Friday, July 10, 2020

Building a bridleway: a Trainee's story

Dom Hartley is currently employed by the landscape partnership as a graduate trainee. Joining us with a Masters degree in Conservation and land Management, Dom is working closely with our Access officer on a number of sites to learn about path construction techniques as well as gaining experience in contract and project management. Here is his blog:

The new Chatburn-Downham Concessionary Bridleway

As many of you will have noticed, either through following our social media channels or from travelling along the Chatburn Road to/from Downham in the last 6 months, work has been on-going to create a new bridleway connecting the two villages. Previously walkers, cyclists and horse-riders had no choice but to use the road if they wished to travel from Chatburn to Downham, which was a somewhat unsettling prospect given that vehicles are permitted to travel up to 60mph there.

The Pendle Hill Landscape Partnership, with the support of the Heritage Fund, the Forest of Bowland AONB and the Downham Estate, are happy to announce the opening of the Chatburn-Downham bridleway which will provide the public with a safe and scenic route between the villages.

Early stages

Those of you familiar with the Chatburn and Downham areas will also be familiar with the prevalence of Roman history in the area. An old Roman road is speculated to exist, buried, in the vicinity of Downham/Rimington, a small section of which could potentially have overlapped with the proposed line for the new bridleway. Therefore, before any work could begin, we asked Greenlane Archaeology Ltd to survey the site to prevent any damage to any valuable archaeological evidence from Roman times. The survey took place in early February 2020; as many of you will no doubt remember the weather that month left a lot to be desired.

A top layer of turf and soil is carefully removed in order for the survey to begin

During a break in the hail, which was detrimental to visibility, archaeologists begin to examine the earth for signs of the old Roman road

After an extensive investigation on site, the archaeologists determined that the proposed depth of the bridleway works would not cause any damage to the old Roman surface, which likely lies just outside of the new track or deep enough beneath it that the work would not cause any damage.

The new route also runs close to a number of trees. Where ground works are located close to trees, protection of the roots must be considered. Forester and Tree Surgeon Richard Davis was retained to survey the area and calculate 'Root Protection Areas', which are used to determine the amount of protective material required to lay over tree roots to prevent subsequent ground works from damaging them. Terram and Geocell were used which ensures the continuation of essential air and water flow to roots and helps to distribute the weight of stone evenly, and this was installed below all sections of the bridleway where tree root protection had been identified as necessary.

Terram Geocell is visible in this picture. The roots of the tree on the left-hand side of the picture extend underneath the line of the new bridleway, and are therefore protected by use of the geotextile. Track material is then spread on top of it, ensuring both tree root well-being and a secure, comfortable surface to walk on

Construction Begins

Following the laying of geotextile in the relevant areas, ground works began in earnest. An area of ground was identified to ensure that enough space was afforded for a 3m wide track, comfortable for two-way traffic, with a further 2m of area suitable to support a hedgerow. A fence has been installed down the entire length of the new bridleway in order to protect and isolate the livestock in the adjacent field.

Initial work was slowed by the huge amount of rainfall we experienced in February; the machines needed for construction could not safely navigate such waterlogged ground without risking lasting damage to turf and soil. However, after the ground had dried in early March fast progress was made by Charlie Yirrell and his company CPY Excavations, beginning first on the 500m stretch from Chatburn to Greendale View Kitchen. The line of the bridleway, previously decided in consultation with the landowner, was excavated and a solid stony foundation was laid. Further aggregate was spread on top of the foundations then rolled flat. Subsequent good weather has baked the new track, creating a sturdy surface for foot, bike and hoof traffic.

Working carefully around standing trees, contractors lay a surface to create the bridleway

Heavy and sustained rainfall makes life difficult for machine operators; in addition to concerns about causing damage to the surface, the waterlogged ground makes driving machines difficult and unsafe

The extended good weather through April and May allowed for the making up of time lost in February. Then another curveball, the Covid-19 lockdown (from late March 2020), threatened to further slow construction. However, CPY Excavations quickly adapted safe, socially-distant work plans and risk assessments, and good progress was made regardless. By April, bridleway construction moved well into the second 500m stretch, from Greendale View Kitchen towards Downham.

Meticulous work on behalf of the contractors transformed a previously waterlogged field into a neat and even track. The verges were carefully left untouched, so that spring and summer growth will quickly cover any indication of recent works and help the bridleway to blend into the area 

By mid-May, track-work was complete and a new hedge, planted and watered through the drought by Ralph Assheton, is in position along the vast majority of the bridleway. Finishing touches were applied along the route, such as mounting blocks for horses, the installation of boulders for seating and a water-trough for thirsty horses. 

