Lynchets

Cultivation terraces, otherwise known as lynchets, are common agricultural features in the Cheviots. These are long terraces that run across a hillside; sometimes there may just be one of them, but there can be up to a dozen or more running parallel with each other.

Such terraces are hard to date, but around the country it’s known that some were built in the Bronze Age while others are probably medieval in origin, created at a time when a growing population and land hunger encouraged the cultivation of marginal land.

They were formed as a result of ploughing across the slope, either with a plough team or by hand. The resulting disturbance caused loose soil gradually to migrate down the hill. Although the process might have started by accident, it seems likely that on occasions deliberate attempts were made to control this movement by using regularly placed rows of stones or low wooden hurdles. The soil building up against these barriers formed terraces that were in turn easier to cultivate.

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