Local Research

Continuity of landscape at Ashgrove Farm

As part of recent work by Rosie Hawnt towards a degree at the University of Birmingham, her studies have indicated that the site has been focus of human activity for several hundred years whilst parts of the present farm buildings date from the early seventeenth century.

Field map of Ashgrove

Whereas buildings are comparatively transient features of the landscape, it is the traditional field names and ancient boundaries and hedgerows that provide evidence of centuries of man's exploitation of the landscape. Traditionally farmers have been bound to the convention of the countryside by small-scale enterprises whose limited size does not threaten the ecological balance of the land. Partly due to the geographical setting on top of a hill, previous occupiers of Ashgrove Farm have continued this tradition and the land has never been farmed as part of a much larger intensive unit.

We are fortunate that many features of mediaeval farming practices such as lynchets have been preserved at Ashgrove Farm together with ancient hedgerows demarking, field patterns and modest plot sizes that often predate enclosure. The landscape of this locality has therefore retained much of the patchwork countryside that is typical of Herefordshire, but which is now sadly so diminished in other areas where intensive, industrialised farming methods have destroyed traditional landscape.

By continuing to farm the land under an environmental stewardship scheme, we aim to continue to ensure that the traditional quality of the existing historic landscape around Ashgrove Farm is preserved for the foreseeable future.