Friday, October 25, 2019

The Gatherings. What it's all about...

The touring mobile hut is becoming a locally recognised symbol of The Gatherings. We thought it was time to recap on what it’s all about….

Corky? Jabba? Hutty McHut Face?... Whatever name you would give to it, the hut has been travelling around Pendle all summer and now into autumn, meeting people who live in the towns and villages that circle Pendle Hill, enabling conversations in and about the area and showing work by artists and projects that are currently underway, all connected to the Hill.
The hut was commissioned by In-Situ and designed and made by artist and architect Nick Wood of How About? Studio. The initial idea to create a mobile space that could travel around Pendle was inspired by they history of the area, from the itinerary of the early Quakers, as they moved through Pennine Lancashire in the 1760s to the Clarion Huts which toured this area preaching the early message of socialism, and also shepherds huts that reflect the position of humans working in the landscape.

The finished Pendle Mobile Hut

Cutting a distinct shape against a rapid changing sky, its textured brown cork surface representing the rugged peat on Pendle Hill; this mini, mobile Pendle Hill reminds us not only of the fixed (yet not static), dominating presence of its name sake, but also of the way the hill can be seen from so many of the surrounding locations and is an everyday focus that pops up daily in people’s conversations, views and memories. It is a marker of place, a carrier and witness to many personal and communal associations, shared histories and familiar folklore and cultural customs.

Pendle Mobile Hut in progress, courtesy Nick Wood 

The design of the hut evolved through series of consultations and research visits and also out of early scoping that In-Situ had done with students at Manchester School of Architecture. When Nick travelled to the area to research the design, he visited local craftspeople, manufacturers, museums and archives to find out about local materials, colours, techniques to plot the visual elements to capture the essence of Pendle Hill in a tow-able form. The hut will be on the road for the next 3 years, to be a base for artist residencies and the teams working around the hill to spread the word about their activities and to engage with local people and visitors.

Five Verses on Six Sacks of Earth, Courtesy Reece Straw 

What is The Gatherings? 

The Gatherings is the arts and people strand of the £2.4m Heritage Lottery Funded scheme, Pendle Hill Landscape Partnership, which is managed by Forest of Bowland AONB.
The Gatherings came about because of the recognition for the need to open up access to the the Pendle Hill Landscape and introduce artists and creative processes to explore the hill and its past, its ecosystems and the way people connect with it. As In-Situ, we are able to bring to the project our experience of working with people in place connecting people and re-positioning how we experience a place through art or artists interventions and processes, which often involve conversation, listening and working in response to these.
Through The Gatherings we are aiming to find longer term approaches and collaborations with artists and embedding artists into longer term programmes. Through differences in the way we commission artists, support the artistic process and encourage a slower, more embedded way of working in place, we are challenging the traditional ways that artists are commissioned to work in the landscape.
Rather than bring something to a place and say “this is art”, we aim to find better or more embedded ways to work with artists in the landscape that lead to more unexpected, subtle or meaningful interventions - and there is likely not be a visible permanent end result. This is challenging because it involves risk on both sides, as it is not always clear what the result or methods will be from the outset, and is a slow process involving investment of time in getting many people on board and talking and revising, honing ideas in a collaborative way.

Pendle Peat Pie 

Pendle Peat Pud

As we continue to work on The Gatherings for the next three years, we are interested in finding more extended ways of working in an interdisciplinary way, recognising the crossover in working processes between artists, ecologists and archaeologists. We also recognise the very real benefit of working outside of your own area, to enriched the conversation, pool knowledge and challenge ourselves to think beyond the obvious. By continuing to develop working in this way we aim to find more effective ways to explore our shared interest in the Pendle Hill landscape.

A few recent projects

Pendle Peat Pie- a culinary dish inspired by the peat restoration on Pendle Hill and to spread the word through food about the importance of peat
Embedding Artists into Landscape Projects- a symposium for artists and commissioning organisations about alternative collaborative approaches
Beyond the Dig- artist duo devise outdoor activities for children and young people exploring ‘What is an archaeologist in 2019?’
Five Verses on Six Sacks of Earth- a mobile micro opera created in response to a residency on an archaeological dig at Malkin Tower Farm.

