Cumbria Crack

Uncovering our Woodland Heritage

Volunteers surveyers (c) LDNP

[C]oppiced over many centuries, the extensive woodlands between Coniston Water and Lake Windermere once provided hundreds of jobs and fuelled a large part of the local economy.

This activity has created a wealth of historic features which tells the tales of past working lives in the woods.

The hidden secrets of these woods are gradually being discovered as a part of the Rusland Horizons Landscape Partnership Scheme.

Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the scheme is carrying out a range of projects to learn about, enhance and enjoy the heritage, habitats and wildlife of this quiet and very special place. The woodland archaeology surveys, led by the Lake District National Park, form one of the projects.

There are at least 700 hectares of woodland that have not yet been surveyed so this spring the Lake District National Park are working with Northern Archaeology Associates, landowners and volunteers to identify and record the location and condition of archaeological features.

Surveying a Smoot Hole (C) LDNP

Lead Strategy Adviser: Historic Environment, Eleanor Kingston says “this is a wonderful opportunity to get out in the woodlands and discover our industrial heritage. Last year we recorded 272 new woodland sites including charcoal burning platforms, huts, trackways and walls.” All the information is being recorded in the Lake District Historic Environment Record.

Rusland Horizons Scheme Manager, Marian Jones says; “Volunteering with the project is a great way to learn about local history, meet other people and gain survey skills. We will be undertaking 4 weeks of archaeological survey from 5 – 23 March and 16 – 20 April (not including weekends) and need volunteers to help us.

“No experience is necessary as you will get training from professional archaeologists as you go along.”

The 2018 programme launches with a presentation evening on Wednesday 28 February, 7.00pm – 9.00pm at the Outback Hall, Haverthwaite. This informal evening is an opportunity to hear about the fascinating results from the 2017 survey, meet the team, find out about this year’s programme and, if you’d like to be involved, book your place on some survey days.

For more information and to book your place for the presentation evening and / or survey days please visit and go to ‘What’s On’.

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