ridge and furrow field patterns from the air
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aerial photograph of well preserved ridge and furrow field patterns adjacent Brick Kiln Plantation , keele Staffordshire. These patterns were created by the ploughing methods used after the withdrawal of the Roman Empire around 400AD. Although this was still used until the 17th century it is primarily associated with medieval agriculture. In the middle ages each family would plough one strip and the single sided plough used tended to heap the soil towards the middle of the strip which then built up over many generations.The resulting ridge and furrow provided better drainage for the crops on the ridge. The strips were typically around 200 meters in length, ie a furlong, with the word being derived from furrow-long.
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