The field boundaries have been unchanged since at least 1884. There is no evidence of cultivation, probably because of the very wet nature of the site.
Jackland’s Tunnel, a pipe buried at a depth of approximately 1.5 metres, was installed in the early 1800s to channel excess water from the surrounding fields to beyond the spout where the water table is much lower and in so doing, improve the drainage of the land.
There is historical evidence on maps for the use of the river to power a pump to deliver water to Nailsea at the point where the footpath crosses the river. The remains of a similar pumping system can be found on the Land Yeo near to Towerhouse Wood.
Little is known about the archaeology of the site. We have found no evidence of habitation but it is likely that the field has been grazed for at least the last two centuries.
The nearby Tickenham Mill was established by the Canons of the Abbey of Saint Augustine (now Bristol Cathedral) in 1148 using the flow of the Land Yeo to power a water wheel. The mill at Middletown in Tickenham is sited on a fault line which gives a 12 feet head of water from an ‘over shot’ or ‘high breast’ shot wheel. The mill was later purchased by Lady Smyth of Ashton Court and converted to a water pump to supply water to her farms. The water was pumped to tanks at Cadbury Camp from a well in Tickenham Court. The mill is now a private dwelling house.
The Land Yeo originates from springs arising on Dundry Hill and although part of its route to the sea at Clevedon is through a natural watercourse, the section flowing past the reserve and on to Tickenham is contained within a man-made embankment. The river has provided power to at least ten watermills along its length for more than a thousand years, although only one is still operating today.
Moorend Spout in 1886
The site has been studied by metal detectorists, who unfortunately did not find anything of significance. However, during clearance of the carr, we have found two interesting pieces of "historic" rubbish:
A marmalade jar with an inscription which dates the manufacture to the 1930s - "by appointment to King George V"; and
A drinks bottle which says "Neptune Drinks" and "Brooke & Prudencio". A little internet research and we found out that it turns out they were a Bristol-based soft drinks manufacturer from 1889 to 1960. Potentially the bottle was in the carr swamp for over 60 years!