What is an Archaeologist in 2019? Courtesy Lunchtime Practice

Since 2017, In-Situ has been working with Forest of Bowland AONB on the Pendle Hill Landscape Partnership. We deliver ‘The Gatherings’ strand of this £2.4 million Heritage Lottery Funded Project, which is part funded by Arts Council England. 

Friday, September 27, 2019

My year as the Graduate Trainee

Jessie, 2018-2019 Graduate Trainee for Pendle Hill Landscape Partnership

I don’t have long until my contract with the Pendle Hill Landscape Partnership is up, and what a year it has been! I have been the graduate trainee working on the Traditional Boundaries Project.

When I started, this project had hardly been touched and my first task was to produce a GIS map with some hedgerow and dry stone wall boundary data that was collected in 2016. This was a challenge in itself as I had forgotten how to use GIS after university!  It was a great excuse to learn more though and I have continued to use these skills throughout the year.
I went out visiting 25 different farms across the area, all part of the PHLP Farmer Network Group, to discuss hedgerows and walls. This was all new to me, and so I was a bit nervous at first, but after the first few farms I was happy to have a brew and discuss what the farmers want restoring. Our Traditional Boundaries project aims to have a positive effect on landscape and Natural Flood Management but of course we also want any restoration work to be beneficial to the farm on a practical level.

After initial discussions I was able to develop the boundary maps and then spent a time visiting and assessing every single boundary (about 360 of them!) so that we can develop a list of boundaries which can be restored as part of the Pendle Hill Landscape Partnership.
I have also helped 2 farmers apply to Hedgerow and Boundary grant schemes, a different pot of funding which will be beneficial to boundaries of their choice.

My biggest achievement to date has to be the organisation and delivery of the Lancashire and Westmorland Bowland hedgelaying Competition in March. This is an annual competition which is held across the Forest of Bowland, and we decided this year to host somewhere around the Hill. I couldn't have done this without the help of Dave Padley, who organises the competition (competitors, judges and prizes). I then developed the event further by involving local businesses and the local church hall. There was stalls, cake, a guided walk and lots of local people! All the money raised went back into the Sabden village economy and all agreed it was a great success!

Competitors at the Bowland hedgelaying competition
Inside Sabdden Church hall for the hedgelaying competition. 

Through this event, and other activities, I found my new call to fame and was interviewed a few times on BBC Radio Lancashire. I also sent out press releases to try and tell more people about the amazing work I have been doing, plus writing blogs.

Through my role, I was also lucky enough to join in with some of the PHLP training opportunities. As well as the planning and overseeing, I have got stuck in with a number of beginners hedgelaying and walling courses and managed to improve my skills. In August, I was one of 8 participants who passed their Level 1 Dry Stone Walling test (after 10 days of training in all weathers!).

We still have a few places on our next beginner's hedgelaying course at the beginning of October if you fancy it? Please get in touch via

Participants on the level 1 dry stone walling course. 

Dry stone walling course level 1.

Throughout the 12 months I have been lucky enough to meet some great people through our volunteering opportunities. I have been involved in planning and leading various volunteer tasks and have loved getting involved in the different conservation activities. We have just visited the Peak District with some of our volunteers to learn some new skills and to find out more about what the Dark Peak National Trust do.

Volunteers after Balsam pulling in Barley. 

Volunteers tree planting with the Ribble Rivers Trust

Participants on the hedge laying beginners course

The Pendle Hill Landscape Partnership is led by the Forest of Bowland AONB, which is in turn part of the EUROPARC Federation. Through this link, I was lucky enough to head to a 4 day conference in Germany which was focused on young people and looking at more ways of getting more young people into nature conservation. The trip was really useful, and I learnt a lot and was able to network with people from across Europe.

In my last few weeks before I leave, I am finishing two main projects:

Over the past few months I have been developing a guided route around the Downham area, producing information to be collated into a leaflet focused on the traditional boundaries. I will be launching this with a guided walk on Thursday 3rd October 10am from Downham Car Park. It would be great if you wanted to join me for this scenic 4 mile walk, and I will be talking more about the walls and hedgerows which are so important in our landscape.

