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Spade cultivation
Rigs and fields
Forestry and other first ploughing
main image Abandoned rigs, Ellemford, Berwickshire
These cultivation ridges were formed by ploughing, turning the furrow in from either side. High-backed, curving rigs of this kind date from the 18th century or earlier.

Later, 19th century rigs tend to be straighter and lower. From the mid-19th century onwards, cheaper sub-soil drainage cut out the need to make ridges.

The height above sea level to which crops could be grown varied year to year and over the centuries. The edge of uplands is a good place to find abandoned rigs today. In other lowland areas, a move into specialised livestock or dairy farming has left rigs preserved beneath permanent grassland.

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