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South East Warwickshire and Cotswolds Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) Target Areas NMP

Like many other parts of Britain rural Warwickshire and the Cotswolds are rich in archaeological sites. One effective way of caring for them is through a Management Agreement, but for a monument to be protected it must first be identified. This aerial survey was carried out to discover and better understand the archaeology to help in the management of the landscape. The results can be seen in the report.

The Roman period

The Fosse Way extends across this project area and there is likely to have been widespread Roman settlement, but relatively little is known compared to the main areas of the Cotswolds. The results of this project are helping to build a fuller picture of what was happening in the area during the Roman period.

For example, the aerial survey and further geophysics identified additional settlement remains in the area above and to the right of the enclosure on the photograph below.

A colour aerial photograph showing cropmarks of a Roman enclosurein arable fields
A Roman defended enclosure on the Fosse Way at Chesterton photographed on 01-JUL-2002 (NMR 21658/0A). © Historic England

The medieval landscape

This area of the Midlands is well known for its medieval archaeology. There are numerous shrunken and deserted settlements, many of which are visible as earthworks, like the example at Wormleighton, Warwickshire.

Typical of many sites in this area the ridge and furrow if the medieval arable fields extended right up to the edge of the village. The earthworks survive well in areas of pasture but a return to arable farming since the 1940s has levelled most of those earthworks seen on historic air photos.

A good example of a surviving settlement can be at seen Wormleighton in the image below. Here the shrunken medieval settlement can be seen with the associated ridge and furrow cultivation visible above, at the top and left of the photograph. The rectangular features in the central foreground are fishponds, which appear to cut into earlier settlement earthworks.

A colour aerial photograph showing the earthwork remains of a medieval settlement and its fields
The shrunken medieval settlement of Wormleighton, with associated ridge and furrow photographed on 26-OCT-2000 (NMR 18829/32). © Historic England

Military sites

The area had a large number of Second World War military sites, including airfields and a very large ordnance store.

Some of these airfields were closed and returned to greenfield sites after the Second World War, while others were redeveloped and completely changed from their original form.

Gaydon Airfield became a base for the nuclear ā€˜Vā€™ bombers in the 1950s, before being converted into a vehicle testing ground.

Wellesbourne Mountford airfield is still an active civilian airfield, though the technical site has been converted into an industrial estate, reusing the aircraft hangers, and the domestic site had been completely levelled by 1993 and is now a housing estate.

B&W vertical aerial photograph showing a wartime airfield with runways, hangars and associated ancillary buildings
The domestic and technical sites at Wellesbourne Mountford airfield photographed on 26-AUG-1945 (RAF 106G/UK/721 4017) Historic England RAF Photography

The Higher Level Stewardship Scheme

The Higher Level Stewardship Scheme (HLS) is a programme run by Natural England which supports farmers and land managers in managing the ecology and archaeology on their land. 

The target areas are regions that Natural England considers to be priorities, based on their high quality landscapes, ecology and archaeology.

The South East Warwickshire and Cotswolds project completes the NMP coverage of the SE Warwickshire HLS Target area, and also covers a portion of the Cotswolds HLS Target Area.

One of the aims of this project is for the mapping and interpretation to be used in farm management plans, to assist in managing the historic environment of the region.

South East Warwickshire & Cotswolds Higher Level Stewardship Target Areas

South East Warwickshire & Cotswolds Higher Level Stewardship Target Areas

Published 12 March 2014

A report on the aerial survey of the South East Warwickshire and Cotswolds HLS Target Areas. A National Mapping Programme project (6053)

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.

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Group of people standing on a stony mound
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