Some of the views from the new Traditional Boundaries Downham walk

Some of the views from the new Traditional Boundaries Downham walk

To leave my final mark, I will be arranging the installation of some stone waymarkers at various points on the Hill. I have developed the idea and design of these to reassure people they are heading in the right direction when they reach the top of the hill. We would always recommend taking a map whenever you go for a walk up the hill – but hopefully these signs can reassure your map reading skills!

Thank you to everyone in the Pendle Hill Landscape Partnership team, I have thoroughly enjoyed this year working with you, and I have learnt so much which I can now use to progress on to the next step of my career.


Wednesday, August 21, 2019

End of Archaeology Internship 2019...

Danielle has now finished her internship with us- here she reflects over the past 8 weeks!

So that just about wraps it up for me this summer. I finished up my placement by attending Clitheroe Food Festival dressed as a Roman, joining some great family events in Nelson and Brierfield, and my own (fully booked) event at Pendle Heritage Centre in Barrowford. Thank you to everyone who came and I really hope you learned a lot about local archaeology and inspired a generation of new people to get into archaeology.

So, what was it all about?

My hopes for these sessions was to inspire interest in community archaeology, and hopefully break down the barriers that make it hard for people to get involved. I wanted to reach people of all ages and different backgrounds, and give them access to knowledge which will build their confidence and help them to feel comfortable exploring archaeology in the future.

My sessions were designed to show people there is more to archaeology than 'just digging', and that lots of different career backgrounds and skills are needed on an archaeological team. I did this by taking inspiration from different jobs and tasks that an archaeologist does, and reshape them into a fun, educational activity. I wanted to challenge preconceptions of archaeology and present it in a new way, proving that it is in fact a future-facing field which relies on, and encourages, public input.

For example, some of the sessions I delivered involved pottery and teaching participants how to make pinch pots and coil pots. These are techniques which have been used for thousands of years, and because many civilizations have created pottery, ceramic artefacts (or normally pieces of) make up a large percentage of artefacts found by archaeologists all over the world.

Other activities within some of the sessions included looking at how archaeologists interpret and read artefacts they find. We did this using our own rubbish and broken up pieces of modern pottery - no fancy archaeologist's technology, however the aims and engagement linked very strongly with how current archaeologists have to work.

I wanted to give people the opportunity to talk to professional and amateur archaeologists alike, and have sessions that involved the input of volunteers helping us put on the activities. Community archaeology aims to inspire people to find a place for them within archaeology, no matter their skills set, education, background or age.

I wanted to educate people about local heritage, build bridges between the past and today, and explain how archaeology is important in telling those stories and making those connections. I wanted to bring communities together under one share interest - archaeology.

Thank you very much to all the people who have participated in events, the volunteers who have helped out and the individuals who have worked with our sessions. I hope that those of you who did attend any of the sessions feel like you may want to get more involved in local archaeology or are more interested in the heritage of the Pendle Hill area.

If you are interested in getting more involved, the Pendle Hill Landscape Partnership deliver a number of training events and volunteer opportunities through their Community Archaeology project. Call 01200 420 420 or email to find out more. We are also lucky enough to have different local history groups in the area, many of which organise a schedule of talks throughout the year - ask around your local village to find out more information. Pendle Archaeology Group are based from the Pendle Heritage Centre and they offer a number of walks and talks, as well as practical archaeology. Look at their website to find out more about how to become a member -

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Community Archaeology in Action!

Our archaeology intern, Danielle is in the last few weeks of her placement - and she has had a busy time so far! Here she talks about some of her community archaeology sessions:

I have been delivering sessions to groups from different community services from the local area. I spent a day at the lovely Clarion House in Roughlee taking Young Carers on an archaeological journey after they'd had a morning of minibeast hunting in the garden with Alison from Ernest Cook Trust. They made prehistoric-style pots, matched Roman emperors to their coins, identified an industrial era object from broken pieces, and interpreted a pile of modern rubbish!

I took my clay and twigs to Whitehough Outdoor Centre where a group of Adult Carers came to create their own Prehistoric Pottery, too. With the help of UCLan tutor, Rick Peterson (and despite the rain!) they created some really great pots and learned about local archaeology, what inspires people to get into archaeology, and opportunities to get involved in future community archaeology events.

