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Changes in the landscape

The full version of these notes can be downloaded as a Word or PDF file. Adobe Acrobat Reader is needed to download PDF files.

National Curriculum Links

This package has been designed to link with the History and Geography curricula in particular. It looks at the changes in the landscape of Buckinghamshire between periods as well as looking at the characteristics of each period from the archaeological record.


History; Key Stage 2 & 3; Knowledge, skills and understanding

  • 2a: about characteristic features of the periods and societies studied, including the ideas, beliefs, attitudes and experiences of men, women and children in the past
  • 2d: to describe and make links between the main events, situations and changes within and across the different periods and societies studied.
  • 4a: how to find out about the events, people and changes studied from an appropriate range of sources of information, including ICT-based sources [for example, documents, printed sources, CD-ROMS, databases, pictures and photographs, music, artefacts, historic buildings and visits to museums, galleries and sites]

History; Key Stage 2; Breadth of Study

  • 7: Local history study
  • 9: Invaders and settlers before the Norman Conquest
  • 10: Tudor Britain
  • 11a: Victorian Britain

History; Key Stage 2; Breadth of Study

  • 8: Britain 1066 - 1500
  • 9: Britain 1500 - 1750
  • 10: Britain 1750 - 1900

Geography; Key Stage 2 & 3; Knowledge, skills and understanding

  • 2c: to use atlases and globes, and maps and plans at a range of scales [for example, using contents, keys, grids]
  • 2d: to use secondary sources of information, including vertical and oblique aerial photographs [for example, stories, information texts, the internet, satellite images, photographs, videos]
  • 2e: to draw plans and maps at a range of scales [for example, a sketch map of a locality]
  • 2f: to use ICT to help in geographical investigations
  • 3d: to explain why places are like they are [for example, in terms of weather conditions, local resources, historical development]
  • 3e: to identify how and why places change [for example, through the closure of shops or building of new houses, through conservation projects]and how they may change in the future [for example, through an increase in traffic or an influx of tourists]
  • 4a: recognise and explain patterns made by individual physical and human features in the environment [for example, where frost forms in the playground, the distribution of hotels along a seafront]

Geography; Key Stage 2; Breadth of study

  • 6d: how settlements differ and change.

Geography; Key Stage 3; Breadth of study

  • 6f: population distribution and change
  • 6g: changing characteristics of settlements 

Outline of worksheets

These worksheets are period specific and use the skills gained in doing some of the Archaeological skills and concepts worksheets as well as general research skills to find out what remains in the local area and the county as a whole from a specific time period. The landscape of Buckinghamshire has changed dramatically from prehistory to the present day. These worksheets cover the effect of the Romans and Saxons on Buckinghamshire’s landscape at Key Stage 2 and also how the landscape changed during the medieval and post-medieval periods up to the nineteenth century for work at Key Stage 3. Below are outlines of the content of the worksheets and links to those worksheets. There are also suggestions of which worksheets can be done in conjunction with each other.


Iron Age hillforts

Prerequisites: n/a

Other relevant worksheets: Interpreting aerial photographs; How to plot from aerial photographs onto maps

This worksheet starts by asking your students to do some research on the Internet and in books to find out some general facts about the Iron Age (there are some suggestions of books and internet sites in the Resources section). It then asks your students where they would build Iron Age hillforts in Buckinghamshire faced with a map of the county as it would have appeared at the start of the Iron Age, thinking about what an Iron Age person would need in an hillfort, like the location and nearby resources. By looking at a map, the students can then check whether their choice matches with where the hillforts really are. The students are then asked to search the Unlocking Buckinghamshire’s Past website to find out the answers to several questions about the hillforts in Buckinghamshire.

An extension activity is to ask your students to plot some hillforts from aerial photographs. These hillforts are not plotted on Ordnance Survey maps because their banks and ditches have been ploughed flat. You can use ready-made digital maps to plot the hillforts on. Your students will have had to work through how to interpret and plot archaeological features from aerial photographs.


