Hidden buildings and historic gardens revealed by summer heatwave

The summer sun sets over Portland in Dorset
The summer sun sets over Portland in Dorset

The summer of 2018 will be remembered for reaching the semi-final stages of the World Cup and for the record-breaking hot weather that we have been enjoying, which in England can be a little hit or miss! But as the sun continues to beat down on Britain some hidden buildings historic features are appearing in lawns and fields across the country, some for the first time in known memory.

These features are normally kept hidden by lush greenery and crops but the hot weather has dried some of these areas out revealing past sites below. They are not easily seen with the naked eye and might not have been detected prior to the popularity of drone technology and its aerial photography capability.

The marks are revealed when grass, greenery or crops that grow above material, such as wood or stone, remains in the ground. The plants flourish or deteriorate at different rates, especially in unusually hot weather.

In County Meath, Ireland, Anthony Murphy captured aerial photographs which revealed details of a hidden henge. The new discovery was made on a site next to the River Boyne and close to others made in 2010 and brings the number of monuments within the one mile stretch of the river to seven. the drone photos revealed a double-ditch with causeway and two rings of pits, or postholes. The entrance of the building was also clearly visible.

At Gawthorpe Hall, Lancashire, the outline of a Victorian garden was revealed. Although the date the garden was covered up is unknown, comparing the drone photograph with an older one shows most of the detail of the formal layout of the garden.

Clumber Park, in Nottinghamshire is a large estate owned by the National Trust which has an amazing ghost of a building emerging.

An 18th Century building on the estate that was demolished in 1938 after fire damage. The hot weather has revealed the outline of the building from the air, including the stone foundations of rooms and corridors left in the ground. The mansion itself is not a new discovery but the ability to see the remains so clearly has revealed a previously unknown sundial in front of the lawn.

Ben Mason, who works for the National Trust said: “Even our longest-serving staff, who have been here since the 1970s, can’t remember seeing this much detail. It’s very unusual.”

Digging will commence this month to determine whether the building’s cellars that were demolished in 1938 are still accessible.

Towards the end of June 2018 Jordan Bridge, who works at the Lasham Gliding Club, spied the outline of what was once Lasham Airfield whilst gliding in the skies above Hampshire. Lasham Airfield was an RAF station during World War II that was constructed as a base for squadrons in 1942. It is still an active airfield to this day although some if it was returned to farmland at the end of the war.

Jordan waited over a week to take the best shots of newly revealed crop circles that depicted the taxiways and aircraft dispersal patterns that he had seen in previous photographs of the area. He said that in seven years of flying he had never seen the appearance of the details.

The outlines of World War II air raid shelters on Jesus Green in Cambridge have also been exposed.

Archaeologists are in a race against time across the country to log and investigate these discoveries before our long hot summer comes to an end.

In the Lake District, the water level at Haweswater Reservoir has diminished so much that the ruined buildings of the Cumbrian village of Mardale Green have been revealed.  The reservoir was created when a dam was built to flood the Mardale Valley. The Royal Engineers used much of the village’s buildings for target practice but the church, its graveyard, some of the farm buildings and houses, and the public house were dismantled before the valley was flooded. The hot receding water has revealed the outline of many of the buildings, together with farm gates and other features.

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