Friday 5 February 2016

Drains and meadows

I mapper jumped into mapping the rural areas of East Yorkshire more than a year ago but, sadly, seems to have stopped. This mapper has added farmland and woods in much more detail than anything before and has drawn the outlines of lots of buildings in villages too. There are a couple of things that I've decided to change in any areas that I take a look at now. That is meadows and drains.

Meadows are a special thing in Britain, with most having disappeared. They are not just areas of grassland but a very specific kind of management, involving no fertiliser, a careful cutting of the grass for hay more than once a year and some animal grazing, but not all year round. The timing of the hay cuts allows wild flowers to flourish as they have time to set seed before they are cut down. This makes a beautiful landscape that has all but vanished from the English countryside. The mapper has made the mistake that almost any green field in the aerial imagery is a meadow, so I'm checking as best I can on the ground and changing it to farmland unless it really is a meadow. The farmland is drawn with each field outlined which means I can try to add hedges when I see them. This too improves the quality of the rural mapping.

The other problem is that every field-side ditch has been mapped as a drain. This is further worsened by another mapper doing the same thing in Holderness, the flat land to the east of Hull. There are some waterways I would call a drain there, but most are ditches in my view. A ride out doesn't cover much ground to correct this and imagery is ambiguous at best. So there's lots to check and much will change.

The East Riding countryside is a great place to spend time; having an excuse to carefully explore and examine more of it in detail is no bad thing, so I'm not complaining.

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