Iron Age houses and settlements

Prerequisites: Interpreting aerial photographs

Other relevant worksheets: How to plot from aerial photographs onto maps; Draw a reconstruction; Evaluate a reconstruction

Your students are again asked where they would like to live in Buckinghamshire in the Iron Age, thinking about what an Iron Age person would need in a settlement, like the location and nearby resources. The students are then asked to look at a number of aerial photographs and try to find the features of an Iron Age settlement. An extension activity is to plot the settlement features onto a map. The children can then look at the excavation plan of an Iron Age settlement, and draw a reconstruction based on the plan. The children are then directed to websites where they can see reconstructions of Iron Age houses and are asked to evaluate the reconstructions and compare them to their own. 


Roman roads

Prerequisites: How to read maps

Other relevant worksheets:

The students are first asked to do a little research to find out what was special about Roman roads and are then asked to look at a modern road map (suggestions for maps to use for this are given in the Resources section) and see if there are any very straight roads that might have Roman antecedents. They can then compare their Roman road map to one archaeologists have compiled, which is captured as an image in Resources.

An extension activity for the more able students is to try to find on a map where an obviously Roman road cuts through earlier fields. They are first asked to find what may be Iron Age fields, which are usually all aligned in one direction over quite a large tract of land, and then whether there are any sections where they are overlain by a road that cuts through that alignment at a different angle and is therefore later. Maps showing these areas of Iron Age fields cut by Roman roads are available in the Resources section.


Roman forts


Other relevant worksheets:

Your students are first asked to sum up what they have learnt about the Roman army and are then told that very few Roman forts are thought to have been constructed in what is now Buckinghamshire. They are asked to think why that might be. They may be helped to understand by thinking about which of the tribes of pre-Roman Britain were friendly and which were unfriendly towards the Romans. They are asked to find out which tribe would have been in control of the land now in Buckinghamshire and whether they were friendly or unfriendly. The students are then asked to decide where they would have built a Roman fort if they were an officer in the Roman army. Instead of thinking about resources, the students will have to think about where the Romans were heading for and where they had come from, and how far they could march in a day. They can also think about where the Roman roads are. Finally, the students are told that very little evidence survives of Roman forts in the county and are asked why that might be.


Roman houses

Prerequisites: Interpreting aerial photographs

Other relevant worksheets: Evaluate a reconstruction

This worksheet starts with the children looking at aerial photographs of Roman villas and plotting the crop-marks onto maps. They are then asked to research Roman villas, what they are made out of and where they are in Buckinghamshire. There is a reconstructed Roman villa that you can explore online. The students are asked to evaluate the reconstruction and describe how the villa is different to an Iron Age roundhouse.


Roman religion

Prerequisites: What can archaeological artefacts tell us?

Other relevant worksheets:

First of all the children are asked to research the names of Roman and Iron Age gods and are told that the Romans replaced the British Gods with their own. They are then asked to research the sites of all the Roman temples in Buckinghamshire. Roman burial is explored as the children research where all the Roman burials have been found in Buckinghamshire and what types of things have been buried with them. They are asked to think about what the objects people are buried with might mean. Finally the worksheet ends with a case study concentrating on the Roman barrows at Thornborough near Buckingham.


Saxon settlement

Prerequisites: n/a

Other relevant worksheets:

You may want to teach the invasions in your own way. This worksheet gives some brief information about the invasions and then goes onto exercises where the children try to date their settlement from place-name and archaeological evidence and from mention in the Domesday Book, the transcripts of which are attached to the relevant parishes and settlements on the Unlocking Buckinghamshire's Past website. You will find information on place-names on the Key to English Place-names website. The abbreviations given to explain the age and origin of the place-names are:

OE - Old English (Saxon)

OA - Old Anglian (Saxon)

OAN - Old Anglo-Norse (Viking)

ON - Old Norse (Viking)

M - Medieval

CBA - Celtic/Brythonic/? (pre-Roman British language)

L - Latin (Roman or medieval)

Z - Family name.


Saxon houses

Prerequisites: Interpreting archaeological site plans

Other relevant worksheets: Draw a reconstruction; Evaluate a reconstruction

This worksheet invites the students to look at the excavations of Saxon remains in Walton as a case study and try to work out, from the site plan, what the settlement would have looked like. They are asked to draw a reconstruction of the settlement. The more able learners would then be able to go on and compare their reconstruction to one done by an archaeologist and evaluate the two. Some links to reconstructions of Saxon houses can be found below.


