Tag Archives: higher level stewardship

Flixton Island goes on the market

13.07.16 Flixton Carr hay bales view

One of the parcels of peatland pasture put up for sale at Flixton Bridge, adjacent to the Mesolithic site of Flixton Island.

A piece of Stone Age real estate has gone on the market, offering a chance for someone sympathetic to its archaeological significance to purchase a chunk of ‘Palaeo-Lake-side’ property.

A number of parcels of pasture land near Flixton Bridge, Scarborough, including the heritage sites of ‘Flixton Island’ and ‘No Name Hill’ are currently up for sale.
Link to sale particulars on http://www.rightmove.co.uk  Link to the sale brochure (pdf download) from RightMove. The archaeology here ties closely to that of the more famous Star Carr Mesolithic site just a few hundred metres west. The renowned  Star Carr research project has focussed recent summer fieldwork investigations on Flixton Island, and indeed the field has been the location for filming by Channel Four’s Time Team and hosted public open days to show people the digs taking place. The Star Carr Team are hopeful that the sale of the land will not jeopardise the heritage of the site, which has no formal statutory protection, but is, for a few years more subject to an HLS stewardship agreement, including an undertaking not to plough the Flixton Island and No Name Hill fields. The HLS parcels are lightly grazed or cut for hay and they are managed to encourage wetland bird species such as Lapwing.
We do not have the funds or the expertise to buy and manage the land, but we are hoping that someone who is sympathetic to archaeology will end up purchasing it.
Flixton Bridge lies near the centre of the deep ‘fen peat’ soils left behind by the Stone Age wetland known as Palaeolake Flixton. Today it sits on the Hertford floodplain, the drainage cut of the same name slicing right along the length of the former like of 12,000 years ago. (Read more on the drainage of the Vale of Pickering landscape here) But in the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic, as human hunter-gatherer societies were beginning to settle and exploit the natural resources around them there were some small areas of land that rose above the waters of Lake Flixton, where glacial gravels and sands gave them a modest elevation. These islands are still discernible today to the visitor to this pastoral landscape, and represent important Prehistoric sites which are still giving up their stories to modern day archaeologists.
The village of Flixton, with the flat land of Flixton Carr beyond

Flixton village with the flat land of Flixton Carr beyond

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Reflections of a wetland officer

A jungle of hemlock on an abandoned arable field near Star Carr was the daunting starting point five yrs ago this autumn for a wet grassland creation site. This 40 acre lump of Carr land belonging to Scarborough Borough Council was the first location where, as a newly recruited Wetland Project Officer I was expected to demonstrate the viability of Higher Level Stewardship schemes in our small part of the Vale.

I think it’s fair to say that there were those who voiced their doubts and concerns at the time and indeed there may be plenty of people even now who upon seeing the site today will wonder and ask what all the fuss is about. I don’t mind admitting that there were moments when even I had my doubts whether this wet grassland restoration lark was going to prove viable on The Carrs in the face of strong economic pressures on farms to boost food production, grow energy crops or invest in re-draining of arable floodplain land.