first farmers

Around 6,000 years ago wandering hunter-gathers would have started to settle down in small groups, clearing woodland and scrub to creating farms, growing crops and tending livestock. There is evidence that people around Cranbrook were eating a mixture of wild foods, things like hazelnuts, acorns and crab apples, and farmed cereal grains, such as barley and emmer wheat.


One thing that made clearing land possible for these early farmers was the use of stone axes. Two beautiful axe heads dating from 5-6,000 years ago were found only a few miles from Cranbrook. They include one found at Aylesbeare made from local flint and one found near Broadclyst which is made from stone from West Cornwall. They both would have taken craftsmen hundreds of hours to polish into shape and hone to a razor sharp edge.

Images © Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery