NATIONAL TRUST: CROFT CASTLE AND PARKLAND
THE FISHPOOL VALLEY PROJECT 2017
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A view looking west up the valley towards the 18th. century pump house.
This project came about as the result of a need to begin major
engineering work to repair and conserve a series of dams, waterways and
pools in Fishpool Valley, Croft Castle, Herefordshire. The work in the
park is generally thought of as dating largely to the late 18th. and
early 19th. centuries and is seen as an example of the picturesque
landscape. Having attended a initial pre-tendering meeting on site
Polyolbion Archaeology was selected to carry out the initial phases of
archaeological investigation. Here is the diary of what followed:
But first an outline location map to keep track of where things are.
Monday August 14th.
We met with Imogen, the project manager for the Trust at 1.00 pm
and toured the site discussing in detail the siting and scale of each
intervention point ( hereafter IP ), marking them out and in the process littering the valley with a series
of little yellow plastic flags.
Back at Pool 1 we then established a base camp with gazebo, tables,
chairs and what have you to keep the rain away. Once set up it was time
to mark out out the trench for IP2, initially 4 x 2 m although it is
that all this be dug but rather that work on the wall Iines up with
investigating the upper surface of the dam. However, before undertaking
any digging the remainder of the day until 5.00 p.m. was taken up with
carefully removing the undergrowth from the existing
exposure of wall, what we call 'archaeological weeding' it being
important to cut roots rather than pull them less the wall comes
tumbling down. Fortunately at an early stage it became clear that the
wall was mortared rather
than dry built with extensive traces of a hard pinkish red gritty
mortar surviving. A study of the mortars is likely to be important when
it comes to getting any sort of idea about building sequences in the
As we began digging within the marked out area it became
clear that the topsoil with its flora of brambles, ivy and ground elder
would not lift as turf for stacking so a spoil heap was started 2 m S
the trench. Part of the brief was to ensure that any spoil did not
pollute the watercourses and so began a campaign of revetting our heaps
with boarding. By the end of the day at 5.00 pm we had cleared
approximately 4 m of wall. Early indications suggest more than one
phase of construction and some purposeful changes in alignment.
Tuesday August 15th.
Sarah contemplating the area marked out for digging and getting started on
some archaeological weeding on what turned out to be the south wall of
After a trip up to the cafe for clean water we started by extending IP
2 by 1 m to the south in order to pick up the width of the wall 001 and
the nature of any associated deposits to the south. Turf stripping 002
at the west end of the trench enabled us to build a low turf retaining
wall around the spoil heap. After a meeting with Jason to discuss the
work two volunteers were introduced and given a site induction. They
completed the turf stripping whilst Sarah carried on tracing the line of
the wall further east.
I completed some clearance of vegetation and fallen branches at IP1
and examined the make up of the dam and the stone walling that acted as
a seating for a modern concrete pipe. This walling whilst probably
recent is similar to the wall at the north end of the dam to pool 2.
There were no signs of any other early structures. The dam itself seems almost entirely composed of a weak silty clay
which has been readily scoured away. Conditions at IP 1 are actually quite
dangerous and apart from some photography and sample taking no further
interventions were planned.
At IP 2 a partially metalled surface 003 was cleaned and shown to be in
the form of a low bank rapidly dropping away to the east. Further work
to pick up the return of the wall 001 where it met the east wall above
the tunnel lead to the discovery of a complex structure involving a
wall that extended much further to the east than expected and a
possible paved area.
In the afternoon the volunteers Ian and Malcolm cleared fallen trees
from part of the east face of the dam and then removed weeds and moss
to uncover the continuation of the wall to the east. Further flat slabs
were mortared in place against its north face suggesting possible small
steps indicative of a cascade however the relationship with the
north-south tunnel wall remains problematic. Additional work to clear
the face of wall 001 revealed a remarkable survival of an area of
pitched stone paving which has initially been interpreted as the base
of a spill way running down from the pool.
Wednesday August 17th.
