Lothingland, Lowestoft and North Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB National Mapping Programme project
This National Mapping Programme (NMP) project investigated a 118 sq km area of northeast Suffolk’s coastal hinterland, stretching from the Norfolk/Suffolk border to the edges of the coastal town of Southwold. It was designed to address a gap in NMP coverage between the Norfolk coast and Broads, the Suffolk coast and the Waveney Valley (mapped as part of the Suffolk ALSF NMP). Its results provide a more complete picture of the historic environment of the project area, which means it can be better understood and protected.
For the purposes of mapping, the project area was divided into three Study Areas:
- Greater Lowestoft
- North Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB
The project mapped and described nearly 600 archaeological sites. The vast majority (up to 78%) were new discoveries. The sites ranged in date from prehistory to the Second World War. They included Bronze Age burial mounds, prehistoric and Roman settlements and field systems, Anglo-Saxon buildings, medieval manors, post-medieval pleasure grounds and 20th century military defences.
Mapping took place from August 2013 to November 2014 and was carried out by the Historic Environment Service of Norfolk County Council, in collaboration with Suffolk County Council Archaeological Service. Data resulting from the survey will be incorporated into the National Record of the Historic Environment and the Suffolk Historic Environment Record (HER) database and Geographic Information System (GIS). An online version of the Suffolk HER – the Suffolk Heritage Explorer – is now available.
Lothingland was the project’s northernmost Study Area. It is an area of light loam soils and arable agriculture, which in the right conditions can produce a dense spread of cropmark sites. Across the northern portion of Lothingland, which was mapped as part of the Norfolk Coast and Broads NMP, a virtually uninterrupted buried landscape of field systems, trackways, burial mounds and settlements was uncovered, ranging in date from prehistory to the post medieval period. The archaeology encountered within the Lothingland Study Area was not as dense or as complex, but still demonstrated a long history of intensive use for agriculture, settlement and burial. The complex of cropmarks visible at Park Farm, Lound, which includes enclosures, trackways and fields of probable later prehistoric and/or Roman date, is typical of the archaeology visible on the aerial photographs across the southern part of Lothingland. These features overlie a group of ring ditches, probably the remains of a Bronze Age round barrow cemetery, which is also visible on the aerial photographs.
Greater Lowestoft is a key area for development, which could threaten its heritage sites. The NMP survey has provided better information about the existence, location, extent and character of archaeological sites in the area. Using 1940s (and occasionally earlier) aerial photographs, the project recorded many sites of Second World War date within this Study Area. Lowestoft played an important role during the war, as a port and base for the Royal Navy. The town was defended against invasion from land and sea, and from aerial attack. The aerial photographs enabled the buildings, structures and earthworks relating to the military sites and defences to be traced across the town and far out into the suburbs and countryside surrounding it, and along the coast to its north and south.
North Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB
This Study Area encompassed the northernmost part of the Suffolk Coast and Heaths (SC&H) Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). The project hoped to record surviving earthworks on areas of present or former heathland. In fact relatively small areas of heath were encountered within the project area (this land type is more prevalent further to the south). Nevertheless, buried sites visible as cropmarks were encountered throughout the Study Area, along with numerous sites relating to Second World War defences, and a few earthworks, mainly within areas of parkland. Earthwork enclosures of uncertain date and function were also identified within ancient woodland at Mutford Big Wood.
The images used on this page are copyright Historic England unless specified otherwise. For further details of any photographs or other images and for copies of these, or the plans and reports related to the project, please contact the Historic England Archive.
For further information on a project or any other aspect of the work of the Remote Sensing Team please contact us via email using the link below.
Historic Places Investigation
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This survey was carried out across the Felixstowe peninsula and the Waveney Valley by Suffolk County Council to National Mapping Programme standards.
The aerial survey of the Suffolk Coast was an NMP mapping project. It forms part of the national scheme of Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Survey
The aerial survey of the Norfolk Coast and Broads was undertaken as part of NMP