The aim of the project is to use aerial photographs to record archaeological remains visible as earthworks, buildings, structures, cropmarks, or soilmarks across southern Warwickshire and north-western Oxfordshire. The area covers 670km² extending from Leamington Spa in the north to Chipping Norton in the south, and from Banbury in the east to Stratford-upon-Avon in the west. This project is being carried out by Gloucestershire County Council Archaeology Service, and is funded by the National Heritage Protection Commissions Programme (6053) and is scheduled to finish in October 2012.
The Roman period
The Fosse Way extends across this project area and there is likely to have been widespread Roman settlement, but relatively little is known compared to the main areas of the Cotswolds. It is hoped that the results of this project are going to build a fuller picture of what was happening in the area during the Roman period.
The medieval landscape
This area of the Midlands is well known for its medieval archaeology. There are numerous shrunken and deserted settlements, many of which are visible as earthworks like the example at Wormleighton, Warwickshire. This site is one of a group of these settlements in the area, which are surrounded by ridge and furrow field systems. The survival of these earthworks is largely due to a change in the agricultural regime from arable to pasture.
World War II
The area had a large number of Second World War military sites, including airfields and a very large ordnance store. Some of these airfields were closed and returned to greenfield sites after the Second World War, while others were redeveloped and completely changed from their original form.
Gaydon Airfield became a base for the nuclear ‘V’ bombers in the 1950s, before being converted into a vehicle testing ground. Wellesbourne Mountford airfield is still an active civilian airfield, though the technical site has been converted into an industrial estate, reusing the aircraft hangers, and the domestic site had been completely levelled by 1993 and is now a housing estate.
The Higher Level Stewardship Scheme
The Higher Level Stewardship Scheme (HLS) is a programme run by Natural England which supports farmers and land managers in managing the ecology and archaeology on their land. The target areas are regions that Natural England considers to be priorities, based on their high quality landscapes, ecology and archaeology. The South East Warwickshire and Cotswolds project completes the NMP coverage of the SE Warwickshire HLS Target area, and also covers a portion of the Cotswolds HLS Target Area.
One of the aims of this project is for the mapping and interpretation to be used in farm management plans, to assist in managing the historic environment of the region.
The images used on this page are copyright English Heritage unless specified otherwise. For further details of any photographs or other images and for copies of these, or the plans and reports related to the project please contact the NMR English Heritage's public archive.
For further information on a project or any other aspect of the work of the Aerial Survey team please contact us by email via the link above.