First up was the completion of the recording of features at IP 1 as
well photographs four separate contexts were noted. At IP 2 a red
gravel bank 010 was removed to a depth of 0.4m to reveal
the continuation of the side wall of the spillway as it approaches the
water's edge. No traces of the pitched stone base were seen but a buff
clay bedding for the stones was noted here and towards the eastern end
of the spillway.
The Trust volunteers began by carefully removing roots that had grown
over the pitched stone surface and then removed further roots that were
obscuring the junction between wall 001 and the north-south wall 006.
Work was then completed to clarify the exact line of wall 001 which
resulted in the discovery of possible whetstone fragment in the
topsoil. Additional clearance established that the wall 006 was not
contiguous with that flanking the tunnel IP 3 but rather its courses
finished until it faded into the bank at its southern end.The area representing the upper tier of the cascade was further
examined and its width extended as tumbled rubble was removed. This
lead to the discovery of the base of small glass vessel again in the
A lengthy site meeting / discussion was held with Jonathan, the person
responsible for designing the new scheme for managing water throughout
the valley, about the engineering aspects of the project and later
similarly with Imogen.
Thursday August 18th
Expert work to remove in-growing roots from the small surviving portion
of pitched stone paving plus some finds, pity they were in the topsoil.
After a very wet night and. morning the attempt to dig at ab the mouth
of the partially collapsed tunnel, IP 3 was abandoned as the ground was
running with water.
The upper part of IP 2 was sponged dry and work continued to remove the
red gravel bank 011 that capped the dam and filled the former spill
way. At the close of the day yesterday the beginnings of a yellow clay
deposit was noted about 20 cm below the top of the wall 001. In practice
the clay dropped away rapidly leaving the team with up to 60 cm of
gravel to dig. A similar spread of red gravel was seen to the south of
wall 001 and this was removed onto another yellowish clay bank all of
which post dates the wall, the buried portions of which remain well
preserved. It was also shown that the side wall to the spill way was
secondary to the north south wall. The rear of wall 001 was examined to
establish that it was a single faced revetment wall and by the end of
the day the whole complex had been recorded in plan by photographing
sections of wall beneath a measured in and leveled up planning frame.
Up at the second dam two trenches were marked out ( IPs 5 and 6) and the turf removed
to examine the crest of the dam for evidence of spillways. In addition
some clearance at the foot of the retaining wall at the south end of
the dam was undertaken (IP7), however the increased water flow lead to second
thoughts about the extent to which one could remove silting from a
possible culvert without precipitating the sudden drainage of the pool!
Friday August 19th.
Now we're really getting on with it, four volunteers to dissect the south
wall of the spill way and here are the fruits of their labours: the
wall excavated down to its lowest course.
A measured photographic survey was carried out at IP 2 so that both plans and elevations could be generated digitally.
At pool 2 work begun yesterday at IPs 5 and 6 to remove the turf and
topsoil was completed. It was concluded that no structural features
were present at the centrally located IP 6 and that the channel that
appeared further to the east was probably a consequence of a leak in
the dam. Back at IP 5 a trench 2.5 x 1 m was opened at the top of the
retaining wall to examine the possibility that a cascade had been
located here. No such traces were found so it was concluded that the
water was originally drained through a conduit that opened at the
bottom of the wall which is also being cautiously investigated
Meanwhile two volunteers had begun work at pool 3 to clear vegetation
and fallen branches so that two new trenches could be opened up on
Monday August 21st.
Heading up the valley to pool and dam 2 an area is cleared at the top
of the retaining wall but no evidence for channel or cascade.
The plan of the line of the spill way and cascade drawn from digitally enhanced and perspectively corrected photos.
After relocating ' base camp' from pool 1 to pool 3 work began around
1.00 p.m. Exposed walling near the crest of the dam (IP 9 ) was cleared
and once the extent was obvious a trench 4 x 1 m was marked out.
Cutting back across the top of this wall revealed it to be the southern
edge of a setting of pitched stones. At present it's not possible to
say if this is the top of a tunnel or the base of a spillway!
