Test Pits

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Brick Kiln Test Pits February 2022

Thank you for emailing, it means you are as mad as we are!!

Many of you will know that beyond the new roundabout on Cawston Road, Peter owns a piece of land that at one time had a brick kiln, a very large structure able to produce 20000 bricks at a time. A map of 1805 shows the area without trees, so planting took place at a later date. His grandfather had the dome structure dismantled as it became a safety concern, so all that is left is a large mound now totally covered with earth, leaves etc, under which will be just bricks and structure remains. The ground is very undulating and is now rented to Dandelion Nursery who have developed a fantastic outdoor school in the woodland.

Peter has come up with the idea that we could put in some test pits around the kiln structure itself and another that looks like a path leading to a lower area with water in it which could have been a source of clay, but more likely to have been water used to mix with clay to make the bricks. We have no idea what will be there, except, no doubt, loads of bits of brick, but just scraping away at one point, and a couple of inches below the surface, turned up brick and charcoal. What else might there be, maybe clay pipe, coins, items dropped by those working in the area etc.

The area would need raking clear of leaves etc to reveal the soil below and 1m test pits measured out, all labelled, A, B, C etc. All work would be done by shovel, probably just hand ones needed, trowel, bucket and sieve, ensuring that any roots uncovered are not damaged in order to preserve the trees. Although the soil is soft on the surface, the pits may not be the easiest we have dug, as the ground is very undulating, not flat like we have been used to. We will all need to walk with great care!

We would be running this ourselves and are thinking of investigating the area the week of Monday – Friday 14th -18th February 2022, depending on the weather. Martin will be visiting prior to this to GPS the area and put in the test pits markings. At the end of the week and possibly over the weekend and the following week, we would need to fill in all the areas after doing any necessary recording. Should the weather be bad, we would look at other dates.

There is parking next to the site. There will be no facilities on the site, but we are not far from the Nursery and could easily walk back, taking care when crossing the road, or drive back and park in the Kiln Field as usual. Any water for cleaning will need to be brought with us daily in large plastic bottles and containers, please start saving!

We would want to keep this week as relaxed as possible so there would be no need to sign up, just turn up and take part! We would run normal times 1000 – 1500; however it may be cold and we only stay for a short while and go home to warm up. Cuppa breaks, lunch breaks, home breaks, all flexible. Any finds would be labelled, cleaned and bagged as usual and a table set up to do this on, wherever we can find a flat enough area!!

We would ask you to bring as much equipment with you as possible, this worked really well during August 2021, and would save us bringing too much stuff over from the portacabin. You would need hand shovel, trowel, bucket, sieve, kneeler, gloves. There are some logs to sit on, but do think about bringing your own chair.

Any updates will be emailed, but fingers crossed we will be able to progress. Look forward to seeing you!