Saxon fields

Prerequisites: Lumps and bumps on the ground; Interpreting aerial photographs

Other relevant worksheets: How to plot from aerial photographs onto maps; How to read maps

In this worksheet children are familiarised with ridge-and-furrow, how it looks in the landscape both from the air and the ground, how it was created and where it survives in Buckinghamshire and why. More able or older children can be asked to plot some ridge-and-furrow from aerial photographs onto maps. An extension to this worksheet could be to take the children out to measure some ridge-and-furrow in the field. Some suggestions for locations to visit are listed below under Visits.


Saxon religion

Prerequisites: What can archaeological artefacts tell us?

Other relevant worksheets:

This worksheet takes your students backwards from the Christian Late Saxon period to the Early Saxon pagan period. The children are asked to look for churches with surviving Saxon fabric, and there are suggestions of churches to visit under Visits. They are also asked to compare Christian burials to pre-Christian and think about what pagan Saxon grave goods might mean. They are then asked to look at Taplow barrow as a case study and compare it to Sutton Hoo. There is a link to the Sutton Hoo website below.


Medieval buildings

Prerequisites: How to date buildings

Other relevant worksheets: Character Appraisal

The children are asked to date their village’s buildings using the How to date buildings worksheet, to see whether any are of medieval date, and then write up a number of characteristics of medieval buildings. An extension activity for this worksheet is to do the Character appraisal worksheet


Medieval fields and farming

Prerequisites: Interpreting aerial photographs

Other relevant worksheets: Saxon fields; How to plot from aerial photographs onto maps

This worksheet is very similar to the Saxon fields worksheet where children are asked to search for areas of ridge-and-furrow still surviving in Buckinghamshire as well as spot some ridge-and-furrow from aerial photographs. More able students may be able to plot this ridge-and-furrow onto maps. They are then asked to think about why tenants had strips of land in various different places around the village, rather than having all their strips concentrated together.


Medieval churches

Prerequisites: n/a

Other relevant worksheets: Dating churches

The worksheet on churches looks at parish churches and chapels. Children can do the Date your village’s church worksheet at the same time, which consists of a survey of their church, either building recording and looking at how it stands in the landscape or search for their church on the UBP website and books on local history etc… to find out the date of their church. There are opportunities to visit their church, a church with surviving medieval wall paintings and a medieval chapel in Buckingham. See the Visits section below. The children are asked to work out what story is depicted in wall paintings and why they were painted. 


Medieval chapels


Other relevant worksheets:

They are asked to think about the uses of medieval chapels as subsidiary buildings to churches.


Medieval monasteries

Prerequisites: Interpreting aerial photographs

Other relevant worksheets:

The importance of monasteries in Buckinghamshire is explored in this worksheet. The plans of Snelshall Priory in Buckinghamshire can be used to look at the function of monasteries. Aerial photographs of Snelshall and photographs of standing monasteries can be used to look at the scale of them. This worksheet also explores how the monasteries held a great deal of land, including having other, dependent monasteries as well as monastic grange farms.


Medieval parks and forests

Prerequisites: n/a

Other relevant worksheets:

This is linked to the education package on Medieval Bernwood Forest produced for the Getting to Know Bernwood project. After looking into that the children will have a good knowledge of crime and punishment in a medieval forest. Medieval parks were more numerous than forests, and this worksheet explores the impact of those on the landscape and on the people living in the area. This worksheet ends with an optional hot-seating activity where one person pretends to be the king (perhaps Henry III) and the rest of the class petition him to disafforest and disimpark the nearest forest or park to your school, explaining the detrimental effects it has on your community.


Medieval water features

Prerequisites: How to read maps

Other relevant worksheets:

This worksheet looks at how important water management was in the medieval period. It was used for moats around houses and gardens and for. Grange Farm, Quainton will be used as a case study in fishponds. By looking at maps the children can see that moats and fishponds are very common in Buckinghamshire. They will be encouraged to work out how close moats and fishponds are, and whether it is more likely to find moats and fishponds together or separately.