Down in the lower area where the channel appears to make right angle
bend (IP 8) a series of walls and collapsed brickwork were examined.
They make little sense at present but obviously are the remains of a
significant structure. Work was also started on a small trench ( 1.5 x
1 m ) to the north of the area to look for traces of a conduit or pipe
at this point. After excavation to depth of around 0.5 m the ground is
looking fairly undisturbed.
A site tour of the areas currently open was made with Imogen and Janine, the area archaeological adviser for the Trust.
Tuesday August 22nd.
And so we arrive at pool and dam 3, the Trust's volunteers have already cleared the ground of undergrowth and other debris.
Up near the dam work Ian and David begin on what was rather disrespectfully named
the rockery whilst down in 'the pit' the stubs of two walls are exposed by Sarah.
Work advanced on two fronts. Up on the pitched stone surface ( IP 9)
further excavation by our volunteers defined the limits of the feature
and established that it was unlikely to be the top side of an arched
culvert so we returned to examining the idea that we might be looking
at a spill way. An area 4 x 1.75 m has been strung out but an extension
at one end of the trench to the north will be marked out tomorrow to
determine the full width.
Down in the lower area (IP8) a major effort was put in to clearing the
corner adjacent to the already identified stub of wall. This revealed
the remains of a built structure comprising of stone walls surmounted
by traces of a shallow barrel vaulted brick ceiling. The eastern and southern
sides were intact with a potential entrance to the north. The western
side was in a state of considerable collapse. The interior was dug to a
depth of around 30 cm and an area within the north east corner dug to a
further 30 cm. The function of this structure remains uncertain at
A short distance to the south a small trench 1 x 1 m was dug to
investigate the possible continuation of a channel or pipe. The area
was dug out to a depth of around 60 cm and appeared to be natural.
In the afternoon some additional recording was carried out down at pool
2 prior to back-filling. In addition the base of the retaining wall at
IP 4 was examined and it was shown that there appeared to be a flat
topped but slightly recessed opening from a drain running below the
Great discoveries: the pit turns out to have been vaulted over in brick and the rockery turns into a pitched stone spillway.
Back at dam 2 more delving reveals a set back course then the beginnings of
the culvert that enabled water to be drained from the pool.
Wednesday August 23rd.
Progress in four areas today although conditions were quite wet and
slippy for much of the time. At IP 8 the north east corner of the sunken building was
identified as an area for further exploration and accumulated deposits
were removed from here to a depth of nearly 1 m. The lower levels
became increasingly dark and loamy suggesting that the floor level was
not too far below. Worked was stopped at 1m for safety reasons at which
point large quantities of brick were noted indicating the collapse of
the brick vault. The function of this structure remains problematic.
The volunteers working 'up stream ' dug an additional metre square to
the north of the original trench. This showed that the pitched stone
setting was without doubt a spill way of some kind but more
significantly revealed a central gully which presumably would have
managed a limited flow of water to give a rill like effect. This
feature terminated with a line of cross stones creating a. small
cascade. The exact limits of this spill way have yet to be determined
but a third trench was opened up with aid of additional volunteer
labour which appeared towards the end of the afternoon.
In order to examine the lip of the dam an area 2 x 1 m was opened up
and an edging wall to the pool uncovered. Behind this was a
further pitched stone channel bounded to the south by a low stone wall.
However this latest channel has the base stones running in a different
orientation and alignment to the spillway just a metre or so to the
Finally a small trench was opened at the mid-point on the dam to
examine the possibility of a pipe or conduit emerging here. Large
quantities of broken glass and pottery of mid-twentieth century date
were encountered here but no evidence of any structures yet.
Thursday August 24th.
Now the outlines of our 'sunken building' are becoming clear and Sarah
works heroically to bottom out the side wall in the north east corner.
The extension to the spillway trench uncovers a rather picturesque little gully along the centre line of the feature.
Everyone is getting really keen now as Jason and David
examine the pool side wall and uncover a second spillway... sort
Much of the day was spent recording. A leveled base line was set
up to link together the three main areas under excavation and detailed
plans started using a planning frame. Further context numbers were
allocated on context recording completed for IP 9.
