About 28,000 years ago, the last Ice Age came to an end. As the weather got warmer and the ice sheets covering Britain and the northern hemisphere melted, migrating sea birds dropped seeds onto the boulder clay, sands and gravels dumped by the retreating ice. Vegetation eventually took hold and plant succession led to the whole of the country being covered in temperate forest and grasses. Coniferous generally dominated the norOleythern uplands or the poorer sandy soils as in this area. Deciduous trees took over in the south on the lower, heavier soils. Animals followed and with the abundance of fruits and seeds in the woods, fish in the rivers and streams of glacial meltwaters, the area was gradually settled by the prehistoric hunters and gatherers from Europe.
The major routeways of these ancient peoples was easiest along the river valleys but a safer way was a trackway along the hill or ridge tops. Here thinner soils supported less trees and made access and defence easier. This area of the Great Ouse Valley was a natural north-south corridor and evidence of neolithic settlement has been found within it as well as the surrounding slopes and hilltops. The ridge of Upper Cambridge Greensand which dominates this area has its peak at Sandy Hills and was the site of what is thought to be an Iron Age hill fort. The heavy Oxford clay and the numerous gravel deposits of the valley floor provided a variety of agricultural land for the first settlers. But first the forest had to be cut down.
Flint was the major cutting tool in the days and one such implement was unearthed just south of Everton by the junction of Potton Road with Everton Heath Road. (TL 208508; Beds. Arch.SMR 14657) Cutting down the forest to create clearings for crops and pasture would have continued over the centuries. Trees were cleared not just to create arable or pasture land but also for heating, cooking, building materials, fences, tools, weapons, carts etc. Whilst this flint may have been dropped by a passing traveller there is archaeological evidence suggesting there was an early settlement about 400 metres to the east on the site of the present Burford Farm. (O.S.209512) It has been suggested that that this may have been the first site of Potton. Perhaps there was once a spring there but, over the centuries the water table gradually dropped and once the trees on the Heath were cut down the settlement moved two kilometres southeast to Potton's present site near the brook.
However, there is considerable archaeological evidence of pre-Roman agricultural communities in Everton. Several prehistoric hut circles or enclosures have been located from aerial photographs along the northwestern slopes of the Greensand Ridge as well as on the ridge top. These have not been excavated so it is difficult to determine their dates exactly. (Beds. Archaeology Dept. SMR 13622,13640,13649,13650) Field walking might reveal further evidence of these early settlements which would probably have been accommodation for extended family units. However, at least two thousand years of subsequent farming have obliterated most of these sites. All of them were sited very close to fresh water springs. As the trees in the valley were cut down these early peoples created larger and larger clearings in the woods. These gave them greater control of access up the slope from the valley below as well as along the ridge top track. Whether the many ponds along the edge of the ridge date from pre-Roman times is again unknown. One would imagine they were dug out to increase and improve water supply. These ponds, the hut circles and the flint confirm that Everton has had a long history of agricultural use.