The area to the south of the Gipping valley has an undulating landscape which had (and still has) a high potential for arable farming in pre-modern times, while to the north the landscape is much flatter and less well-drained, making it more suited to pasture and dairy farming.
The ‘Gipping divide’ has also been recently recognised as being a significant historic cultural boundary. The areas on either side differ in the proportion of land formerly held in common fields, in the way their vernacular buildings were constructed and laid out, in their terminology for common pasture and woods and in their inheritance customs (for more detail, see: E. Martin & M. Satchell, Wheare most Inclosures be. East Anglian Fields: History, Morphology and Management, East Anglian Archaeology 124, 2008). The patterns seen in south Suffolk extend into Essex and those in north Suffolk extend into Norfolk, indicating that this was a boundary of regional importance that has a greater cultural significance than the existing county boundaries.