Medieval Fishery and Warren in Home Wood
County Council (Unitary)
Central Bedfordshire Council
North East Bedfordshire
OV144144 (514402, 246304)
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A medieval fishpond and warren complex located within Home Wood, west of the village of Northill. The complex is defined by a broad ditch surrounding a roughly rectangular island orientated NNW-SSE. The western arm of the perimeter ditch is 10-12 metres wide and some 170 metres in length, water-filled from springs on the valley floor. The eastern arm is similar in width but different in chracter, with a more pronounced 'V' - shaped profile cut into the rising ground to a depth of 3 metres. It is now normally dry. A substantial internal bank created from the upcast follows the entire length, rising to a pronounced knoll at the southern end. The western halves of the southern and northern arms remain waterfilled or waterlogged for much of the year. These are generally no more than 6 metres in width, although the western part of the northern ditch appears to have been widened prior to 1781 - the date of the earliest known large scale map of the area. The island is divided in two lengthways by a broad central ditch and the western half is further sub-divided into three rectangular compartments of between three and four narrow rectangular fishponds. The eastern side of the island is generally level and may have contained a dwelling for the keeper and other buildings related to the management of the fishery. It is also suggested that this side saw use as a managed rabbit warren, with the level area acting as warren pasture and the large internal internal bank and knoll to the east serving as a purpose-built nesting area or pillow mound. The surrounding ditch, when fully wet, would have provided an effective means of confining the rabbit population. The complex is believed to have been attached to the medieval estate of Northill Manor, which was located on the crest of the slope to the east. Scheduled.
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