The floods in
November 2005 were fairly minor and caused no disruption to
road traffic. Nonetheless they flooded the low-lying lands
near the river. These fields were meadows until recent times
- a term which is now not very meaningful to most people. A
meadow was where grass was grown high so that it could be
mown and stored as hay for winter food for livestock. This
was a new technology in the late Saxon period and without it
large numbers of animals would need to be slaughtered before
winter as there would be no means of feeding them. It was as
important that livestock were not let into meadows while the
hay was growing as it was that they were not let into fields
where crops for human consumption were growing -
'Little Boy Blue, come blow your horn,
The sheep's in the meadow, the cow's in the corn.'
Pasture was the
term for land where livestock was grazed.
Riverside land was
used for meadows because the winter floods would
provide nutrients which encouraged growth.