The volunteers widened the trench at the edge of the pool to pick up
the other flanking wall giving the overall width of the channel. They
also helped remove some of the rubble defining the western side of the
sunken building and located its north west corner. This gave us the
width of the opening to the north which we had assumed was the original
entry but also puzzlingly indicated there was a similar opening in the
west side of the structure.
Friday August 25th
A massive campaign of recording is underway as Sarah plans part of the spillway and the upper portion is photographed.
And still the 'sunken building' defies our best efforts to bottom it out.
After a preliminary visit to take another look at the pump house up
stream work was completed on planning the exposed features and a
measured profile/section was drawn through the three open areas to link
them together. There remains some work to be done on the written
descriptions of individual contexts.
The volunteers began by further digging an area to the east of the
centre of the dam. Further evidence of twentieth century dumping was
recovered but nothing structural was observed. Work shifted to IP8
where another 30 cm of fill was removed from the north west corner of
the sunken building to further expose the 'column' .
Amongst the many visitors we spoke to a retired waterways engineer who
suggested that the differing orientations of pitched stones within the
spillway could be related to one set being closer to the lip of the dam
and therefore subject to different pressures, however this doesn't
realign explain the different alignments.
At the end of the morning additional barrier tape was put in place and
'base camp' was taken down and removed to the estate yard for storage
until work begins again on Monday September 4 th.
The 'sunken building' cleaned up for photos whilst Sarah continues with the planning.
... and here's the drawing linking the three main sites at dam 3.
Monday September 4th.
Work begins with John, David and Anita on the hunt, there's a cascade here somewhere.
top of the cascade with an eroded void showing where a couple of
The up stream side of the culvert with signs of a flanking wall
Setting up after lunch with gazebo, table and chairs to establish base
camp at pool/dam 7 , marked out three of the four 'intervention points
' and started on working to clear the down stream face of the cascade
IP14. Remarkable effort by our increasingly skillful group of volunteers
who during the course of the afternoon revealed most of the pitched
stone face of the cascade. Interestingly much of the pointing to this
surface has failed allowing the water to erode away the underlying
fabric of the dam, however such was the form of the construction that
the body of the cascade has held together in a way which makes full
restoration a very real possibility.
Mid-afternoon two more volunteers arrived so we opened up an additional
trench to explore the arrangements for the over spill from the pool
into the tunnel above the cascade . Two possible phases of construction
here although still much to do. The turf and topsoil was also removed
from the trench IP13 marked out to examine the possibility of an
additional spill way at the east end of the dam.
During the previous week I had examined the historic mapping for the
valley and noted from the late 18 th. century estate map a feature
labeled as 'conduit ' off to the north west. Although heavily
overgrown there are traces of a built structure visible which may be
worth further examination.
By the end of the day the full extent and level of survival of the cascade is becoming clearer.
Tuesday September 5th.
After a poor weather forecast for the day it all proved to be
surprisingly productive. After an early start I spent some time
clearing a path to the site of the potential conduit house. Back at dam
7 I completed marking out the full extent of the four areas currently
under excavation before the volunteers started arriving. On the main
cascade the lower section was cleared to uncover the end of the steeper
section and the start of a paved level section. The situation here was
complicated by the presence of two exceptionally large stone blocks
which may be tumbled capstones from the tunnel through the crest of the
We approach the point at which the cascade bottoms out Viviana
starts to uncover two huge
The cleaned cascade at the end of the
More work was done to clear this tunnel of accumulated debris with the
aid of a long handled rake. The eastern part of the flanking wall to
the cascade was examined in detail with particular attention being paid
to its relationship to wing wall running along the face of the dam.
On the pool side approach to the tunnel the wing walls to the east and
west were cleared as was an additional wall which appeared to cross the
mouth of the channel. This projected out to the north to create an
unusual triangular platform which presumably acted the way a cut water
does on a bridge to diminish the flow of water. It is a very curious
feature and this may not turn out to be the real explanation .
