some while ago a comment re the shape of one of the fields..near Silver Waters housing development in Brownhills..a slang…may take on a special significance. then there’s Barry’s discovery, too. How far back are we looking..pre1600?
    Fascinating and possibly hugely significant, Warren
    Kind regards

  2. Ploughman Munch says:

    The use of the ridge and furrow method died out with the advent of the industrial revolution and widespread mechanisation the method is known to have been used in the area in the late 18th century so these markings could be relatively late in date.

    I would guess this field hasn’t seen crops since around 1850 due to being fenced in by the rail line and the mine tramways around that time Mr Parry’s lack of older finds seems to suggest this field wasn’t ridge and furrow for centuries it could be this only went on for a short time in the 18th century.

  3. davidh936 says:

    hi bob
    haver a look at these coordinates
    52.640108,-1.983531 pelsall north common fishley entrance
    same markings?

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