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The modern landscape of arable farming, woodlands and sparse settlement belies a rich and eventful past.

The land was more amendable to settlement and economic activity being concentrated close to the River Witham: the land was more amenable to settlement and farming whilst the river itself has been an extremely important transport route from early times.

In contrast, the majority of the Limewoods area was more difficult to farm due to the heavy clay soils.

There is a long-term theme of settlement and economic activity being concentrated close to the River Witham.

Prehistoric to Roman

Occasional archaeological finds from the Limewoods area show local activity through the Palaeolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic periods, and there is evidence of Bronze Age occupation. The main focus of Bronze Age interest is mostly just outside the Limewoods area in the Witham Valley.

Evidence from Iron Age and Roman periods is sparse; however with a rapidly rising population and the proximity of Roman Lincoln, land use will have been significantly affected during this time. The area of farmland will have expanded and greater demands would have been put on the woodland resource.

Anglo-Saxon and Medieval

Much more is known for the medieval period, with several monasteries established within the Limewoods area. Almost all of the area, including many of its woods, was managed by these monasteries up to the Dissolution in the late 1530s, when most of the estates passed to new, private landowners.

During the medieval period harsh, wet conditions led to failed harvests and the population decrease was exacerbated through the black death. Lincolnshire has more deserted medieval villages than any other county. As the population crashed the feudal system effectively broke down during a period of massive social change.

Post-Medieval to Modern

The Post-Medieval period saw great industrialisation. The agricultural revolution saw the invention of new machinery to make farming more effective. There was investment in new farm buildings and modern farmsteads.

Transport links were improved through canals and railways which saw the population move away from the villages into the industrialised towns. This continued until the outbreak of the two World Wars where the Limewoods was a location used for RAF bases like those at Fiskerton, Bardney and Woodhall Spa.

Today, farmers are encouraged to help manage historic features in the area as well as biodiversity and ecology.


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  • The Witham Abbeys

    The Witham Valley is remarkable for the number of monasteries that were founded there - six on the eastern side, with another three on the west.

  • Community Heritage Scheme

    Three local heritage initiatives supported by the Limewoods Project have been successfully completed in Wragby, Bardney and Fiskerton.

  • Bardney Heritage Trails

    The trails include important heritage features such as Bardney Abbey, historic buildings and local ecology as well as highlighting interesting stories and traditions of the area.

  • Minting and Gautby Heritage Project

    A working party from Minting & Gautby Parish Council embarked on an ambitious project in 2008 to reveal more of the history of the parish.

  • Wragby Moats

    The project focuses on the earthworks of the medieval moats in the centre of the village of Wragby.

  • Yellowbelly Youth - A Fiskerton Boyhood

    Yellowbelly Youth - A Fiskerton Boyhood is an account from resident Fred Thompson about the village in the 1920s and 30s with real insight into the lives of people in the area at the time.

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Last updated: 12 May 2016

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