All in a day's work, the excavation of IP14A from start to end, almost.
Finally the small trench across the shallow cut at the east end of the
dam shows no trace of any built structures such as a spill way,
however, the upper portion of the dam at this point seems to contain a
lot of debris, including slag and burnt stone which appears almost
industrial in nature, alternatively it could be material derived from
the partial demolition or clearance of the grotto to the south east.
Before work started I had made another expedition up the narrow valley
to the north west to photograph and examine in more detail some of the
building debris that may mark the site of an 18th. century conduit
Wednesday September 6th.
The small valley divides at this point to the right and left with
serious quantities of stone rubble, brick and tile and their meeting
A 2 x 1m trench was opened at IP12, the possible bypass channel at the
western end of dam 7. This uncovered the profile of a 'V' shaped ditch
but there was no evidence of any associated structures. The trench was
recorded photographically and is ready for back filling as is the
trench at IP13 which has been similarly recorded.
Two side shows: the ditch IP12 to the west of the dam and the ditch IP13 to the east, neither of them terribly exciting.
The curious triangular feature in front of the inlet to cascade was
excavated down to a construction level above a platform of hard yellow
clay and recording started. On the cascade more work was done to
clarify the line of the flanking walls and the rockery like
spread of stones on the face of the dam to the east. One of the
difficulties in being so busy is the lack of time to take in the bigger
picture. At lunch time I took a look in the grotto that lies a short
distance to the south east and noted that
the small 'window ' opening in the south chamber of the grotto frames
the view of the
Ian engages some potential volunteers in
The spread of mortar at the foot of the stonework indicates a period of
The cascade perfectly framed when viewed from the grotto, looking north west.
IP15 after some archaeological weeding and a little digging
A view of the crest of the dam with our three current trenches looking
The final area on dam 7 was opened up, IP15, and initial results show
that the arch above the culvert is parabolic in form. Other possible
walls in the vicinity were examined and shown to be random spreads of
Thursday September 7th.
Two halves reunited, the fallen capstone.
At the start of the day I spent some time examining the huge stones
that Viviana had uncovered on Tuesday and it became clear that they
were two halves of one much larger piece presumably broken as it tumbled
down from the top of the cascade. Otherwise much of the day was spent
recording in plan and elevation details
the rest of the cascade. A new volunteer, Dan, who has just
able to assist with this. It is becoming clear that the structure has a
complex history. Meanwhile the rest of the team were busy at IP15
examining the outlet from the culvert at the west end of the dam. This
is turning into a major feature and is undoubtably one of the best
built structures in the valley and clearly set up to be seen. Work was
focused on determining the full height of the opening and the nature of
its flaking walls. This is our best opportunity to understand the
nature of these conduits in a stratified context. The level at the top
of the underside of the arch was measured and compared with the level
of the base of the dry pool to the north. This indicated that the
entrance to the culvert could still be half a metre or so below the
current ground surface.
Dan puts his back and sanity at risk by drawing loads of small
rubble fragments whilst John and David have a great time delving down
after the base and sides of the conduit through a thick build up of
silt and clay.
Friday September 8th.
The fruit of their labours, IP 15 still going down.
A very wet Friday morning with everything dripping and slippy, fortunately by around 10.00 it had brightened up considerably.
After a damp start the decision was taken that digging today on
IP15 would be a little unsafe: a deep hole in slippery conditions and so the volunteers moved back
down the valley to Dam 6 to examine the full extent of a pitched stone
surface which was just visible at the foot of the dam (IP11). With Imogen's
approval Ian and Anita carried on into the afternoon and were rewarded
by the sight of what is evidently the remains of another cascade taking
the plunge into a near vertical face, yet another new take on displaying
the flow of water in an interesting way.
Dan, Ian and Anita start to get to grips with the area below dam
6 and soon have a new pitched some channel with flanking walls to
... and by later on that afternoon things are taking a very strange turn (Thanks to Ian for this photo )
Back on dam 7 time was split between planning and context recording.