Dissolution of the monasteries


Other relevant worksheets:

The Dissolution of the monasteries is often seen to mark the end of the medieval period. This worksheet encourages your pupils to explore the Unlocking Buckinghamshire’s Past website to find monasteries that were already ruinous before the Dissolution, as well as those that were dissolved and converted into private houses. Each monastery had one or more farms called granges that would generate food and revenue for the monks or nuns, and these would also have changed hands at the Dissolution. Though the countryside probably didn’t change very much, the people involved would have been affected and the worksheet asks the children to think about what it was like for the monks and nuns, the communities they helped and the gentry and nobility who profited.


Tudor Enclosure

Prerequisites: How to read maps

Other relevant worksheets:

This worksheet outlines the early enclosure of fields for sheep-grazing and some of the associated problems. Your pupils are asked to prepare two sides of a debate to argue for and against enclosure using the examples and information given in the sheet. Encourage your pupils to do more research on the Internet and to develop their arguments before launching into a debate.


Settlement desertion

Prerequisites: How to read maps; Interpreting archaeological site plans

Other relevant worksheets:

Many villages were deserted in the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries, mainly for economic reasons. This worksheet examines four different places where settlements were deserted: Burston in Aston Abbots; Boarstall; several villages at Stowe and Lockington in Saunderton. They are asked questions about each village through the worksheet. Perhaps to round it off the class could be split into four and each act out the desertion of one of the villages.


Roads, canals and railways

Prerequisites: How to read maps

Other relevant worksheets:

You can use a map of turnpike roads, available from the County Archaeological Service, to use with this worksheet. Your pupils are asked to match turnpike roads to modern roads. You can find images of milestones that the turnpike trusts set up on Blow up a picture of the turnpike road map and get your pupils to print out and stick on pictures of the milestones to the appropriate road. Perhaps you can split your class into groups to do this and each takes one road.

You can also obtain a map of the Grand Union Canal through Buckinghamshire from the County Archaeological Service for this worksheet. Pupils are asked to search the Unlocking Buckinghamshire’s Past website for structures relating to the canals and mark them on this map. They can then find out from wider sources how canals were used.

Please contact the County Archaeological Service who can also provide a map of railways through the county. A brief outline of when the railways were opened allows the children to draw the railway network at three points in time, 1850, 1875 and 1910. Perhaps your class could be split into three, with one group drawing their own individual maps of the railway network in 1850 and so on. Your pupils are asked whether they have travelled on any of the remaining train lines. Some have closed, especially the ones going north from Aylesbury. Your pupils can do a search on the Unlocking Buckinghamshire’s Past website to find out where the old railway lines and bridges are in Brill and Quainton. The railways also led to a housing boom as people moved into towns. A series of maps from Winslow, Gerrards Cross and Aylesbury are available from the County Archaeological Service to compare the towns before and after the railway.

The worksheet finishes with a comparison of the canals and railways. Your class could have a debate about which was the best form of transport.


Parliamentary Enclosure

Prerequisites: How to read maps

Other relevant worksheets: Hedgerow dating

This worksheet gets your pupils to look at maps and work out whether the fields were enclosed before the eighteenth century or by act of parliament in and after the eighteenth century. The way to tell the difference is whether the field boundaries are straight and the shapes of the fields are mainly regular squares or rectangles. Sections of maps are available from the County Archaeological Service for your pupils to do this. Maps of Beaconsfield and Great Marlow are also available to compare where field boundaries have been put in or taken out in more recent years. You may want to find a local hedgerow and use the Hedgerow dating worksheet to try and work out its date.



Prerequisites: How to read maps

Other relevant worksheets:

There are map sections of High Wycombe and Aylesbury to use to chart the growth of these towns in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. They are available from the County Archaeological Service. The types of growth are also explored, such as housing estates, factories and civic buildings.



Prerequisites: How to read maps

Other relevant worksheets:

This worksheet works in close conjunction with maps of industry in Buckinghamshire, available from the County Archaeological Service. Your pupils are asked to work out where furniture factories, paper-mills and brickworks are located in Buckinghamshire. Some show marked concentrations, others are more widespread. You should be able to work out that furniture factories are located in and around High Wycombe, close to the beech plantations on the Chilterns. Paper-mills can be found across the county, but are usually housed in watermills and therefore have to be next to rivers. Brickworks are located close to outcrops of clay, indicated where there are clay pits.

