Woodland Archaeology Festival offers hands-on history

Posted: 17.05.17

The mysteries of the industrial revolution and beyond will be revealed in the Woodland Archaeology Festival in Hardcastle Crags this June.

Everyone is invited to get involved in this hands-on free week-long event, which runs from Saturday, June 10 to Sunday, June 18 at the National Trust property.

Throughout the week there will be a Community Archaeological Excavation of a charcoal burning platform; booking is essential. And on Saturday June 10 to Sunday, June 11 and Saturday, June 17 to Sunday, June 18, there will also be Experimental Archaeology Weekends, where people will be able to discover and help with the historic process of charcoal production, the smelting of iron, prehistoric pot making and traditional woodland crafts.

Organised by Chris Atkinson, the Woodland Heritage Officer, the event is a wonderful opportunity for families and anyone interested in the woodlands and their heritage to find out how they have been used and developed throughout history. Chris explained: “During the week we will undertake a Community Archaeological Excavation of one of the many charcoal burning platforms, which we found across Hardcastle Crags as part of the surveys undertaken earlier this year.

“The investigation aims to shed light on how these features were constructed and used in the past. Using multiple archaeological techniques, will it be possible to date when the charcoal burning platform was constructed? How often was it used? When did it go out of use? What type of wood did they use? Did the tree species in the woodland change over time? What was the environment like before charcoal production began?”

Chris added: “The excavation is open to the public, but prior booking to volunteer is essential. The weekend of June 10 and 11 is already booked up. As part of the excavation, experience in excavation techniques, soil sampling, surveying, recording and planning are all on offer. The excavation will last from Saturday, June 10 and end Sunday, June 18.

“Even if you haven’t booked onto the excavation on the first weekend there’s still plenty to do and see so please pop along,” Chris added.

To get involved email Chris at: Chris.Atkinson@pennineprospects.co.uk

The Woodland Archaeology Festival is part of the Celebrating Our Woodland Heritage Project, a three year project to promote this valuable historical resource to help protect it for future generations. The project is funded through the Heritage Lottery Fund (£400,000), with contributions from the Newground Together Trust (£60,000), the Green Bank Trust (£16,500) and Yorkshire Water (£20,000), and managed by Pennine Prospects, the organisation working in and for the South Pennines.

For more information about the project please visit www.celebrate-our-woodland.co.uk or contact Chris on 07582 101 691 or at chris.atkinson@pennineprospects.co.uk or robin.gray@pennineprospects.co.uk

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