Water Meadows: History, Ecology and Conservation
Hadrian F. Cook, Tom Williamson
Windgather Press Limited, 2007 - Nature - 151 pages
This book brings to public attention some of the most evocative and threatened features of the landscape of southern England. Water meadows work with nature to improve agricultural productivity, whilst providing rich habitats for wildlife such as water voles, waders and grass snakes. They are areas of low-lying grassland which are regularly 'drowned' - artificially irrigated - at certain times of the year, to stimulate the early growth of grass in the spring. Only a few remain in operation today, though they played a crucial role in Britains past farming economy. Their archaeological remains can be found all over southern England, with Hampshire and Wiltshire having perhaps the best surviving examples. In this book leading archaeologists and scientists - together with one of the last practising 'drowners' - explore the ecology and history of water meadows. They ask when and where the art of floating originated, and explain its hydrology. They also investigate water meadows conservation status and potential for the future.
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The Archaeology of Water Meadows
Water flowing through the sward of a bedwork meadow 78 Water Meadows
Meadows in the Long Term
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aerenchyma agricultural Agrostis stolonifera anaerobic archaeological areas Avon Valley Bedwork Water Meadows bedworks Brendon Hills Britford water meadows Castle Acre catchmeadows catchworks cattle chalk chalklands construction counties Countryside Stewardship Scheme Cutting described developed districts ditches Dorset drowner drowning dry weight early East Anglia East Lexham eighteenth century environmental example Exmoor extent farmers farming Figure Floated Water Meadows floating upwards flooding floodplain flow forms of irrigation grass growth grazing gutters Hampshire Harnham hatches headmain Herefordshire historical important improvement increased irrigated meadows irrigation Kerridge landscape leats manure Martins and Williamson mead meadow irrigation meadow land medieval nineteenth century Norfolk nutrients oxygen pastures period plant practice productivity river river Avon River Nar Salisbury sediment seventeenth century sheep sheep-corn sluices soil temperatures species spring stolonifera summer hay crop surface sward technique tenant tion turnips unfloated upland Wade Martins Water meadow management water meadows Wessex Water Williamson 1994 Wiltshire winter WSRO