September saw volunteers soaking up success as the fruits of their labours for Reflections on History were shared. Archaeologists from the National Trust and the National Park reported the fantastic findings from the year’s survey work. From reports packed with archive material, photographs, plans and maps volunteers learnt that they’d surveyed 7 woods, 314 hectares and identified 452 new never before recorded sites including: 267 charcoal burning platforms; 10 barkpeelers huts; 9 potash kilns; 69 woodland trackways; 1 bark barn; a range of quarries, boundaries, and other features, all in 3 weeks! Photos of Spring sunshine also reminded them of the fun they had of working alongside each other and professional archaeologists.
Woods weren’t the only features to get the survey treatment. Historically the flowing waters of many rivers and becks powered hammers essential to the ‘fulling’ or washing and felting of sheep’s fleece. This meant fulling mills were in spectacular locations – great for volunteers as they surveyed mills on Sourmilk Gill (Easedale), Loughrigg Terrace (Grasmere), and Stickle Ghyll (Great Langdale). The remains of all these long lost industries, vital to understanding the Lake District’s cultural heritage, were brought to life through the survey results and presentations which helped us peek into the lives of men, women and children who once lived and worked in these beautiful places. All the findings were also shared with a wider audience at the Lake District Annual Archaeological Conference in October.
Next year we’ll be surveying mining and quarrying sites. If you’re interested get in quick because this year’s volunteers are already signing up!
Based on article written by Alison Ewin our volunteer Roving Reporter