Decoy pond 350m south of Aslackby Decoy Farm


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


Ordnance survey map of Decoy pond 350m south of Aslackby Decoy Farm
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2019. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

South Kesteven (District Authority)
Pointon and Sempringham
National Grid Reference:
TF 14075 30802

Reasons for Designation

Decoy ponds are artificially created or modified pools of water onto which wildfowl were lured to be trapped and killed for food and for feathers. They consist of a central pool off which lead a number of curving arms or ditches, known as pipes. Nets were constructed over the narrowing ends of these pipes towards which the birds were lured by the decoyman and his dog. Screens were erected along the sides of the pipes with carefully placed gaps so that the dog would be visible to the birds only when his appearance would lead the birds towards the nets at the ends of the pipes. Once at the ends the nets would be dropped and the decoyman was able to wring the birds' necks. The tradition of constructing such ponds appears to have begun in the medieval period, with the simplest designs indicating an early date. The more familiar decoy pond, however, is said to have originated in Holland and to have been introduced into England in the 17th century. The word `decoy' is said to derive from the Dutch `eendenkooi' meaning `duck cage'. Their greatest popularity came in the 18th and 19th centuries when large numbers were built, with a small number continuing in use until World War II. The ideal size for a decoy pond was between 1ha and 5ha with a depth of water of not more than a metre. The number of pipes varies from one to more than five, often arranged in symmetrical patterns around the central pool. Although once common features of lowland England (being particularly associated with the east and south east coasts), modern drainage has modified or destroyed all but a few examples. Most examples which survive in a near-complete state of preservation will be considered of national importance and worthy of protection.

The remains of the decoy pond 350m south of Aslackby Decoy Farm survive well as a series of buried deposits. The pond, pipes, and enclosure ditch will preserve evidence for construction and use of the decoy. Waterlogging of the deposits will preserve evidence of environmental remains, such as seeds, pollen, or timber, providing information on the use of the decoy and the local environment.

The survival of this decoy is rare as it is the only one out of a group of five formerly located within a small area; as such it will preserve valuable evidence of the inter-relationship of decoys as components of the post- medieval landscape.


The monument includes the buried remains of a post-medieval decoy pond located 350m south of Aslackby Decoy Farm, on Aslackby Fen. The monument is situated on flat land covering an area approximately 200m by 200m. The decoy pond, associated features and surrounding enclosure are clearly visible as a series of cropmarks (areas of differential plant/crop growth showing buried remains) on aerial photographs. The decoy includes an octagonal double ditched enclosure around a star-shaped pond measuring approximately 80m in width. Eight channels, representing pipes, curve outward, in a clockwise direction, from the angles of the pond. Each pipe narrows as it curves away from the pond and tapers to a point. A series of banks lay within the enclosure, together with ditches or channels which formerly supplied water to the decoy.

The decoy is the only surviving one of five formerly located on adjacent fens, lying within a radius of 1km to 2km, during the 19th century.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Cambridge University Collection, AII 82, (1963)
Pickering, J, 2330/24, (1983)
Title: Aslackby cum Graby and Millthorpe Tithe Award and plan: H455 Source Date: 1846 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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