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SITE 269 WEST PLAIN CLOSE

OS REF:SK57311295

There is no public access to this field.

Date:1st December 2007

This field is arable. It has a boundary with Hickling's Spinney and was an important boundary in 1884 as it was part of the Ancient Ecclesiastical Boundary of Rothley. It has been recorded in the Boundary Survey (RAPS) and details are attached.

The hedgerows around this field are kept low and the trees along The Ridings are not in good condition.

Site 269 West Plain Close from The Ridings looking to Swithland Lane. December 2007

Site 269 West Plain Close from The Ridings looking to Swithland Lane. Hickling's Spinney Site 270 to the left. December 2007

ROTHLEY ANCIENT PARISH SURVEY (RAPS)

STINT W14

Date: 1st December 2007

Observers: Brian Verity and Marion Vincent

Location: Stint 14a is the end of the hedgerow from West Cross Lane to The Ridings. Stint 14b crosses The Ridings to run alongside Hickling's Spinney Site 270 and recorded from Site 269 West Plain Close

OS Ref: SK57481301-SK57461298-SK57401291

We complete the hedgerow along the boundary with Site 183 North Stocking by completing Stint 14a to the road called The Ridings. The ditch continues right to the end of this part of the stint.

In March 2002 I recorded a small patch of Dogs Mercury, an Ancient Woodland indicator plant, to the right of the gateway at the end of 14a. There is also the remains of an ancient tree stump, which would have been a major tree on this boundary. We are now ready to cross The Ridings to start on the boundary running up to where we started on the 15th October 2003.

Date: 23rd January 2008

After a morning on the 9th January 08 just walking and looking at this part of the boundary we re-started our recording on the 23rd after a lot of wet weather during this month.

Walking over The Ridings we found excellent remains of the Rothley Ancient Parish Boundary within Hickling's Spinney. The ancient boundary is not the field boundary, but the latter runs parallel to the ancient boundary, which is a really good ditch within the spinney. There is a pond, POND 45, at The Ridings end of Hickling's Spinney in Stint W14B with the ancient boundary ditch flowing in and out. This pond was full of water following all the rain in January 2008. This pond is shown on the Official Boundary Survey of 1884.

As it was very difficult to record the actual ancient parish boundary along the ditch due to lack of light and thick, tangled vegetation, we photographed and recorded the field boundary hedge with additional photographs taken of the ditch at appropriate accessible points.

The field boundary hedgerow the length of this stint is a good mix of hawthorn, blackthorn, ash and hazel with small amounts of elder. There is also a good amount of field rose. At the start of Stint 14B there is a large amount of snowberry, which is a very intrusive due to its suckering habit. As this hedgerow is built up to the edge of Hickling's Spinney there is also intrusion of small trees from the spinney towards the light. Due to the 'modern' mix of species this hedgerow would come out at a good age but the size of the stems and trunks does not indicate this to be ancient.

In the area between the ancient ditch and the field boundary there is a lot of Dogs Mercury and Bluebells. In one area there is a small patch of snowdrops.

Along the bank of the ditch there is evidence of ancient tree stumps and there is an Ash tree, Tree 597, in Stint 14B with a girth of 3.5m.

STINT W15

Date: 23rd January 2008

Observers: Brian Verity, Terry Sheppard and Marion Vincent

Location: Hickling's Spinney adj. West Plain Close

OS Ref: SK57401291-SK57311280

Map Title: Site 270 Hickling's Spinney and Site 269 West Plain Close

This stint follows on from Stint W14 in exactly the same way with the ancient parish boundary ditch within Hickling's Spinney and our photographs taken on the field boundary hedgerow of West Plain Close. Again, good amounts of Dogs Mercury in the spinney.

The hedgerow contains much the same species as Stint W14 with hawthorn, hazel and ash dominant and field rose.

The ancient parish ditch has an excellent ancient Ash, Tree 598, in Stint W15C with a girth of 4.1m. There is evidence of ancient trees along the ditch with some good rotted stumps.

W15d still to be completed, weather permitting!

26th January 2008

Lovely, sunny day.

15m of Stint W15D finish at the field boundary with Site 110 Twelve Acre Field and the end of Site 270 Hickling's Spinney. Near this point is an ancient Oak that is not in very good condition. It is an important boundary tree at an important point so it has been recorded as Tree 599.

The last 15m to complete Stint W15 is in Site 110 Twelve Acre Field and here we see the start of Site 271 Long Spinney. The boundary ditch is still very good here but much of the boundary hedgerow on the spinney side of the ditch has been destroyed and in varying states of destruction with fences erected in some places as shown in Stints W16 and W17.

Long Spinney is shown on the old and later parish maps and whilst the main structure is still there it has been divided into the bottom parts of the gardens along The Ridgeway, hence the wooden and wire fences.

WEST PLAIN CLOSE SITE 269 IN 2015

Looking over West Plain Close from The Ridings with Hickling's Spinney to the left. February 2015

Looking from The Ridings over West Plain Close to Site 110 Twelve Acre Field. February 2015

Looking from The Ridings boundary on the right to Site 109 Roadside Field. February 2015

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