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Halstow Marshes Decoy Pond

A Scheduled Monument in High Halstow, Medway

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Latitude: 51.471 / 51°28'15"N

Longitude: 0.5657 / 0°33'56"E

OS Eastings: 578293.08513

OS Northings: 177795.57205

OS Grid: TQ782777

Mapcode National: GBR PNR.RV0

Mapcode Global: VHJLG.R9F4

Entry Name: Halstow Marshes Decoy Pond

Scheduled Date: 26 August 2015

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1424899

County: Medway

Civil Parish: High Halstow

Traditional County: Kent

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Kent

Church of England Parish: High Halstow St Margaret

Church of England Diocese: Rochester


The site of Halstow Marshes Decoy Pond, a two-phase extant four-pipe duck decoy, dating from the late C17, with later phases of modification and use to the C19.

Source: Historic England


The scheduled area includes an extant four-pipe duck decoy, with earthwork and buried remains of earlier phases, situated at NGR TQ 7827 7778 on Halstow Marshes, south-east of and close to Decoy Fleet, which empties out into Egypt Bay. The land-use comprises pasture and grazing marsh within the Northward Hill Nature Reserve.

The diamond-shaped central pool of the decoy pond is approximately 40m x 30m, still holds water and is occupied by reeds. This is smaller than the earlier decoy pond which is closer to a square in plan. The later pond sits within this square and its four corner pipes are aligned towards the corners of the earlier pond. The later phases of single pipes are gently curved, retain water and range from approximately 25m to 40m in length and less than 5m in width. The banks are well preserved and range from 2m to 5m high. The earthworks of the former pipes at the north-east are mainly dry and those at the north-west and south-east corners are partially waterlogged from the vegetation, shorter and have a more exaggerated curve. The later pipe at the south-west corner now connects with a curvilinear channel labelled as a drain on the OS Maps. The pattern of creeks and channels beyond the decoy were clearly utilised to manage the water supply to and from the decoy. This is illustrated in the aerial photographs taken of the area and would have influenced the positioning of the decoys.

Extent of Monument
The scheduled area is roughly rectangular and situated within the present land boundaries and field drains. It comprises of c350m north-south by c300m east-west. It is defined to the north, east and south by the earthwork remains of the former and present pipes and boundary features. It is defined to the west by the curvilinear feature labelled as a drain which connects to the south-west pipe on the OS map. As the south-west pipe connects and appears to cross-over the drain, it is included within the scheduled area. A 2m buffer zone is applied around the extent of the site for added protection.

Fences and tracks are all excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath them is included. The surrounding land-drains are excluded from the scheduling.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The duck decoy pond at Halstow Marshes, dating from the late C17 with later phases of modification and use, is scheduled for the following principal reasons:

* Period: an early example of a decoy pond nationally, dating from the late C17, with clear evidence of later phases of use in the C18 and C19;

* Rarity: as a very rare example of a well-preserved, near-complete duck decoy and as the only surviving example of a decoy pond in the County of Kent;

* Survival: a two-phase decoy pond with well-preserved earthworks and buried remains of its earlier phase of use which survive very well;

* Documentation: the site is well-documented having been subject to research and aerial photographic survey, the decoy pond is included on historic OS Maps and records;

* Potential: there is high archaeological potential for buried structural remains such as revetments, pond-linings, wooden stake-holes, hoops within the central pools and along the pipes, leats and sluices. There is also a high potential for artefactual and waterlogged ecofactual remains in the form of wood, seeds, pollen, animal and insect remains.

Source: Historic England


Carpenter, E, 2014, Halstow Marshes Decoy Pond Archaeological Report, English Heritage Research Report Series no 17-2014
Heaton, A, 2001, Duck Decoys, Princess Risborough:Shire
Payne-Gallwey, R, 1886, The Book of Duck Decoys: Their Construction, Management and History, London:John Van Voorst
Robinson, K, 2004, Duck Decoys in Kent, Kent Archaeological Review 156, 125-128
Robinson, K, 2005, An Update on the search for Doug Squires and information on the duck decoy at High Halstow, Kent Archaeological Review 160, 234-236

Source: Historic England

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