I have also worked with two People Enjoying Nature groups to bring them activities which go 'beyond the trench', demonstrating the other side of archaeology which is not just digging. One group took part in the Uncovering Archaeology journey but with an added emphasis on how each individual activity aimed to demonstrate a different part of archaeological research. The others learned how to spot 'invisible archaeology' by walking in the footsteps of Romans on the Roman road in Downham Village and took part in a discussion about the lack of in-depth archaeological research in the area. They then took part in Prehistoric Pottery making (a kind of experimental archaeology) and sorted and cleaned some real finds from local farm, Gazegil Dairies. 

I also worked with the artists-in-residence at In-Situ, Lunchtime Practice, to provide the inspiration and information for a Beginners Guide to Archaeology, as well as a certificate which went along with the Uncovering Archaeology activity. These Beginners Guides will be handed out at all my events, as well as (hopefully!) future community archaeology events hosted by Pendle Hill Landscape Partnership, and has a handy list on the back of local community projects and links to where people can find out about more Community Archaeology projects.

Into my final week now, and I have just one more session to deliver! Over the past few weeks we have been exploring 'What is Community Archaeology in 2019?' and 'What does an archaeologist look like?'. Through the sessions and guides we have created, I hopefully have shown people that there is a lot more to archaeology than just excavation, as well as how there are lots of different tools and technologies which are now used by different archaeologists. 

Please look out for my final blog post over the next few weeks!

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Danielle has joined us on an internship with UCLan. Follow her Community Archaeology Journey over the next few weeks...

For those of you who haven't heard, I am Danielle and this summer I have the privilege to work with the Pendle Hill Landscape Partnership as a Community Archaeology Intern. I'm going into my third year studying for a Masters of Science in Archaeology at the University of Central Lancashire in Preston having decided four years ago to change my career.

My role this summer involves planning activities and events around the Pendle Hill Landscape which explores the rich archaeological history of the area and highlight local opportunities for people to take part in community archaeology projects. With a focus on the locale and community involvement, I have been designing an array of different activities for different people to take part in.

With the help of Rebecca, the Community Archaeologist from NAA who works with Pendle Hill Landscape Partnership, Jayne from PHLP, and Alison from The Ernest Cook Trust, I was able to run an event at Portfield Hillfort on private land near Whalley as my first venture into public outreach.

Three high schools from the local area came in a series of sessions where they were able to handle real archaeological artefacts, take part in discussions about archaeology and career opportunities, and even use an app on a tablet to map part of the fort itself and explore the methods and techniques archaeologists use to recognise and identify 'invisible' archaeology.

It was a great experience, and I would like to thank all the volunteers who came to assist to put on this event, and I would like to thank the landowners for being so accommodating and allowing us to spend a day and a half in their back garden on one of the oldest known archaeological sites in Lancashire!

Over the next few weeks we will be hosting some more outreach sessions, introducing as many different local people to archaeology and showing that there is more to archaeology than just digging! Look out for us at the Clitheroe Food Festival on 10th August, and at the Pendle Parks Summer series events on 12th and 14th August. 

Stay tuned for more over the next few weeks!

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

This month's blog is by Faye Weatherall who has been working with Mid Pennine Arts who run our very successful Pendle Radicals project as part of the landscape partnership. 

Thank you Mid Pennine Arts!

Today is my last day volunteering at Mid Pennine Arts, having taken on the role as Project Assistant a year ago today in order to complete a year in Industry as part of my Art and Design degree at the University of Leeds, I just want to say a massive thank you to Mid Pennine Arts for such an amazing and worthwhile year!

I have absolutely loved being a part of the MPA team this last year, working with such lovely people who are all so amazing at what they do has been very special.
When I applied to extend my degree to four years at University so that I could complete a year in industry I never imagined that I would get so much out of it! 
Thank you for giving me so much confidence in what I enjoy doing.

