Thursday, 13 May 2010

18. Wednesday 12 May 2010

Yet again we were working in changeable weather conditions – one moment it was hot, and the next, bitingly cold. There were even a few hailstones.

Determined to complete the planning of the mill pond, Jane, Ruth and Vera laid out a square of base tapes to work within. For a second week running we found that a person or persons unknown had sought out one of our fixed point markers and removed it – we have carefully made these as small and unobtrusive as possible, well away from the footpaths, so this was certainly a deliberate act. What a shame these people have such meaningless lives that this is how they need to fill their time.

It was a long day but Ruth, Jane and Vera managed to measure up and draw the mill pond embankment, with just the hachuring to complete next week.

Hang on Vera! © Jane Lunnon

David and Peter worked with the alidade around Washfold Hill and the sheepwash bridge area to finish off there.

Alan continued his photographic survey of both archaeological and botanical features. With spring in the air he managed to capture some of the local invertebrate fauna as well, as they start to busy themselves among the emerging flowers.

© Alan Williams

At the moment the flowers are proving quite elusive – but with the weather expected to pick up soon, we expect a sudden burst of growth is imminent, which should keep our photographer occupied for a few weeks.

Chris Lunnon, from the project’s documentary research group, turned up in the afternoon to conduct a study of the trees around the mill site. Using Forestry Commission guidelines, he is calculating the approximate ages of the trees, and hopes to determine whether they pre-date the mil pond and/or the reservoir. He also investigated the area of the area we know as the wheel-pit. Having looked at documents on the history of the mill, he is questioning the function of this pit.

Again, quite a few passers-by (and their dogs!) expressed curiosity about our work, and one local resident told us how as recently as the 1990s she remembered herbal plants growing here, as a reminder of the mill workers’ cottage gardens. Sadly, all traces of the garden plants have now disappeared – the question we need to ask is, why, having survived nearly 100 years, have these plants completely gone within the last decade or so?

Jane Lunnon, UWHG Archivist

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