Devon County Council's Environment Viewer is a powerful tool for examining the changes to Devon's landscapes over the last 180 years. The Environment Viewer has 11 different maps, starting with Tithe maps from the 1840s, through early Ordnance Survey maps, 1946 RAF aerial photograph, to recent aerial photographs and modern OS maps. Information can be overlaid on these maps: Contours, Ecology and Geology, Water and Air Quality, Flood Risk, Historic Environment, Landscapes, Planning, Public Access, and Administrative Boundaries. This article gives a brief guide to using DCC's Environment Viewer for researching local history.
The first houses in the new town of Cranbrook were completed in 2012 and a new town council was created in the 2015 council elections. Before that time the fields and farms were part of Broadclyst parish, near the boundaries of Rockbeare, Whimple and Clyst Honiton. You can open the Environment Viewer on Cranbrook using the following link:
Tick the box to say that you agree to the terms and conditions.
The Environment Viewer opens showing the Public Access layer on the colour Ordnance Survey base map. Left-click on the Legend tab in the top right to see information about the active layers.
You can also left click on highlighted areas of the map find out more information. On this map you will see that land is owned by the Killerton and Rockbeare estates.
Left-click on the Layer List tab in the top right, un-tick the Public Access layer. Open the AdminBoundaries layers by left-clicking the arrow to the left of its tick box. Tick AdminBoundaries and Parish. This will show the parish boundaries as blue lines on the map. Left click on any feature in the map to see which parish it is part of.
Open Historic Environment layer and tick Historic Environment, Scheduled Monuments, and Listed Building. There are no Scheduled Monuments in Cranbrook but there are two listed structures.
Listed buildings and other structures are shown on the map as small red triangles. Left-click on these for more information and a link to their Historic England listing. Tillhouse Farmhouse was burnt down in 2015 and discussions continue about its fate. Rockbeare Bridge was repaired in 1681 and 1790 and by-passed before 1946.
Left-click on Base Maps in the top-right corner. Here you can choose from 11 different maps. Left-click on Tithe Mosaic to bring up digitised copies of Devon's tithe maps (More information can be found here Tithe Maps and Apportionments )
You can see that there are gaps in some of the maps resulting from poor preservation. Maps are also have variations in colour, you can see that parts of Cranbrook were originally in Clyst Honiton or Whimple. The boundary between Broadclyst and Rockbeare is not so easily seen.
Left-click on the + symbol in the top-left to zoom in. Move the map by left-hold and drag. Zoom and move until you can see the red dots of Tillhouse Farm and Rockbeare Bridge on the righ of the view and the three sets of farm building to the left.
In the Layer-list, un-tick AdminBoundaries. Tick Digitised Tithe Map polygons and Tithe polygons. Left click of the map to find out more details about each field.
Early Ordnance Survey Maps