High Weald

loose court yard Loose Courtyard plans are a major characteristic of High Weald farmsteads, representing 45% of mapped farmsteads. They comprise farmsteads whose working buildings - primarily the barn and cattle housing - are focused on a cattle yard, with buildings on one or more sides. Some of these plans may have developed from earlier Dispersed Cluster plans.

 Plan characteristics

  • Timber-framed barns are the dominant building of loose courtyard plans and are usually accompanied by cow sheds and/or a stable. Loose courtyard plans with two barns are rare.
  • Buildings typically face into cattle yards, the external elevations having few if any openings.
  • Public rights of way often pass close by but rarely cut through loose courtyard farmsteads allowing a greater degree of privacy and coherence than many dispersed plan farmsteads.
  • Smaller and ancillary buildings set away from the yard are common - particularly oast houses, stables and cartsheds facing towards routes and tracks.


  • Loose courtyards with working buildings to one or two sides of the yard are the most common arrangements of the Loose Courtyard type found in the High Weald, reflecting the historically small farm size of this area. These have the highest surviving proportions of early pre-1750 buildings.
  • Farmsteads with working buildings to all four sides of the yard are rare (41 recorded). The recorded examples are concentrated in the western half of the High Weald.
  • There is a small percentage of L-plan variants, typically with a shelter shed for cattle attached to a barn with other detached buildings facing into the yard.