A desk-top survey was carried out, and concentrated initially on cartographic sources, particularly on successive editions of Ordnance Survey maps; Tithe and Enclosure documents; and any estate or farm maps. Aerial photographs held by the National Park Authority, by Northumberland County Council and by the University of Newcastle were also consulted. Because of the constraints of time and the necessity of using any weather suitable for fieldwork, parts of the desk-top study were carried out only after the completion of field recording. Information from Parish, farm and estate records was collected to allow historical overviews of the origins and development of the farms and other holdings represented by the boundary features.
Information was compiled in as great detail as possible of the geology of the survey areas and of areas adjacent to them. A note was made of any former quarry which might have been a source of walling stone, either as shown on early maps or as later observed during fieldwork.
A note was made of all likely direct physical relationships between the traditional boundary features and other known historic and archaeological sites, in order that they could be checked in the field.
Copies of maps and other particularly significant documents were acquired for inclusion in the final project report and archive.
During fieldwork, the whole length of each of the historic boundary features was walked and examined: wherever possible, one person looked at each side of the wall or other boundary, though this was not always possible. This field survey was not entirely confined to the boundaries themselves, but allowed also for the recording of any other feature in direct relationship to a boundary. Lengths of boundary were studied in sections. Each section was numbered sequentially and section numbers changed at every point where the boundary under study mad a significant change in alignment and direction.
All changes of walling style or material were recorded, as were all junctions between boundaries, and all wall furniture (orthostats, stiles, gates, smoots, hogg-holes, bields, troughs, etc.). General attention was paid to the possibility of re-used masonry or other material.
A photographic record, in line with the Standard Procedures of the Brigantia Archaeological Practice, was made of all wall types: wherever possible, all junctions and all wall furniture and other features were photographed. Identical 35mm Olympus Single Lens Reflex Cameras were used for the main record, one loaded with colour slide film (Agfa 200ASA) and the other with film for black-and-white prints (Ilford 125 ASA film was initially used, but poor light conditions prompted a change to 400 ASA). A digital camera was also used to supply back-up images: it is these which appear in this report, while the main photographic record will be deposited with the project archive. Unless physically impossible, a two-metre ranging pole was included in every photograph.
Boundaries and sections of boundaries, with all associated detail, were recorded on a pro forma sheet, based upon the system used by the National Trust. All fields of information used on the National Trust sheet were included, and additional fields used by the Dry Stone Wall Association were also added. After initial experience of bad weather which made the process of compiling paper records very slow and difficult, the practice was adopted of recording in the field onto a hand-held voice recorder, for later transcription.
All recorded features were accurately located as a 10-figure National Grid Reference by means of a hand-held instrument using the Global Positioning System.
All information recorded was also transcribed to a digital database, using Microsoft Access. This forms part of the project archive which is held at Northumberland National Park headquarters in Hexham.