Over 21st – 22nd January 2015, a programme of community field-walking was undertaken on a field immediately west of the church in the village of Covehithe in Suffolk. The fieldwalking was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of the Touching the Tide programme along the Suffolk coast and enabled 36 local residents and volunteers living in the surrounding area to take part in the fieldwalking which was supervised by Access Cambridge Archaeology at the University of Cambridge.
Although only one field was walked during the survey a number of inferences can be made from the results. The earliest evidence is a thin scatter of worked flint dating from the Mesolithic period through the Neolithic and into the Bronze Age. Romano-British settlement is hinted at by the volume of pottery found during field-walking, possibly associated with a linear feature which may be a road sited to the north of the survey area. The settlement appears to have been founded in the middle Anglo-Saxon period and grew vigorously in the later Anglo-Saxon period. The settlement was at its peak during the medieval period, and saw little in the way of any decline after the Black Death. In the post-medieval period the community east of the church may have migrated westwards onto the field-walked area in the face of coastal erosion, but by the 19th century settlement west of the church was in decline, thinned out to leave just a couple of cottages.
The field-walking successfully engaged a large number of volunteers from the local area. In response to feedback after the two days, 100% of the volunteers rated the fieldwalking as either good or excellent, with 94% stating the days were excellent. A further 88% of people responded saying that they felt more engaged with their heritage than before; and 97% would recommend the experience to others.