Site and Situation
Fig 1: Aerial photograph showing Cow Lane approaching Wood Hall (foreground); Stages 1 and 2 of the Gale Common Ash Disposal Site; and Eggborough Power Station (top right).
Fig 2: Wood Hall: Location Map
The site now known as Wood Hall lies approximately three miles (5km) south of the River Aire and one mile (1.6km) to the north of the village of Womersley, itself situated at the foot of the Magnesian limestone escarpment which formed the shore of the post-glacial Lake Humber at this point. Wood Hall is situated on a small sand island surrounded by the sands and clays of the former bed of Lake Humber, which more or less corresponds to the present Vale of York. This has always been a rich agricultural area and continues so to the present day. Human usage of the limestone uplands dates from the Late Mesolithic, with settlements and farming known from the Iron Age and Romano-British periods.
The area immediately surrounding Wood Hall is low-lying (nowhere more than 7m above sea level) and very wet, requiring drainage to keep it suitable for agricultural use. The water table is seldom more than 2m below the present ground surface, even in the driest summer. Within living memory there were natural springs immediately to the west of the site, which fed the moat. There is no native stone, or even gravel, at Wood Hall; every fragment of stone found at the site has been imported.
Fig 3: Wood Hall, showing the moated platform under excavation, with the unploughed pasture 'annexe' to the north.
Fig 4: Wood Hall: Moat and Annexe - location of excavated areas.
Phases I and II - The prehistoric and Romano-British Periods
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