Furze weirs along the Sid

Ed Dolphin makes several interesting observations about a feature he photographed recently on the River:

Someone was speculating about posts in the river: these are the ones by Lymebourne. I’m sure one set would have been protecting the bank, the other has a double arrangement and so one of the furze weirs is the most likely explanation.

As Ed points out further, this early weir would have been made from local materials:

Two lines of stakes and furze (gorse) cut up on the heath and packed in to make what is now called a leaky dam.

With an example here from a Sky news report from a couple of years ago:

‘Leaky dams’ for flood protection | News UK Video News | Sky News

Ed goes on further to suggest where the materials probably came from:

There was furze on all the hill tops, there still is.  There are over 100 references to furze on the local tithe maps.  It would have been cut in rotation rather like a coppice for things like firewood.  

With a photo here referencing Thomas Hardy’s Return of the Native:

Clym Yeobright became a professional furze cutter. These children were probably gathering furze for use in the family bread oven.

The Return of the Native

With thanks to Ed!