Further activities for more able/older pupils

Date your parish church

After doing the How to date buildings worksheet and after looking at church architecture on the various websites in the Resources section below, older or more able students will be able to do a survey of their local church. This worksheets directs the students to look at building styles, the gravestones and dates in the parish history. You may also want to direct them to the Domesday book and the Victoria County History, mentioned in the Bibliography. The children are also asked to look at the spacing of the church in relation to the village. By checking against the UBP website they will be able to see whether there is any evidence of earlier buildings around the church, and therefore what kind of impact the church has in its setting.

Do a character assessment of your village or town

This worksheet introduces your students to the concept of Conservation Areas and doing character appraisals. In this way it ties in with Citizenship targets by explaining one of the duties of the local authority. It also develops the idea of dating buildings and can be done after the How to date buildings worksheet. Instead of characterising a conservation area your class could characterise their whole village or part of their town. The children will be asked to split the area you have chosen into character areas. Character can be defined by a number of things, such as the size, scale and style of buildings as well as things like the detailing on the houses, the provision of front gardens, front walls or fences, driveways and so on. The local authority often uses character appraisals to inform planning decisions. Perhaps you could contact the Conservation Office in your District Council and get them to have a look at the character appraisals your class has done. Contact numbers are in the Resources section.

Giving advice on a planning application

The children are asked to think about an area you have studied in detail, such as your own village or town. Several thousand houses need to be built and the children have to figure out where they should be put, what they should look like and what the names of the streets should be. They will also need to think of ways of using any archaeological earthworks in a positive way so they contribute to the development but also so they are protected and conserved. Alternatively, the children can take a site like Quarrendon, which has Tudor garden earthworks, the moat of a great house, fishponds, the ruins of a church and three deserted medieval villages within a small area to the north of Aylesbury. Three thousand houses will be built in this area, so perhaps the children could use this as an example.

New uses for old buildings

The class are asked to choose an empty building in your village or town. The class should visit the building and be split into pairs. Each pair takes notes and photographs of the building and writes these up into a report on the state of the building. They are then encouraged to ask local residents what they know about the past history of the building and what they would like to see done with it (see our suggested residents survey questions). Finally, the report and the residents survey can be put together into a planning application to your local planning authority. You can contact a planning officer in your local authority who may be willing to check the ‘planning applications’ and give feedback to the students. Contact details for the planning authorities are in the Resources section.


Here are some suggestions for visits to follow up work done in the classroom. The links take you to more information about that particular site a grid reference so you can find it on a map.

Visit a hillfort

Before the visit the class should complete the worksheet Lumps and bumps in the ground so that they can make sense of the earthworks they will see when visiting a hillfort, such as Ivinghoe Beacon on the Ashridge Estate, managed by the National Trust.


On the visit the children could take measurements of the hillfort, such as the width of the ditches and banks, the height of the banks, using their knowledge of how to measure the height of a structure, or how wide they are by pacing it out.


After visiting a hillfort you could ask the children to draw what they think the hillfort looked like in the Iron Age, knowing what they know about the types of activities that went on in hillforts and any evidence from that hillfort in particular.


Alternatively you could ask them to write a story, imagining themselves living in the Iron Age and either living in or visiting the hillfort and what they thought about it.

Walk part of the Icknield Way

Before the visit the class should complete the worksheet Lumps and bumps in the ground so that they can make sense of the earthworks they will see when visiting the Icknield Way, which runs along the scarp of the Chilterns. There are some good short sections that can be walked. The Icknield Way is supposed to cross the Ashridge Estate, managed by the National Trust.


During the walk the children could take pictures with disposable cameras or the school camera, or sit and draw some of the views from the scarp over the Vale of Aylesbury. When they get back to class you could ask them to draw that view as they think it would have looked in the Iron Age, remembering what they have learned about Iron Age fields and settlements.

Visit a Roman villa, Bancroft, Milton Keynes

Before the visit the class should complete the worksheet Lumps and bumps in the ground so that they can make sense of the low walls they will see when visiting Bancroft Roman Villa. Although no longer technically in Buckinghamshire, this is the closest Roman villa that you can go and visit. There is no superstructure but there are low walls to show the plan of the villa.


During the visit the children could measure the plan of the villa by pacing it out and draw the plan up in class later. This could be the basis for a reconstruction drawing of a Roman villa, using what they have learnt about what villas looked like and were used for.

