Keys to the Past

Glossary

Lynchets

Lynchets appear to be large steps cut into a field on a hill slope. They are caused when ploughing moves soil downhill, which then piles up against a field boundary such as a wall or hedge. Sometimes they may even have been built deliberately to form flat areas which are easier to farm. They can date from many periods from the Iron Age (800BC to AD43) to the Middle Ages (1066 to 1540). Modern ploughing has destroyed many lynchets, but they can still often be seen in upland areas where crops are no longer grown.

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