The final works required to make the bridleway a fully legal and safe was the installation of a series of gates along the bridleway where the track nears an exit to the road. You may spot the gates and at first be surprised by their spatial situation; they do not, after all, meet and form a barrier as normal gates would. In addition to prevent any attempted vehicular use of the bridleway, the main purpose of the gates is to create a holding area a safe distance from the road, where horse riders can see passing cars easily (and vice versa) before deciding to proceed from the bridleway onto the road. Additionally, when viewed head-on, the two separate gates will appear to a horse to be a single closed barrier, which will prevent any spooked animal from bolting into the road.

A safe distance from the road, the gates create a chicane which affords horse riders and drivers more chance to see each other before a crossing is attempted. Photograph by Graham Cooper.

From a distance, a horse will perceive the gates as a single obstruction across the track, preventing any bolting which may lead to a road traffic accident. Photograph by Graham Cooper.

As of mid-June 2020, the Chatburn-Downham bridleway is officially open to the public. We would like to encourage the safe and considerate use of the new route. Please stick to the track to protect the young hedgerow, pick up after your dog and take any litter home with you.  Please enjoy the bridleway safely!

Images by Graham Cooper

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

72 Seasons: how connecting to nature helps our mental health

 72 Seasons is part of our 'What's a Hill Worth?' project which seeks to understand the value our landscape provides to society, in this case, to our sense of well-being. 

Particularly during this time of lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more people are finding that noticing nature, and especially the wonderful arrival of Spring life, can bring us joy and inspiration.

In this brief blog, the 72 Seasons co-ordinator Kirsty Rose-Parker reflects on the first few months of nature watching with participants, and how they have responded. You can see the rest of the article and the rest of the seasons here:

72 seasons is a year-long research project, to measure how being more connected to nature makes us feel. We do that through working with a team of volunteer seasonal seekers. We have planned a whole year where the seasons change every 4 or 5 days, originally inspired by the ancient natural calendar in Japan. Trying to notice the changes in nature, we are building a community around Pendle Hill who look a little bit closer, a little bit more often, even just from their gardens and windows as the world changes. 

Here we share the first results of the nature we have spotted, In 2020, we changed the season 'Winter' into 18 smaller seasons and asked our seasonal seekers to go out and about as much as they normally would, and see what they spotted.

The beautiful seasonal illustrations are by local artist, Cath Ford. Cath lives in Blackburn and she knows the nature we know. She is a very talented artist and we feel very lucky to be working with her.

Season; 1 - 4 January: The Earth is Unyielding 

Season; 5 - 9 January: Bare Branches are Stark

Originally we had planned that this season would be called 'Frost Adorns Bare Branches' but this was something our seasonal seekers disagreed with and so we chose a new season name to replace it, based on what our seekers saw. 

This image of bare branches was taken by
 Sam Root on 5th January 2020

This image of a misty Pendle Hill was taken by 
Stella Nuttall on 5th January 2020

For more of this blog head over to this site where you can also sign up to join the next phase.....

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Lancashire Woodland Connect: A natural solution for combatting the climate crisis

By Kristina Graves, Ribble Rivers Trust

Welcome to 2020 the start of a decade of climate and conservation action! 

We are all well aware of the biodiversity and climate crises that are facing us. The extinction of hundreds of species, recent fires in the Amazon and Australia, and, more locally, the recent floods that have affected Lancashire and other areas within the UK should not be the legacy of this decade, or even the year. The causes of these crises are varied and numerous, and solving them (if at all possible) won’t be straight forward, and it certainly won’t be easy; a combination of new technology, shifting behaviour and embracing natural solutions must be a part of the answer.

One natural solution that is getting a lot of media attention at the moment is woodlands, and rightly so. Woodlands are a valuable tool in combatting the climate crisis. 

Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as they grow and store it in their trunks, branches, roots and leaves: a process called carbon sequestration. 

Woodlands are also very good at slowing the flow of water down the catchment and into the river. For starters, their physical presence acts as a barrier to water flowing over the ground both directly and indirectly, through encouraging the growth of a scrubby understorey, which also hinders surface water flow. Secondly, our soils generally benefit from woodlands; they tend to be less compacted in the presence of trees, allowing water to soak into the ground instead of running into the river. The roots of trees and undergrowth anchor the soil in place meaning there’s more of it to absorb water, and the less soil that is in the river means there is greater capacity for water in the channel! Whilst more woodland won’t stop flooding happening ever again, it will contribute to less devastating consequences for people and homes after bouts of heavy rainfall.

Woodlands also have the potential to support biodiversity. Firstly, woods are areas of  trees and other plants that directly support populations of floral species. Indirectly however, woodland creation supports much more than manual population increase. Careful planning of woodlands can improve connectivity between existing woodland patches and allows animals to roam around a greater area of suitable habitat. Increasing the area of woodland can also support a greater number of individuals and increase the capacity of the woodland to support more species. Surprisingly perhaps, woodlands can influence freshwater habitats too. 