Visit Thornborough Roman barrows and/or medieval bridge

Before the visit the class should complete the worksheet Lumps and bumps in the ground so that they can make sense of the earthworks they will see when visiting the barrows at Thornborough, which are survivals of a rare Roman burial rite. The only other place Roman barrows occur in Britain are along the Essex/Suffolk border at Bartlow Hills. After doing the Roman religion worksheet, the barrows are a good place to go to see how imposing the barrows would have been whilst travelling along the road. The fourteenth century bridge nearby is close to where timbers from a probable Roman bridge were found in excavation. The track to the bridge is the same route as the original Roman road. The temple was some way to the south of the road.


During the visit the children can be asked to find out what the diameter and circumference of the round barrows are with long tapes. Which is the biggest? Are they perfectly round? How far from the Roman road were they?


As an extension or for more able students, you could ask them to work out how to set out a round barrow without modern equipment. How did you mark a circle on the ground in the Roman period? (The answer is with a stake in the middle and a long piece of rope with another stake on the end). The children could then set out their own miniature round barrow with stones or earth to the same proportions as one of the Thornborough barrows. This will mean the children have to work out the right proportions to make a smaller scale barrow, either next to the barrows or on the school playing field when they get back.

Visit a Saxon church

All Saint's church in Wing has more Saxon work than other churches in the county. The children can be asked to see whether they can spot the oldest bit of the church. They can also draw the external elevation, using the skills they learnt doing the building recording worksheet.


Back at school they could be asked to imagine they were a Saxon peasant going to church on a Sunday and what their experience might have been, using what they have already learned about Saxon religion and life, and write a story about it.

Visit and measure some ridge-and-furrow

This visit can be done after either the Saxon or the medieval worksheet on fields and farming. Children should be armed with long tapes so that they can record the width and length of the ridge-and-furrow. If doing this activity with older or more able students, you may be able to get them to mark the blocks of ridge-and-furrow on a map. These children will have had to learn how to read a map and possibly how to plot onto maps.

Some well preserved areas of ridge-and-furrow can be seen at the following areas. Click on the name for more details and a grid reference:

Click on the name to follow a link and find out the location of each. There are many more areas of ridge-and-furrow. Do a search on the UBP website to find them all, there may be a less well preserved area much nearer your school.

Visit Long Crendon courthouse

This is a late medieval building that was used for hearing court cases. The courthouse is not always open and you should check with the National Trust to arrange a visit. There is a charge for entry.


Children could visit after doing the Getting to Know Bernwood Forest education pack on forest law and life. They could each have a role to play in a scripted court-case, a defendant, a judge, a witness, a magistrate, a member of the jury, and could enact a court case in the courthouse.


Back at school the children could be asked to write up their version of events to be sent back to the king. The defendant’s supporters could be writing to the king to assure him of his innocence and the accusers to convince the king of his guilt.

Visit a deserted medieval village

There are many deserted medieval villages in the Vale of Aylesbury and even more villages that have shrunk since the medieval period leaving only lumps and bumps in the ground to tell us where they once were. After studying maps, plans and aerial photographs of them in the classroom, the class could go to visit a set. Before the visit the class should complete the worksheet Lumps and bumps in the ground so that they can make sense of the earthworks they will see when visiting one of the shrunken or deserted villages in north Buckinghamshire:

Click on the name to follow a link and find out the location of each. There are also many more. You can take along copies of the maps, plans and aerial photographs and try to work out how the lumps and bumps in front of you relate to each other.


When you are back in the classroom the pupils can draw views out of the village towards other villages or towns, as they might have appeared in the medieval period.

Visit a church with a wall painting

All Saints church in Little Kimble has well preserved wall paintings, showing St George, and the Devil casting people into hell. Check with the parish office whether the church is usually open or can be opened for a visit. If you can get in the children can draw what they see on the walls and work out what story it tells. Back at school the children can paint a story of their choosing in a medieval style.

Visit the Chantry Chapel, Buckingham

The Chantry Chapel is also National Trust owned, is not open all the time and is not free, like the courthouse in Long Crendon. The Chapel was used as a hospital and a school as well as a chantry. On your visit you could enact a scripted event to explore one or more of these uses. The children could also draw the external and internal elevations using the skills they have learnt from the building recording worksheet. When back at school the children could write about what effect each of the uses had on the building.

