«Bosworth Battlefield: The Way Forward Final: August 2013 Alison Farmer Associates 29 Montague Road Cambridge CB4 1BU af in ...»
Chris Burnett Associates (March 2004), Bosworth Battlefield Conservation Statement (pg 7, para 2.1.7) Chris Burnett Associates (March 2004), Bosworth Battlefield Conservation Statement (Pg 7, Para 2.1.9) Chris Burnett Associates (March 2004), Bosworth Battlefield Conservation Statement (Pg 8, Para 2.1.11) Post 1485 4.4 One of the most significant changes to the landscape of the study area has been the late Medieval and early post medieval period of enclosure where areas of open field were reorganised and defined by the planting of hedges and hedgerow trees. Not all areas were enclosed at the same time or in the same way. Stoke Golding was enclosed by agreement around 1602 and all of the townships in the study area were enclosed by the early 18th century, apart from Sutton Cheney, which was enclosed by Act of Parliament in 1797. These different periods of enclosure have resulted in different field patterns and concentrations of hedgerow trees that are readily apparent in the landscape today, and which significantly influence present day landscape character (see Section 5.3).
During this period the drainage of the land and its improvement for agriculture was another significant change, as demonstrated by palaeo-environmental analysis16.
Documentary evidence and artefacts found in the Battlefield area indicate that a Civil War skirmish, between small forces of Lords Grey and Hastings, also took place at Bosworth in 1644.
By the mid 18th century a significant part of the enclosed field system was transformed by the laying out of a landscape park around Shenton Hall, in the Shenton Township.17 By 1880 the parkland covers a large area to the south-east of Shenton village altering the former pattern of enclosure and introducing a more wooded character with parkland trees and woodland coverts. During the 19th century there appears to have been the addition of estate cottages within the village.
Within the wider area the creation of isolated farms, following enclosure, was a further development of the 19th century landscape i.e. a period of settlement dispersal, although this is not evident in the Shenton Parish, which was influenced by a resident major landowner and managed parkland.
A major development in this landscape was the construction of the Ashby Canal between 1768 and 1804, and the construction of the Ashby and Nuneaton railway on a significant embankment, severing the low lying area of Redemore Plain in two.
The result of these communication routes was the establishment of two small centres of industrial activity to the east of Shenton and west of Stoke Golding. Here wharves and/or sidings developed, together with brickworks at Shenton (presumably made possible by the import of coal as fuel along the canal from mines to the south).
Narrow boats on the Ashby Canal. Coal transportation on the canal ceased in 1970.
Glenn Foard (2004) Bosworth Battlefield: A Reassessment Chris Burnett Associates (March 2004), Bosworth Battlefield Conservation Statement (pg 9, para 2.1.19) Canal bridges from the canal side and from the road. The narrow, blind summits created by the canal bridges are a distinctive feature of the local country lanes.
Features in the present day landscape relating to this period include:
• field enclosures - pattern of hedges and hedgerow trees (early - Dadlington, Stoke Golding and Shenton and late - Sutton Cheney).
• parkland landscape at Shenton
• place names
• canal and railway embankment
• canal bridges on lanes
• canal aqueduct just north of Shenton Station
• cairn over King Dick’s Well Recent Landscape Changes (1970s onwards) 4.5 Over the last 40 years there has been considerable change to the landscape around Ambion Hill with the development of the Bosworth Battlefield Centre and Country Park in 1974 and the creation of Shenton Station on the old Ashby and Nuneaton Railway. The station was created by relocating a station building from Humberstone Road, Leicester to the terminus at Shenton. Today trains run along the Battlefield Line from Shackerstone, via Market Bosworth, to Shenton Station and are operated by the Shackerstone Railway Society.
The last half century has seen a period of conservation with the designation of Conservation Areas, an increased desire for biodiversity and rural preservation amongst landowners, the registering of the Bosworth Battlefield and the listing of particular structures and buildings.
This period is also marked by the significant debate on the location of the Bosworth Battle and the subsequent field walking and survey that has now helped to locate the battle with greater certainty.
Shenton Station building moved to the area from Humberstone Road, Leicester Key physical changes to the landscape have been the development of large farm buildings, screen planting of non-native species around farmsteads, planting of woodland copses, the development of the Stoke Golding airfield, the creation of fishing lakes to the west of Stoke Golding and the growth of a number of the settlements. This period has also seen further drainage of the landscape and canalisation of streams and the widening of field entrances and gates.
5 Landscape Character and ViewsSummary
The Battlefield and its environs are set within a landscape of low lying land and gently rolling hills. The geology of mudstone, sandstone, and drift deposits of boulder clay, sand and gravels result in a varied landscape and one which is agriculturally productive. The landscape patterns seen today are a reflection of the geology and productivity of the land but also of the area’s evolution, resulting in historic patterns of lanes, woodland, parkland and villages which collectively form a quintessentially English landscape.
An assessment of the landscape character of the Battlefield area and its wider setting is vital for understanding how and why different areas are significant as well as identifying issues affecting particular areas. This understanding is particularly valuable in terms of safeguarding the character of the Battlefield and its setting in land management and planning terms, and forms the grounding for this Conservation Plan. The local-scale landscape character assessment carried out for this Conservation Plan has recorded four different landscape character areas (LCAs) relevant to the wider Battlefield area.
Shenton Parkland LCA is a small discrete area associated with the medieval village of Shenton and the Shenton Estate, being defined by scenic parkland and the Conservation Area of the village. It is a mature and well-managed landscape mostly down to pasture, with strong recreational value, although access and parking for visitors can be problematic, with directional and interpretive information for visitors about the Battlefield now being out of date, following the recent research.
