Western Lake District Transect Air Photo and Lidar Mapping Project (NMP)
This project has highlighted a cluster of unusual enclosures on the West Cumbrian coastal plain. These are large curvilinear enclosures, up to 65 metres across, but their defining feature is an internal circuit of pits. Three such enclosures are closely grouped in fields to the south of Bootle. One is nearby at Gutterby and another example has come to light just outside the project area at Millom. These enclosures are visible as cropmarks.
The pits are too far apart to have supported a continuous barrier like the Plasketlands enclosure, which was found a little further up the coast. These pits may have held posts to form large timber circles that would have created an enclosed but penetrable space within. However archaeological excavations of pit circuits at Boscombe Down and the Stonehenge Aubrey Holes, found that many pits appear instead to have been dug to receive items and burials.
Part of one of the Bootle enclosures was stripped in advance of the laying of a gas pipeline in the early 1990s. Archaeologists recovered a Bronze Age urn from the site. It was found within a small ditch and mound monument that lay in or close to the pit circuit enclosure.
Toppingmoss Plantation, near Whicham Hall, conceals a complex network of ditches, trackways and a small structure. These features are visible on aerial photos taken shortly after the Second World War. Records show that these are the remains of a naval decoy, one of a series that were built to look at night like the port of Barrow in Furness. Their purpose was to deflect enemy bombing of the Royal Navy installations at the real port.
The Western Lake District Mapping Project covers an area of the coastal plain on the west coast of Cumbria at the south western edge of the Lake District National Park. The Irish Sea lies to the west and the fells rise to the east.
The project was undertaken between May and August 2016 by Alison Deegan. It was funded by National Grid and supported by the Lake District National Park Authority and by Historic England.
The results of the project are available in the report.
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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