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Study reveals reserve’s secret past

Tuesday 9th July

Study reveals reserve’s secret past

A recent archaeological study of our Girton Grasslands Nature Reserve, near Girton, has revealed that it was in fact created as a ingenious solution to a common problem.

The small grassland reserve, north of Newark, has had a visit from a Nottinghamshire County Council Archaeologist - who unearthed its past.

Fascinating findings

The study revealed that the likelihood is that the Girton Grasslands were meadows which were modified by the villagers of Girton after the flood of 1795.

With no access to modern forms of flood defense, they decided to create an area of flood storage. They dug substantial ditches across the lowest areas of the meadow on the edge of their village, creating many additional cubic metres of flood capacity - a much larger space for excess water to flow through, rather than flood their homes.

If this conclusion is correct, it shows an innovative and adaptive response to flood risk, balancing the locally high ground water against incoming flood waters, and with people co-operating and acting together for the benefit of the community. A highly intelligent eighteenth century solution to an ever-present problem.

The study was a part of a recent Heritage Lottery Funded project, the funds from which also enabled us to extend the reserve.

Find out more about Girton Grasslands

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