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The road to Sapperton on a sunny winter day

Field named South Sainfoin on Tithe Map of 1838

The whole of the Parish is one gently rounded plateau, with the land falling away to Long Hollow on the west and with a slight dip down to Sapperton Beck on the south.

This is part of an area of England with a rich farming history. What can be seen in the countryside is barely ‘natural’ at all, but a result of a combination of the interests of landowners over the centuries and government policy, influenced by membership of the European Community and world trends.



In the 1970’s cattle raised for meat were grazing in the fields, as were about 1,000 sheep. The cattle disappeared during the 1970’s and their grazing land was drained and ploughed using government subsidies. In the 1990’s the sheep also went. Now, apart from a handful of cattle or a flock of sheep grazing on otherwise unused permanent pasture close to the village, no farm animals can be seen.

Arable crops grown are the staple wheat, and two break crops, often peas and oilseed rape, depending on the government subsidies available. Some years barley is grown.

Another feature of the landscape is the plantations of trees established in the 1970’s and since. These are nothing like the ancient woodland still surviving in small patches in local parishes. It is mainly fir, with some broadleaf trees. On the clay land these are doing well, though the fir is better established than the broadleaf. On the limestone, however, success is more patchy. The limestone is not suitable for oak or beech. Ash does better, being shallow rooted, and sycamore grows robustly anywhere. Sycamore would not have formed part of ancient woodland having been introduced to Britain in the last 500 years.