Wiltshire Horn ram and ewe - Professor
David Law 1841
The sheep used was, in the main, the Wiltshire Longhorn, tall and long legged. A report of 1794 tells us that the first and principal purpose of keeping sheep was undoubtedly the dung of the sheepfold and the second the wool. The Wiltshire Longhorns were well adapted to this, walking the long distance from the downs to the river meadows in the winter months and receptive to being close folded by night. They provided "the golden Hoof".
Corn output was increased from the early seventeenth century when larger flocks could be supported by the extra high quality grass on the so called bottom meadows. This was made possible by developing such rudimentary irrigation systems that may have existed into the more complex system eventually to be found throughout the chalk area locally, this development began early in the seventeenth century with the first known documented evidence on the River Nadder in 1625.
In constructing, or floating, irrigated meadows the purpose was to cover them with a thin blanket of water from the chalk stream. There was an elaborate networkof hatches and channels to distribute the river water over the surface of