The Wall

Tracing the Evolution of a Wetland Landscape

Above the peatlands laid down at the end of last Ice Age, islands and peninsulas of mineral soil also took shape across the Weald Moors, providing generations of locals with permanent refuge from the watery fens around them. Over the course of many centuries an established way of working these seasonally challenging yet productive wetlands evolved and, at The Wall, evidence of mankind’s long history of interaction with the landscape abounds at every turn…

The Wall: A potted history

The Wall, which lies on a minor road a mile northeast of Kynnersley, takes its name from a low-lying Iron Age hillfort that is one of the best preserved examples of its type in Britain. Built around 300 BC, it appears to have been in use for at least 400 years, although quite what its purpose was remains unclear. At one time, it was thought the structure (which consists of prominent inner walls and lines of concentric ditches radiating outward from the centre) may have served as a cattle stockade. However, recent analysis of insect remains trapped in the peat soil beneath the fort suggests not, as no remnants were found of any beetle life associated with cattle dung. The Cornovii tribe, on whose land the Weald Moors lay at the time, maintained hillforts all across a territory that was centred on The Wrekin but stretched from the Wirral to the northern borders of modern day Herefordshire. One theory is that the Cornovii constructed hillforts as an outward expression of status, so it could be that The Wall effectively acted as a very obvious symbol of dominion over what was, and still is, a very flat landscape.

Wall Farm

Wall Farm lies on a small island above Tibberton Moor, within the defences of the ancient hillfort that encircles it. While not quite of that structure’s antiquity, farming on this 400-acre holding has nevertheless been going on since at least the mid-1500s. At that time, agricultural activity was very much influenced and determined by the seasonal movement of water on the Weald Moors. Widespread drainage of the area did not occur until the early 1800s and before that date moorland pastures could only take a hoof in the summer months, while crops were grown only above the peatlands around the local island settlements themselves. Although drainage made the area more profitable for agriculture, the drier landscape did not benefit wildlife that depended on wet soil for its survival. However, under the supervision of far-sighted owners water has been making a steady return to Wall Farm over the past four decades, providing many scarce wetland-loving species with a stronghold that is now of regional importance. From a series of permissive paths created by the landowners, you can view re-wetted, seasonally grazed pastures, meadows and verdant ditches, managed especially to benefit wading birds, small mammals and a multitude of insects and plants. The farm is also home to a bird hide, perched over a newly created wetland from which more than 130 species have been viewed since opening in 1998.

Access to the birdhide is currently by permission of the landowner only, who can be contacted via the link at the bottom of the page.

Getting Here

Cycling in the north of the Weald Moors could not be easier. The ancient village of Kynnersley, which sits on the largest of the area’s islands, is the starting point for a network of Quiet Lanes that weave their way across Crudgington Moor, the Rodway and Tibberton Moor. These thoroughfares have all been chosen for the scheme because of their low traffic levels and natural ability to inhibit speed. Distinctive signs at entry points to the network also serve to remind motorists of the presence of more vulnerable road users.

If you’re arriving by car, parking is available next to the wall in the barn yard at Wall Farm itself — and you can find a map of the permissive routes around the site by downloading a copy of our Explore the Weald Moors booklet. This is a working farm, so please take care at all times and remember the Countryside Code: keep dogs under effective control; leave no trace of your visit and take litter home; consider the local community and other people enjoying the outdoors; plan ahead and be prepared; follow advice and local signs; leave gates and property as you find them and follow paths unless wider access is available.

Please note! The permissive paths at Wall Farm are not open all year round. If in doubt, please contact the landowner (via the link below) before visiting.


To view the pictures as a slideshow, just click on any of the images.

All photographs ©Wellington LA21 Group/Gordon Dickins