The Edgehill battlefield was the most open of all the major Civil War battlefields, with few physical features to give advantage to the attacker or the defender.
An interim project report by the Battlefields Trust in 2005 established a core suggestion for how the open field landscape of the battlefield may have appeared in the 17th century or at least
in the century or so following the battle.1 Ostensibly, this was transcribed from Radway's 1756 pre-enclosure map (available to view within this website), the evident surviving perimeter hedgerows of the combined open field field-scape (discernable using the satellite view within this website) and an earlier low resolution map by David Pannett. His 1970s reseach also suggested that fields in the northern area of Westcote parish, omitted from the 1756 map - west of Red road - were also already enclosed long before 1642.2 (The battlefield's registered boundary - also available to view within this website - illustrates the original open field perimeter in this southern section).
Further enclosures and finer detail around the northern central area of the open terrain was added by Foard (featuring a field now known as Nibsbury) and between Lt Kineton and Kineton, in his 'historic terrain' illustrations of 2009.3 Additional research in 2011 added detail of the actual surface terrain, vegetation and land use, as well as arguing the removal of some features once thought to have existed around Essex's lines.4 The 2011 resource also speculates upon several additional elements such as additional hedgerows and the potential for isolated copses.
This basic representation of the 1642 terrain draws from all of these sources and provides a fundamental impression of the combined open and generally uninterrupted space created by the three common fields. The parish boundary hedgerow and the adjoining enclosures - which are thought to have existed at the time - have also been included within the central region. Surviving hedgerows of an ancient enclosure (Martlemore Lays) are conjectured here to have largely survived into the mid 1600s - and potentially used by Essex's right Dragoons; shown to the south and next to Red road. (It becomes plausible to also speculate that the adjoining ancient field of Martlemere Furlong — to its east and also illustrated in the 1756 map terrain overlay — may also have been partially enclosed at this time with the parish boundary hedgerow extending northwards to the isolated section of hedgerow shown close by). Details of Foard's enclosures to the north are also included, illuminating Rupert's cavalry positions within the 2009 deployment conjecture.
Skipwith Common in North Yorkshire is an example of isolated surviving lowland heath within arable and pasture enclosures which provides a flavour of how parts of the combined opens fields down in the vale may have appeared from Edgehill in 1642.
- Battlefields Annual Review (ISBN: 1 84415 281 2). Terrain details also used as the canvas and back drop to illustrate three previous battle deployment conjectures alongside the new Foard/Pannett 2003 suggestion (Burne, Young, Roberts & Tincey) and published in PDF format (deployments.pdf) through the Battlefields Trust's website
- Pannett's basic Edgehill battlefield reconstruction remained unpublished within English Heritage's battlefield file until 2012
- The investigation of early modern battlefields in England, in Schlachtfeldarchäeologie: Battlefield Archaeology, H. Meller, Editor. 2009
- For further detail and discussion concerning the battlefield's historic terrain: The Battle of Edgehill, 1642 - Terrain Conjecture.