Each summer, as most students prepare to head home after exams, we gear up for our annual Field Course. This means five days on site surveying earthworks, buildings and anything else we come across that looks interesting. The fieldwork eventually leads on to a longer research project for the students, but on a warm* day in June that all seems a very long way away.
*Disclaimer – fieldwork days in June may not always be warm.
This year we were once again in south Norfolk, exploring ancient woodland and moated sites in the claylands of the Waveney valley. The students coped admirably with the challenges of surveying in woodland, including sighting a prism through 75m of hornbeam coppice in full leaf. Many happy hours were also spent exploring sections of woodland and puzzling over species composition and a confusing array of external and internal boundary banks and ditches.
In the middle of the week our lunch break was interrupted by several large planes overhead, two of them with fighter jets alongside. Interesting, if a little odd, we thought, and promptly returned to surveying. At the end of the week all became clear when we saw the same planes in the same formation on the news, as part of the Trooping the Colour flypast.
We ended the week in glorious sunshine (unusual for a summer field course) at Redenhall parish church. Much of the building dates to the 15th century and was funded by the De La Pole family. As usual in these circumstances though, we defer to Simon Knott’s excellent Norfolk Churches website.
We’ll be returning to south Norfolk in the autumn semester to continue work on drawing up and refining the earthwork plans, and hopefully to piece together a little bit more of the landscape history of this area.