Ambion and Sutton Cheney Farmland/Hills LCA comprise rolling and elevated topography, which, along with the intensive arable farming and well-trimmed hedgerows with few trees, gives the area its defining character. This landscape with its long, open views has considerable historic interest associated with its hilltops including two Scheduled Monuments – Ambion medieval village (deserted) and bowl barrow at Sutton Cheney – and the site of a probable Roman temple with associated finds. It is also the setting for the historic village of Sutton Cheney. The intensity of farming and loss of trees through felling or lack of management are issues for this area both in terms of wildlife and the effects on views.
Dadlington and Stoke Golding Hills LCA comprise gently undulating settled hills, two of which are topped by the historic villages of Dadlington and Stoke Golding; the latter is a Conservation Area. The area has many associations with and features that are likely to be contemporary with the Battle. However, growth of villages is affecting the historic character of the area and there is pressure for growth in housing. Road congestion and safety are also an issue in the narrow lanes and on the bridges which cross the canal and railway.
The views across Bosworth Battlefield and features associated with the Battle enable an appreciation and understanding of the evolution of the landscape and events of the Battle;
these are therefore highly significant in themselves. This study has identified eight key viewpoints that are publicly accessible and it is noted that all may be affected by factors such as the growth of hedgerows and trees or the construction of large buildings.
Background 5.1 Geology and Soils The Battlefield area and its wider context comprise mudstone and sandstone, which reach the surface to influence the character of soils and drainage, most notably to the west of the Registered Battlefield (RB). Elsewhere it is drift geology which is most influential on land use and landscape character, comprising fluvio-glacial boulder clay on the higher land/hills and fluvio-glacial sands and gravels in lower lying areas, coupled with deposits of alluvium adjacent to watercourses. The soil type, drainage and pH vary dramatically between these different geologies, affecting both land use and the survival of archaeological artefacts and potential human remains.
Map of the drift geology in the area
Topography and Drainage Topographically, the Battlefield and its landscape setting is low lying with hills to the south-east and west and also to the north. The hills are gently rolling and rounded, while the lower lying areas are relatively flat or slightly undulating - topographic variation is subtle but significant in terms of views. On the hills there are occasional springs that drain into small streams, notably Tweed River and Sence Brook. These watercourses flow in a westerly and northerly direction respectively across the lower lying landscape and meet with other streams just south of Shenton village. The lower lying areas through which the streams flow have generally poorer and often impeded drainage.
The topography of the area Land Management The Battlefield area and its landscape setting is productive agricultural land, the majority of which has an agricultural land quality classification of Grade 318. Land use is predominately arable, including crops of wheat, barley and fodder beans. There are also some areas of pasture, including those on Scheduled Monuments or areas of ridge and furrow, around Shenton village and adjacent to the disused railway and the canal.
The majority of farms are in Entry Level Stewardship19, with the Shenton Estate having a significant area in Countryside Stewardship and Higher Level Stewardship20.
Other landholdings in the southern half of the RB area are also in Higher Level Stewardship. There are also, however, areas of land within the Registered Battlefield area which are not within any form of stewardship agreement.
Current arrangements for Environmental Stewardship schemes are due to end at the end of 2013. In June 2013 the European Parliament, the EU Council of Ministers and the European Commission reached an agreement on reforming the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) which includes reference to ensuring a ‘greener CAP’ including direct payments for environmentally-friendly farming practices.
Through Natural England, interim arrangements are likely to be in place 2014 until the new schemes are launched in 201521. There is willingness by some landowners involved in schemes to enhance the natural environment and to explore other opportunities. However, funding will need to be available to support this process.
Farm diversification in the area includes:
• The selling of farm produce (there are at least five farm shops)
• An education centre used for a variety of activities, notably by the Country Trust to engage inner city children in environmental education The Agricultural Land Classification provides a framework for classifying land according to the extent to which its physical or chemical characteristics impose long- term limitations on agricultural use. Grade 3 is good to moderate quality agricultural land.
Entry Level Stewardship (ELS) is a 'whole farm scheme' that gives farmers and land managers in England access to funding in return for maintaining land in Good Agricultural and Environmental Conditions (GAEC) over the course of five years.
This is more targeted than ELS, and not all land is eligible. It is designed to offer more support to more active and environmentally beneficial management practices. Unlike ELS it also offers grants for capital works, such as the restoration of traditional farm buildings. All HLS agreements must be underpinned with basic management from an ELS agreement, but in contrast the agreement lasts 10 years.
• Farm visits and tours at Fenn Lane Farm and The Shenton Estate
• Bed and breakfast accommodation
• Light industry
• Renting of property/farm buildings Landscape Character Assessment (LCA) 5.2 Landscape Character Assessment provides a framework for understanding the variation of landscape across the Battlefield area and its wider landscape context, how and why different areas are significant as well as articulating the issues which affect particular areas. This understanding is particularly valuable in terms of safeguarding the character of the Battlefield and its setting in land management and planning terms.
It informs the development of policies within the CP, helping to shape initiatives that can conserve and enhance the special qualities of the area, ensuring future sustainability.
LCAs can be carried out at a range of scales. A number of existing assessments cover the study area. At a national level22 the study area falls within the National Character Area 94 Leicestershire Vales. Within the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Character Assessment23 it falls within the Mease/Sence Lowlands. At the Borough level24 the study area is divided between three character areas namely Market Bosworth Parkland to the north, Stoke Golding Vales to the south and Fen Lanes to the west. Descriptions of each of these character areas can be found in Appendix 6.