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A sequence of settlement patterns from prehistoric to late medieval and early post-medieval times has been established through fieldwalking in three parishes: Loddon, Hales and Heckingham. The documentary evidence has also been reviewed. In all periods, settlement favoured the areas of lighter soils though much of the landscape of all three parishes appears to have been exploited. Fluctuations and changes in the density and distribution of settlement over the centuries are described and analysed.