The modern landscape of arable farming, woodlands and sparse settlement belies a rich and eventful past. There is a long-term theme of settlement and economic activity being concentrated close to the River Witham: the land was more amenable to settlement and farming whilst the river itself has been an extremely important transport route from early times. In contrast, the majority of the Limewoods area was more difficult to farm due to the heavy clay soils.
Occasional archaeological finds from the Limewoods area show local activity through the Palaeolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic periods, and there is evidence of Bronze Age occupation. The main focus of Bronze Age interest is mostly just outside the Limewoods area in the Witham Valley.
Evidence from Iron Age and Roman periods is sparse; however with a rapidly rising population and the proximity of Roman Lincoln, land use will have been significantly affected during this time. The area of farmland will have expanded and greater demands would have been put on the woodland resource.
Much more is known for the medieval period, with several monasteries established within the Limewoods area. Almost all of the area, including many of its woods, was managed by these monasteries up to the Dissolution in the late 1530s, when most of the estates passed to new, private landowners.
A series of panels describing historical periods in more detail can be accessed via the ‘Downloads’ tab above.