Field without hedges north of Southwick Wood
Forest landscapes - arable land
Large swathes of former woodland have been cleared to grow crops. Today, many parts of the traditional forest are enormous arable fields, with only small fragments of remaining woodland.
This is a bridleway north-east of Apethorpe with Bushrubs Wood (9.5ha) on the right. (OS grid reference TL0296)
Further south towards Deene (SP9891) another bridleway provides good access through the fields of grain. There are wide fields margins (the land is in Higher Level Stewardship) but there are few trees, mainly confined to the fragments of woodland on the higher land. Wymond Hill Wood is on the right and Burn Coppice in the distance. This is part of the Brudenell (Deene) Estate.
On the Blatherwycke Estate a public right-of- way crosses the fields up towards Bushey Wood (SP9893).
Above Nassington a right of way affords a view across the Nene Valley
Much of the northern part of Rockingham Forest is a clay plateau which means that the land drains very poorly when it is wet and bakes solid in summer.
These two pictures show fields close to Fineshade Wood in December.
In some places, as shown here, the clay layer is shallow and frequent ploughing has brought much limestone to the surface. As a result much of the arable land is classified as grade 3b (only moderate quality agricultural land)
These arable fields, occupying nearly half of the forest area have come an extremely long way from the traditional Rockingham Forest landscapes.
Is there any going back?