January 2012 (The photographs included in this account show a variety of field barn water sources that Team Three have found in their wanderings.)
Diary update: January saw Recording Teams Three and Five renew their activities after the Christmas break. Team Five had the challenging task of surveying three working barns in the middle of Kettlewell, not an easy task when they are full of animals and surrounded by farm machinery - but they did draw the line at the area which housed the bull!
Team Three donned their walking boots and climbed up onto the eastern fellside to investigate three structures high above Starbotton which were confirmed as sheep folds. The team then photographed five sites along the valley bottom, all locations where barns had once stood but no longer exist - although a pair of ventilators and four or five quoins were found frozen into a field wall at one of the sites. Team Three then rounded off the month by surveying two ruined field barns and an intact village barn in Kettlewell.
Identification of sites: Apart from within the two villages, our list of sites to visit was drawn up by highlighting every regular quadrilateral shape that looked as if it could be a building onto the UWHG working maps. We employed the present day 2˝” to the mile, the 1909 25” to the mile, the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey 6” map drawn up in 1851, the two Tithe award maps of 1846 and by image hunting on Google Earth as our source.
A number of these sites turned out to be sheep folds, springs, modern, non traditional buildings or small reservoirs for isolated farms but every site has been logged and photographed. Whilst the valley floors have the greatest concentration of barns there are a number of high level meadows with barns, a long way from the modern route ways.
Water supplies: One of the many questions on our recording form is about sources of water, as cows required on average of 15 gallons of water a day, as 85% of milk is composed of water. Therefore a vital component of a traditional field barn was a convenient water supply. Up to the middle of the 20th century, when field barns were used for housing cows over winter, the farmer would need to visit each barn twice a day and one of his essential tasks was to turn the cows out to water.
However, for some of the locations we have visited, no obvious water source can be identified and despite the presence of gutter remains and fall-pipes, an alternative source, apart from rainwater, must have been employed.