Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Tapping into an Ancient Spring at Woodhayes

Woodhayes Farm lies at the edge of the Blackdown Hills, the farm's location is at the tip of this Blackdown Hills land mass,  that water appears in numerous places in the form of springs. "Spring Field" is a name given to the field where we have excavated a 9 ft deep trench , the trench is approximately 8 x 8ft square and in this trench we have placed 2 concrete rings placed on a bed of flint stones and gravel from which a plastic water pipe protrudes. Behind the concrete rings including  the lid and inspection hatch we have placed 5 tons of flint stones at the rear void between the concrete rings and the edge of the clay wall of the trench.  The purpose of this is to allow water to find its way from the source of the spring in order to fill the chamber of the  reservoir through the bed of flints and gravel.

View of the site of the spring in Spring Field Woodhayes Farm before work was done.

View of the site of the spring after work has been carried out.

The excavated area showing the concrete lid and inspection hatch of the new reservoir well located between the 2 trees.

A view of the site looking down to the field where the new trough will be located.

The site of the cattle trough now connected to the reservoir

This blackened ancient oak tree is an early piece of agricultural archeology , it was found imbedded in clay and mud , it is in all probability an item that was used to manage the spring water. The oak tree has a lid which is nailed (using hand made nais) over a deep channel aprox 20 cm wide and 20 cm deep and running for 3/4 of the length of the ok timber. At the wide end of the Oak timber there is a circular hole, presumably where the water entered. We have sent photos and details to the archaeology dept of Exeter University and we hope to hear back soon with a more detailed explanation.

An Oak tree showing the lid removed and revealing the gully.

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