A community heritage project connecting South Pennine residents with their woodlands has culminated with the publication of a book.
The History and Archaeology of Woodlands in the South Pennines, which is available to download for free online, marks the end of Celebrating our Woodland Heritage
The project, funded by the Newground Together (part of Together Housing Group), National Lottery Heritage Fund, Yorkshire Water and the Green Bank Trust, supported over three years of community archaeological investigations, forest schools, festivals, workshops and a conference across the South Pennines.
Working in partnership with the School of Archaeological and Forensic Sciences at University of Bradford, 38 woodlands across the South Pennines have been investigated. These have included Towneley Woods in Burnley, Healey Dell Woods in Rochdale, Honley Woods in Kirklees and North Dean Woods in Elland.
The results will not only be used to update the regional Historic Environment Records but also to inform landowners of heritage assets held by them, the significance of these assets and how best to manage them. Reporting is ongoing but 1,300 features of archaeological significance have been recorded to date.
Christopher Atkinson, Heritage and Landscape Development Manager at Pennine Propsects, said: “Not only are these surveys benefitting the historic record, they are significantly beneficial to the local community, offering individuals and families new insight into the history of the area and raising awareness of the importance of ‘their woodland’ in relation to the wider South Pennines.”
In partnership with Newground, NatureEd, LiveWild, Tinderwood Trust and KidzArcaeology, the project has completed 289 forest school workshops across the South Pennines, working with 4,700 schoolchildren.
In addition to funding a Woodland Heritage Officer, Newground Together has helped facilitate eight forest school training events, resulting in over 80 adults achieving a qualification to Level 1 Forest School Practitioner.
Over 280 volunteers have also been recruited and trained in archaeological survey and excavation techniques.
Belle Paterson Community Development Officer at Newground Together added: “The woodlands of the South Pennines have a fascinating story to tell and can inspire, educate and entertain.
“Connecting communities with the natural environment can build a sense of appreciation of how it can impact on our lives including climate change, loss of biodiversity and flooding.
“Spending time in the natural environment can also boost health and wellbeing and projects like this can foster a great sense of belonging and community pride.”
Once the pandemic situation has improved, there will be a celebration event. Keep an eye on www.celebrate-our-woodland.co.uk for more information.
The History and Archaeology of Woodlands in the South Pennines has been compiled by Christopher Atkinson, Pennine Prospects & Hywel Lewis, School of Archaeological and Forensic Sciences, University of Bradford. It is available to download for free from www.celebrate-our-woodland.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Celebrating_Our_Woodland_Heritage_OCT_2020_FINAL-SMALL.pdf