Interactive Guide Brings South Pennines To Life

Posted: 9.11.12

Spotters Guide

Archaeology enthusiasts and walkers will be able to explore features in the South Pennines landscape, from burial mounds to prehistoric stone carvings with the aid of a new interactive Spotters’ Guide.

Written by Louise Brown, community archaeologist with rural regeneration company Pennine Prospects, the 30-page interactive guide offers everyone an opportunity to explore the many features clearly evident in the local landscape.

Earthworks and stone features are broken down in the guide into different categories, such as barrows, cairns, carved rocks and hut circles, which are then explained in more detail. By visiting sites in the South Pennines and matching them up to the features described in the guide budding archaeologists may be able to tell if what they see on the ground are the remnants of military activity, mining, transport links, or earlier prehistoric activity.

And by investigating the landscape, clues might show how an area may have appeared very different from the tranquil place it is today, as Louise explained: “In the past the upland area was a very noisy and busy place. There were quarries being worked, reservoirs being built, and navvy villages for those working here. Some people were living in small cottages, farming, and often traders would be travelling across the landscape using pack-horse trails.

“The stone for the houses in the valleys would have come from these places so people today are more closely linked to the uplands and the people who worked and lived here than they may think.

“The guide is available on the internet; and it’s free. Hopefully it will encourage people to go out into the landscape and to explore its lumps and bumps. This is just a starting point for people to engage with this landscape, which has changed so much over thousands of years,” added Louise, who is working as part of the Watershed Landscape project team.

The guide is only the first step as Louise is hoping that people visiting these archaeologically interesting sites, which are scattered across the South Pennines, will then photograph them to help build an online record.

“We are taking part in the national Geograph project, which aims to collect and publish photographs of every square kilometre of Britain,” said Louise. “So when you find something interesting in the landscape, why not photograph it, post it online and become part of this expanding community of landscape detectives. You may start a conversation about your find and it doesn’t matter if someone else has taken a photograph of the same feature as things look different at different times of year, or even different times of the day.

“Hopefully this guide will encourage people to go exploring their local landscape and the Geograph project will bring it all together. There’s a wealth of information out there as landscape archaeology is such a vast subject, and it’s accessible, but there are some things that we will never know what they are.”

The Spotters’ Guide can be downloaded from the project pages of the heritage section of the Watershed Landscape website.

Photographs, with ordnance survey grid references, of sites in the South Pennines can also be uploaded to the Geograph project via the Watershed Landscape website.

Funding for the Watershed Landscape project is provided by the Heritage Lottery Fund, and the South Pennines LEADER programme, (the Rural Development Programme for England), which is jointly funded by Defra and the European Union, and managed by Pennine Prospects.

Yorkshire Water United Utilities Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council National Farmers Union
South Pennines Association Lancashire County Council Pennine Heritage Kirklees Council Calderdale Council
Bradford District Council Northern Rail Natural England Environment Agency The National Trust