Nearby trees provide shade over river channels and keep rivers cool, our science team at Ribble Rivers Trust have seen water temperature increase by 9 degrees in an un-shaded reach of river, enough to wipe out aquatic life! Leaf litter and branch fall from trees on the river banks provide an important source of food for freshwater invertebrates and fish and create different habitat types to support a wider range of species. 

Finally, trees and riverside vegetation prevent sediment and diffuse sources of pollution from the catchment entering the water course and toxifying the habitat for species.

A third benefit of increasing woodlands cover is the innumerable benefits that woodlands have on our health. Air quality is becoming increasingly recognised as a problem in the UK and is estimated to affect the lives of 40,00 people with respiratory problems. But where woodlands run along the side of main roads and motorways, air quality is noticeably improved which will be a key benefit as emissions are increasing as we travel more. Activities associated with delivering a woodland plan including tree-planting, woodland management, fencing and litter picking encourage us to keep active in the outdoors, and the increasing green space that results from the woodland will encourage us to step outside more and improve our physical fitness and mental health.

With all of this in mind, we at the Ribble, Lune and Wyre Rivers Trusts have been busy launching our Lancashire Woodland Connect campaign. Focusing on nature based solutions, we have developed a plan to plant 500,000 trees across the whole of Lancashire over the next 10 years. The campaign is supported by a number of local authorities who acknowledge the many benefits woodlands provide. We will work with local organisations who are looking to improve the environment for the climate, biodiversity and people and/or to offset any of their unavoidable CO2 emissions.

Historically, we have planted over 150,000 trees in the Ribble catchment alone and have therefore developed an evidence based method to ensure trees are planted where they will provide the most benefit to the widest number of people. Data collected from across the entire catchment allows us to identify priority areas for reducing risk of faecal matter, risk of sediment input, risk of sun exposure and risk of water input. We combine this information with knowledge of catchments upstream of areas with high flood risk and the information about the local landscape, habitats and wildlife to work out where trees will be most beneficial for rivers, the landscape, wildlife and people.

 In order to deliver large scale improvements, we work with a large number of farmers and land-owners to plant lots of small woodlands that will contribute to creating a network of woodland habitat across the county. It is important to remember in this that farmers are contributing their farm-able land to any woodlands we deliver and, therefore, they have a say in every step of the process. We recognise it's important to make sure that the new woodland isn’t going to impact their day-to day work around their fields. As a Trust we recognise that we are working with a family business and therefore any woodland must not only benefit the environment but must also enhance and work with the farm business.

It is no mean feat getting 500,000 trees in the ground! Our woodlands are planted by a team of enthusiastic volunteers who contribute their time and energy to planting the 50,000 trees/year necessary to reach our targets. If you want to help us improve Lancashire’s woodland cover to support our wildlife, environment and our climate please  get in touch

Without dedicated people like you, this task would be a whole lot harder! Thank you

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Boff Whalley brought the brilliantly subversive Commoners Choir to Brierfield Mill for a very special #BannerCulture Sunday. Now this erstwhile stalwart of Chimp Eats Banana and Chumbawamba joins two collaborators in a brand new project for #PendleRadicals. Together they look back to a time of creative ferment around the Pendle Hill area in the lastest #PendleRadicals blog. We can’t wait…

Sick of Being Normal!

Pendle Punk 40 Years On
Three of us – myself, Sage and Casey Orr – have spent the last few months talking to various people from all over England whose lives were changed by being part of the punk community in and around the Pendle Hill / East Lancashire area in the late 1970s. We’ve set a date for an exhibition and event in Colne in early February (more details soon) and it looks like the exhibition, publication and various discussions will carry on after the opening, over in That 0282 Place in Burnley Central Library. Here’s the background to the project.

When Sex Pistols burst onto British national TV in 1977, they set off an explosion of ideas that would, within the next three years, create a generation of thinkers, do-ers and makers. Taking the best principles of hippy – do-it-yourself, question authority, find an alternative – and aligning them with the chaotic spirit of 1968’s legacy of cultural, political and social revolution, punk reacted against the austere 1970s that ushered in Thatcher and instead created new and vibrant communities around its music, its literature and its style. Nowhere was this more evident than in the East Lancs/Pendle punk scene, which became a hotbed of invigorating cultural activism through its self-produced fanzines, its bands and its communally-run venues creating a region-wide community of people – many of them not much more than kids – who were able to seize their moment and, in doing so, change their own lives forever.