I remember sitting down with Nick (Creative Director) during my first couple of months and speaking about what it was that I wanted to achieve whilst working at Mid Pennine Arts. 
After helping artist Cath Ford a few weeks prior, running some primary schools workshops, I said that by the end of my placement I wanted to be running such sessions myself and to have brought something new to MPA. Thanks to the brilliant team who have given me lots of responsibility and trust I have been able to achieve this.

Over the past few weeks for example I have been running my own project ‘Banners, Protests and Campaigning with a group of high school pupils and this week we celebrated their hard work with their own pop up exhibition. It was lovely to see the girls faces when they saw their work displayed and being viewed by members of the public, they have worked so hard and have listened so amazingly to the advice and support I have given them.

Helping out with this years Todmorden Treat, artist Cath Ford gave me the confidence to lead several sessions. Hearing and seeing the children really enjoy the sessions I was delivering was great, and I felt so confident interacting with them and helping them with what they were doing.

There have been many more highlights: Working alongside the brilliant Spodden Valley Revealed project manager Diana Hamilton in order to organise several events and seeing my proposal for ‘Character bags’ come to life has exceeded my expectations of what I would be doing as an intern. 
Helping to organise a very successful and sunny Burnley Canal Festival, embarking on various research trips and helping to source material for a huge exhibition which will be a part of the British Textiles Biennial. 
I was also really happy to be asked to work with the lovely Greenways Project Manager Shonagh Short to interview artists for a new commission. Working with such a range of partners and community members has been so valuable.

My time at Mid Pennine Arts has also encouraged me to take on further volunteering at a local women’s refuge, I feel so lucky to have had this experience and work with such strong and inspiring women.
I could continue on about all of the other fabulous things I have been involved in and the opportunities I have been given, but more importantly I want to say a massive thank you to everybody at Mid Pennine Arts and everybody else I have worked with, for making this my best year yet! 
A special thank you of course to Nick and Melanie for being fantastic hosts, it has been brilliant to work alongside you both and despite being dressed as an explorer many times I still want to work in the Arts!

Thursday, May 30, 2019

A view from Downham

By Hon R.C. Assheton, chair of the Pendle Hill Landscape Partnership

After the years of planning, discussion, form filling (and occasional disappointments), it is fantastic that the PHLP has got off to such a flying start in its first year. I will not attempt to go through all the projects that have gone on, as Cathy and her team have produced regular reports for the HLF and you can access them at here if you want more detail. I will just touch on a few things that have enthused me.

Pendle Hill itself was always going to be a prime focus for works, with the benefits and projects rippling out from there. Therefore the improvements to the “Cart Track” route to the summit, the ancillary works to the paths leading up to the Trig point and the peat restoration have been an impressive start and an emphatic demonstration that something is happening at last.

Having, for years, been one of those who looks at Pendle every day, but hardly ever climbs it, I seem to have been up at least once each month for the last year. Not being a great fan of steps, I think that the repaired Cart Track is a great improvement. 

You can stride (or tiptoe) as you please, with plenty of room to walk as a pair and pass others easily

The new stone shelter in the wall near the summit is a blessing to the unfit such as me!
The drainage bars work well (I have been up in storms to check), so there is no longer a river on the path to contend with on rainy days. The restored peat is already looking natural once more and will only improve with another year’s growth.

Drainage bar on the cart track

Being a tree enthusiast, I am very happy that the WINNS project has been able to plant so many trees in new woods around the flanks of the hill. Although it is a sometimes depressing time to be a tree grower as diseases seem to try to kill every species, it is a joy to see so many varied native trees being planted for future generations to enjoy.

The 'Big Tree Plant' 2018, at Swardean Clough

I was fascinated to visit the “Malkin Tower” archaeological dig last summer. The fact that it was possible to find traces of habitation from four hundred years ago seems incredible, as was the fact that students from the USA wanted to come to sunny Lancashire to spend their vacation.

The PHLP Board members visit Malkin Tower, Summer 2018

A chance conversation I had two years ago with the CEO of The Ernest Cook Trust (ECT) has led to the appointment of Alison Cross as an ECT funded Education Officer for the PHLP. Though this was not in the original plans presented to the HLF, the fact that the ECT wanted to join the partnership has been a wonderful boost and has added a huge amount to the value of a number of the projects in the Scheme.

All in all the first year has been a great success. Well done team!