Grand Junction/Union Canal

There are various portions of the canal that you can walk along. The Wendover Arm can be found in Wendover itself, off Wharf Road, for instance, and at Halton. The Aylesbury Arm is visible in certain places in Aylesbury, and you can get to it off the High Street, walk along for a short way and come up at another bridge on a footpath linking Exchange Street and Walton Road. The Buckingham Arm can be seen from Thornborough Mill, where there is a public footpath. The main channel was built through Marsworth, Cheddington, Mentmore, Soulbury and Stoke Hammond. There is a complex called Three Locks at Soulbury. There are many sections where there are flat surfaced pathways. See the Ramblers website for more information about routes.

Brill clay-pits

The clay-pits at Brill can be seen on the common around the windmill. The ground is very uneven and care should be taken when visiting. The scale of the clay-pits can be appreciated from the windmill. The pits were probably dug over many centuries.


Interactive Timepod

There is a timepod incorporating all the PDF maps that are attached to the relevant worksheets in an interactive map. There is more information and images, both photographs and reconstructions, on selected sites at: The Timepod gives a chronological overview of the changing landscape of Buckinghamshire from the Neolithic to the wars of the twentieth century.

Archival material online:

There is a very good set of online activities looking in depth at the Domesday Book, how it was compiled and why at


A copy of the Boarstall Cartulary, a fifteenth century map of Boarstall, can be found online at:

Building history online: This is the website of the reconstructed Iron Age village at Butser Ancient Farm. There is also a reconstructed villa there now and you can take a virtual tour around the villa and compare the style of building between the Iron Age and the Roman periods. This is the website for the reconstructed Saxon village of West Stow in Suffolk where you can see images of the houses they have rebuilt to compare them with later medieval houses.


The following websites have information and activities based around architectural history and how it can be traced in the styles of building and decoration in houses and churches:


The English Heritage website Images of England has pictures of most of the listed buildings in the country.

Church architecture: This is a website dedicated to recording and presenting wall paintings from medieval churches. It has a wonderful gallery you can browse through to find images of medieval wall paintings. You can browse by county and so find images of wall paintings from Buckinghamshire, but also by the story that the paintings relate or the date of the wall paintings. This is a catalogue of images of stained glass from around Buckinghamshire from the medieval and post-medieval periods. You can browse by place, date, image depicted and makers mark. This is a website set up by Lambeth Palace Library, the library of the Archbishops of Canterbury. One of the large collections in the library is a record of church plans as drawn by architects visiting churches that had applied for grants to do work in the nineteenth and twentieth century. These plans have been digitized and can be viewed online. This website has many images of churches in Buckinghamshire and, from here, you can go to websites with images of houses in the county too.

The Corpus of Romanesque Architecture in Britain and Ireland is a database and gallery of images of Romanesque (Norman) church architecture:

The following links to the BBC website lead to various activities on church architecture and painting:

Case studies

A site destroyed by decay - Saxon settlement at the Orchard site, Walton

A site destroyed by dismantling - sixteenth century house at Temple End, High Wycombe

A site destroyed by fire – thirteenth century building in Wing cemetery

A site destroyed by flooding – Bronze Age bridges at Dorney

Ready-made maps

The maps attached to this page can be used at various stages in the modules outlined above for marking on new discoveries as they are made. They are small maps that can be printed at A4 and show monuments from the Neolithic to the Victorian period. As the children find out where the monuments of the period they are studying are in the county, they can mark them on the map, using the symbols suggested or making up their own. This can be used as an alternative to the more formalised map reading and plotting for less able students, and also with other students as a way of marking progress. The maps can be used at the end of the modules to form part of a report or display. The maps are linked as PDF files. You need Adobe Acrobat Reader to open these files.

Further reading

English Place-name Society, 1925. Buckinghamshire. Volume II,.

Everson, P, 2001. Peers, peasants and graziers. Records of Buckinghamshire 41.

Hindle, P, 2001. Roads and Tracks for Historians. Chichester: Phillimore.

Reed, M, 1979. The Buckinghamshire Landscape. London: Hodder & Stoughton.

Victoria County History. Buckinghamshire, Vols I-IV. 


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