Much of the retrospective literature of punk, written as history by London-centric music journalists, likes to claim that by 1979 punk had burned itself out; what they miss is a nationwide blaze of energy that was ignited from that initial Clash/Pistols spark and took hold in towns and villages across the land. I grew up in Burnley, where as 14 and 15 year-olds we had secondary modern schools, growing unemployment and a second-division football team. Older kids at school played prog rock albums and the youth clubs were run by scout leaders and Methodist groups.

As kids we knew about the hippies and freaks who lived on the old council rubbish tip near Queen’s Park – we loved their huge bonfires and mad carnivals and processions. They were the inspirational Welfare State International, and when they left the town (1978) we turned back to our TV sets, where Granada’s Tony Wilson gave Sex Pistols their first airing. Johnny Rotten’s first words on that September early-evening family show were “Get off your aaaaarrrrsssse!”. In effect, this is exactly what thousands of young people from all over Granadaland did – we created our own world of noise and colour, frank and outspoken, and made things happen. Taking over Welfare State’s vacated building, bands formed and rehearsed. Mid Pennine Arts, with its photocopier and enthusiastic and encouraging staff, became a hub of fanzine-making. Local people went from pub to pub starting up venues, creating gig collectives that shared out performance dates among all the newly-rehearsed bands. As well as Mid Pennine Arts there were various local political groups and Colne’s Youth Theatre that actively supported this outburst of activity, along with the impact of national organisations like Rock Against Racism, that compounded the progressive ideas within this growing subculture.

By 1979 this ad-hoc, disorganised community had established itself not just as part of the local arts community but as a radical and dissenting voice in the region. Front page headlines in the local press were commonplace (MP Slams Obscene Punk Magazine!) and in early 1980, TV presenter Bob Greaves came over from Manchester to make a 30-minute TV documentary about this remarkable regional scene.

Now 40 years on, what is most notable about that time and place – stretching across from Accrington to Colne and from Pendle down to Rossendale – is that so many of the people who were part of that community of modern-day dissenters didn’t disappear into middle-aged anonymity but instead took the core values of punk and applied them to their everyday lives. Core values not of dyed, spiked hair and trousers full of straps and buckles but of fierce individualism, social responsibility, anger at inequality and a willingness to speak out.

Photographer Daniel Meadows, who worked extensively in the area in the mid-1970s, is famous for his work where he revisited the people he photographed decades earlier and let us see how much people had changed.  What ‘Sick Of Being Normal!’ will look at is how the characters in that East Lancs punk episode have changed and learned, how much they use that important time as a yardstick for how they live now, how their lives back then as active, creative, communal kids informs their decisions today.

Some time late last year – 2018 – we found out about Mid-Pennine’s ‘Pendle Radicals’ series, looking at the history of radical ideas in the East Lancs area, from Chartists to Suffragettes to Union organisers. It seemed like the punks of the late 1970s fit into this great history of mavericks and campaigners, both by challenging the cultural norms of the day and by creating a powerful and progressive community that sprang from the people, not from above. Mid Pennine Arts agreed, and invited us to gather ideas, stories and images that celebrate that particular time and place.

To this end we’re planning a publication and exhibition based on interviews with those characters and illustrated by present-day large-scale photographic portraits set alongside sourced photographs of them from around 1979/80. The photographs will inform the text and vice versa. It won’t just be a record of a particular time, but a way of looking at how that cultural hotspot changed people’s lives forever – looking at what exactly the ex-punks are doing now that is still informed by the local and national events of 1979/80.

We will gather artefacts and memorabilia, fanzines and posters, play the music of the time, show films taken at the time in the area (there’s a lot of fascinating but little-seen footage of bands and audiences at Colne’s Union Hotel and Rossendale’s Deeply Vale Festival). There’ll be a newspaper/fanzine styled publication with an extensive essay (how that gathering of nonconformists fits in with the area’s history of radicalism, from suffragettes, socialists and Clarion Clubs to Welfare State and Theatremobile) alongside the photographic portraits. The paper will be free. We will host a talk on the impact of those years on its local players. The opening of the exhibition will be a night of varied and diverse music and film. We want to echo the unconventional creativity of those times by creating something unexpected, an East Lancs celebration of how culture can change people and in turn how people can change culture.

‘Sick of Being Normal!’ was the name of one of local band Notsensibles’ songs, a song that resonated in this region-wide community of disaffected teenagers. The answer to that cry of nonconformity wasn’t inward-looking nihilism or cynicism but a flowering of creativity and energy. For many of the people involved, that energy never went away, and that’s what this exhibition / publication will explore and celebrate.

Boff Whalley, Casey Orr, Stephen Hartley, November 2019
With thanks to Nick Hunt at MPA and Jamie Cunningham at That 0282 Place

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 -