Moated site, fishponds and decoy pond 490m north west of Park Spring Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018120

Date first listed: 24-Jul-1998


Ordnance survey map of Moated site, fishponds and decoy pond 490m north west of Park Spring Farm
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2018. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1018120 .pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 20-Oct-2018 at 05:10:26.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Nottinghamshire

District: Newark and Sherwood (District Authority)

Parish: Winkburn

National Grid Reference: SK7259458372


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Around 6,000 moated sites are known in England. They consist of wide ditches, often or seasonally water-filled, partly or completely enclosing one or more islands of dry ground on which stood domestic or religious buildings. In some cases the islands were used for horticulture. The majority of moated sites served as prestigious aristocratic and seigneurial residences with the provision of a moat intended as a status symbol rather than a practical military defence. The peak period during which moated sites were built was between about 1250 and 1350 and by far the greatest concentration lies in central and eastern parts of England. However, moated sites were built throughout the medieval period, are widely scattered throughout England and exhibit a high level of diversity in their forms and sizes. They form a significant class of medieval monument and are important for the understanding of the distribution of wealth and status in the countryside. Many examples provide conditions favourable to the survival of organic remains.

Fishponds were constructed largely by the wealthy sectors of society with monastic institutions and royal residences often having large and complex examples. The tradition of constructing and using fishponds in England began during the medieval period and peaked in the 12th century. They were constructed for the purpose of cultivating, breeding and storing fish to provide a constant and sustainable supply of food. The difficulties in obtaining fresh meat in the winter and the value placed on fish in terms of its protein content and as a status food may have been factors which favoured the development of fishponds and which made them so valuable. Decoy ponds are artificially created or modified pools of water onto which wildfowl were lured to be trapped and killed for food and feathers. The tradition of constructing such ponds appears to have begun in the medieval period with the simplest designs indicating an early date but the more familiar decoy pond is said to have been introduced into England in the 17th century. This is a very well preserved and rare example of this type of monument in Nottinghamshire. The size and complexity of the moated site, ponds, duck decoy and water management system is unusual. Important archaeological and environmental evidence will be preserved in the deep basal silts of the moat, the ponds, the gullies and beneath the surrounding banks. Taken as a whole the remains will go some way to improving our understanding of the workings and management of the site and the place it held within the wider landscape.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a moated site, fishponds and duck decoy situated adjacent to a trackway in Park Spring Wood. The site forms part of Winkburn Hall estate which, in its current form, dates to the late 17th century. An estate map of 1766 clearly shows a wood on the site of Park Spring Wood. It is possible, however, that the monument dates from the medieval period when the land was held by the Knights Hospitallers. The monument survives as a series of earthworks which include a roughly square shaped island measuring approximately 16m by 16m which is slightly domed in profile. The island is surrounded by a moat which is approximately 8m wide and up to 2m deep. This is currently very boggy with small areas of standing water. On the south eastern bank is a small semi-circular platform which protrudes into the moat approximately 0.5m above the current bottom of the ditch. A pipe approximately 4.5m wide extends from the northern corner of the moat. This narrows and shallows out at its northern end but has been truncated by a woodland boundary ditch and a trackway. This is interpreted as a pipe along which ducks would be enticed before being captured in nets. The moat is surrounded by a bank on all sides. This is approximately 12m wide although the north eastern arm is more difficult to determine because of the cutting of the forest boundary ditch and the modern trackway. Cut into the bank on the south western side are a series of three roughly rectangular compartments, each measuring approximately 12m long and 6m wide. These lie parallel to each other and at right angles to the main ditch of the moat and are interpreted as ponds. Each of the ponds open into the main ditch but evidence of a low bank across the opening of two of the ponds suggest these were separated to some degree from the main moat. The central pond narrows before opening into the moat via a short channel. On the south east and north west sides a dry gully approximately 0.5m wide is evident outside the bank. It is possible that this surrounded the whole complex but a drainage ditch, which currently holds running water, has been cut on the south west side and the woodland boundary ditch obscures the evidence on the north eastern side. The whole complex is interpreted as a moated site with associated fishponds. It probably functioned as a fish farm, wildfowl refuge and duck decoy site.

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: 29926

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Page, W, The Victoria History of the County of Nottinghamshire, (1910), 142-144
Dennison, E, MPP Single Monument Class Description Decoy Ponds, (1988)
Title: The Parish and Lordship of Winkbourn belonging to Darcy Burnell Source Date: 1766 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: Isaac Messeder

End of official listing