Dispersed plans comprise loose clusters of buildings with no evidence for formal planning and often no clear principal yard area. Around one third of High Weald farmsteads have developed as dispersed plans. The highest proportion of early pre-1750 buildings survive on dispersed plans and their variants, and they will contain important historical evidence for the development of farmsteads.
Open views from the surrounding landscapes into the farmsteads, because the buildings typically face in different directions and sometimes onto two or more access points.
- Working buildings are generally ranged alongside routeways leading into the farmstead, face into their own yard areas or face into areas shared by other buildings.
- Dispersed Plans are often dissected by public rights of way which provide access into the heart of the farmstead.
- No clear distinction between private and public spaces, because buildings rarely face into any principal yard area.
- Piecemeal development with buildings of different dates.
- The farmhouse can be placed to one side or within the main group.
- Often one or more cottages for labourers or extended family members forms part of the group.
- Larger examples of Dispersed Plans can be spread over a large area.
Dispersed plans display an enormous variation in their scale and pattern. The major types identified in the High Weald are:
- Dispersed Clusters. Clusters of loosely-arranged buildings comprise the basic building block of farmsteads in the Weald. The smallest clusters of house and barn are most strongly representative of the development of the majority of small Wealden farms up to the 18th century.they can also comprise very extensive groups of buildings, including rows of linked buildings.
- Dispersed Multi-yard plans. These can be large in scale, and comprise steadings which are dispersed in their overall form but include two or more clusters of buildings, typically piecemeal in their development, which are arranged around and usually face into working yards.They can also contain short rows of linked buildings.
- Regular Multi-Yard plans. These can also be large in scale, and are distinguished by the regular layouts of the multiple yards.
- Dispersed Driftway plans. These are arranged along wide driftways or tracks and may include buildings with small yard areas, short rows of linked buildings and free-standing buildings.