In connection with the latter some targeted small scale dismantling
of limited sections of the walling was undertaken to establish a
constructional sequence. After further deliberation the current
thinking about the triangular projection is that it may be a seating
for a metal grid to hold back fallen branches o and the like to prevent
the culvert getting clogged up and the cascade becoming untidy. It
bears some resemblance to the feature recorded at the south end of the
dam at Packwood in 2015.
Detail of the complex sequence of events relating to the repair and new build on the north end of the conduit.
Here is the field drawing of the north end of the culvert...
Monday September 11th
After the usual lunchtime start we were able to make good progress with
David and Bob working of uncovering the base of the arched culvert at
IP15 whilst Ian and Anita returned to their task at the foot of dam 6,
IP 11, I was able to continue with the tricky task of planning the
cascade at IP 15, difficult of course because of the slope.
The area IP 11 revealed at the end of the day on Friday that the
pitched stone surface of the presumed cascade took a sudden
turn downwards from which point it dropped steeply for around half a
metre. Unfortunately further clearance of this lower level was
prevented by the presence of a tree stump which Ian made valiant
efforts to dig out. Up on the main body of the cascade Anita chased the
pitched stone surface up the face of the dam. The gradient continued to
rise gently suggesting that there is a further steep if not vertical
component to come, unless of course there was an outflow from a culvert that supplied the water.
Ian sets to with a will whilst Anita contemplates the stone work.
I had an interesting conversation with the engineer who runs and
maintains the pump just up the valley. He claimed to have been working
this pump for 30 years now and reports on the progressively diminishing
supply of water to the valley, some years ago they were regularly able
to run the pump for 12 hours, this has not been possible for some time.
Given that the valley is based on limestone is it possible that a
previous copious flow could have vanished underground at some point,
perhaps as the outcome of an earth tremor on the Ludlow fault?
The arched culvert at IP 15 was finally bottomed at a depth of around
150 cm and the jambs shown to be constructed of well dressed stone
throughout. The base of the culvert appears to be timber lined which is
particularly interesting as is the dense spread of brick which appears
to have been dumped in to narrow the exit channel without actually
Bob - I think - spading out the silt to uncover, eventually... timber.
Tuesday September 12th.
Most of my time today was devoted to excavation the final half metre or
so underneath the archway at IP 15 . This proved very rewarding as the
work revealed a brick bottom to the culvert edged with a well preserved
timber sill beam. There is an additional piece of timber lying across
this which looks a little like a stave from a wooden bucket, however it
was decided to record these features in situ and not attempt to lift
them. All this lies at nearly a metre and a half below current ground
level and this together with a far superior mode of construction
suggests a different, earlier phase of activity within this part of the
park. I don't find the suggestion that it is some sort of a housing for
a hydraulic ram very plausible, my feeling is that it is the outlet to a
scour tunnel but one designed to make positive visual impact on the
landscape. Further investigations are made difficult by the depth we
are working at and the proximity of the stream. We will concentrate on
cleaning up what can be seen of the small weir to the west but not
undertake any more digging here at this stage.
The slightly dizzying view down into the hole at IP15 showing the brick and timber base.
Another three square metres of the cascade at IP14 were drawn, just two more to complete in the morning.
Down at dam 6 three of our volunteers: Ian, Malcolm and Dan
to clear the pitched stone spill way and follow the steeply sloping
section to the south. This necessitated some serious effort to remove
the stump of a felled tree before the face could be accessed. It is
possible that bottom has been reached. Significantly the lower courses
seem to composed of much larger well squared and dressed blocks, do
these represent a later repair or are they part of the original
construction designed perhaps to resist turbulence at the foot of the
Hopefully we will finish this area off tomorrow.
A bar to progress, the unfortunately placed tree stump.
Then, as if by magic, it's gone, how do they do
that? More of the face of the cascade is uncovered showing
the use of larger dressed stone blocks.
Wednesday September 13th.
