This ongoing NMP project aims to define, characterise and analyse the historic environment of the South Dorset Ridgeway. It will help to improve understanding and inform decisions regarding strategic planning, management and preservation of the historic environment.
The results will assist with the implementation of the Dorset AONB Management Plan and with the formulation of wider research objectives and strategies for the South Dorset Ridgeway.
Archaeological survey of the South Dorset Ridgeway
The South Dorset Ridgeway NMP project is an archaeological survey of the South Dorset Ridgeway based on a review of all available aerial photographs and Environment Agency lidar derived imagery. It began in September 2008 and is being carried out by the Historic Environment Service of Cornwall County Council funded by the Historic Environment Enabling Programme (project number 5583). Data resulting from the survey will be incorporated into the National Monuments Record and Dorset Historic Environment Record and will provide a valuable resource for Dorset AONB Partnership’s South Dorset Ridgeway Heritage Project which is running concurrently.
Extensive archaeological remains
The project area contains extensive archaeological remains and has been likened to the Avebury and Stonehenge World Heritage Site in terms of its importance as a historic landscape. The landscape of the Dorset Downs consists of open mainly arable downland in amongst which are the earthwork remains of significant archaeological features such as the complex of prehistoric funerary monuments at Broadmayne (below).
Traditional aerial photographs and new data
The Environment Agency lidar jpeg images have proved very useful for accurately locating features not visible on the Ordnance Survey base maps and particularly in areas off the main ridge of the Downs, for example, when mapping the extensive networks of post medieval water meadows. However, comparison of lidar images with traditional aerial photographs has shown that in this case the historic photographs hold more information, especially for areas where the meadows have been removed or significantly reduced.
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 English Heritage Archive.
For further information on a project or any other aspect of the work of the Aerial Survey team please contact us at: AerialSurvey@english-heritage.org.uk.