Work began on the last IP to be opened IP 10 below dam 5. Again there
seemed be the appearance of a channel emerging from the foot of the dam
but when this was half sectioned there was no evidence of any
structures. This situation echoes the difficulties we had on dam 2 and
3 and it may be reflecting on the situation further up the valley in
that we are simply missing features because they are so deeply buried.
In the afternoon the team were reassigned to continue work on the
curiously formed cascade below dam 6.
Up on dam 7 the drawing of the cascade at IP 14 was finished as was the
elevation of the arched opening at IP 15, thanks to Janine for helping
with the levels and preparing the main cascade for photography.
The trench dug at the foot of dam 5.
The impedimenta of
drawing on IP15
Thursday September 14th.
The newly cleaned cascade at dam 7, photographed from this angle the tumbled and broken capstone tends to dominate the view.
The last full day for digging so an early start back where it all
started at dam 1 with IP1. The intention had always been to return to
examine the base of the tunnel after a spell of dry weather which never
materialized. An area close to north side of the opening was dug
through a variety of silts to a depth of around 40 cm at which point
stone slabs were encountered. Unfortunately the water was flowing in
faster than it could be bailed out so without further measures to drain
it IP1 will not be progressed any further.
The end result of half an hour shoveling mud, a hole full of dirty
water at IP1 and whilst I was down that way I tool a look at the
housing for the hydraulic ram there.
Up at dam 3 an hour or so was spent with the day's three volunteers
searching for traces of a spill way, conduit or cascade as per
Jonathan's request . A number of small test pits were dug following
extensive probing using road pins but nothing but modern debris was
Dam 4 saw the same team later in the morning clearing the undergrowth
from the weirs at the east end of the dam in order to annotate the
drawings from the 2007 survey. Some significant variations were noted.
Clearance and photography was also undertaken on the curious spillway
at the east end of dam 5. Moving on to the channel below dam 5 the
bottom of the trench was lowered by another half a metre without any
structural elements being identified.
IP 10 on dam 4 a combination of stone and concrete block walling but no
trace visible of an earlier sluice of spillway underneath the concrete
However the adjacent tunnel was interesting, particularly the way in
which erosion had dropped the interior by nearly a metre severely
weakening the walling above.
Friday September 15th.
In order the determine the thickness of the sill beam it was
necessary to remove the loose piece of timber (now known as FPV17 IP15
010/1) which appears to have interesting markings on it, and a further
30cm down, more brick.
The excavation of the site of a possible weir to the west of our arched opening.
A busy final morning initially completing the planning at the
opening at IP 15 and filling in the context sheets. There are traces of
a plaster like substance on the left hand side of the archway which
leads, together with the high quality stonework, one to wonder if this
structure could have been more of a niche perhaps with water issuing
from a sculptural feature. I also took the opportunity to take some
further photographs of the area around pond 7 and reflect both on the
in-coming water supplies and the possibility of an earlier medieval
pool 'fossilized in the base of the later structure.
A sloping bed of mortar with some surviving slabs above the brick faced
mini-cascade. This part of the structure has tipped backwards, possible
following the removal of a supporting wall.
After cleaning back a little more of the soffit of the arch what do we see, plasterwork or just lime scale?
The 'natural' cascade entering pond 7 from the north west.
A view of the site of pond 7 looking south the lower terrace below the
gazebo shows up as belonging to a possibly earlier pool and the two
tier nature of the dam is also evident.
Down at dam 6 the trench, IP 16, was tidied up by the volunteers who
were able to clarify the layout of the pitched stone surface and its
flanking walls as well as revealing further details of the steeply
sloping face of the cascade. The morning finished with the recording
and photographing of the site.
The cascade at IP16, dam 6 looking north east, do the very fine stone
blocks, plus the great depth of silting tie this is with the well cut
stone work at IP15?
At the end of it all it is satisfying to record that all 16
intervention points were examined in the course of 16 working days on
site, an achievement only possible because of the valuable
contributions of the local volunteers. Needless to say there are
numerous loose ends to tie up, we'll see what the future holds....
The final photograph before breaking camp, the gazebo in the woods plus an unmatched selection of ranging rods.