Three year project to share South Pennines heritage

Woodland Heritage Launch (from left) Helen Noble, CEO Pennine Prospects; Peter Jordan, Newground, Together Trust; Coun Jeff Sumner, Mayor of Burnley; Pam Warhurst, Chair of Pennine Prospects; Chris Atkinson, South Pennines Woodland Heritage Officer

Woodland Heritage Launch (from left) Helen Noble, CEO Pennine Prospects; Peter Jordan, Newground, Together Trust; Coun Jeff Sumner, Mayor of Burnley; Pam Warhurst, Chair of Pennine Prospects; Chris Atkinson, South Pennines Woodland Heritage Officer

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A new three year project to celebrate the woodland in the South Pennines was launched this month.

The Woodland Heritage Project, which is funded by the Heritage Lottery, is aiming to improve the knowledge relating to the heritage of ancient woodland in and around Todmorden and Hebden Bridge.

The hope is that the special places in the area can be fully appreciated and carefully conserved from a cultural as well as environmental point of view.

Following the launch of the project there will be a number of ways local residents can get involved.

There will be Day School in Hebden Bridge which will take place on Saturday 15 October at the Birchcliffe Centre.

Organised by Pennine Prospects, South Pennines History Group and Pennine Heritage, the day school will feature a number of key speakers, hands-on demonstrations and site visits.

The event was launched with a fun day attended by hundreds of people at Towneley Hall in Burnley.

Chris Atkinson, South Pennines Woodland Heritage Officer, said: “The Woodland Heritage Day was a great opportunity to meet lots of new people and to tell them about this great new project.

“We had a lot interest from families and individuals, recruiting a number of volunteers on the day, which was a great start.

“Over the next three years we are hoping to get a wide range of people involved and I’m interested in hearing from local groups and organisations in the area, everyone from local history groups to young archaeologists.”

There are many ways to get involved in the project, for example cubs and scouts can use this project to work towards their heritage badge.

Chris said: ““With our volunteers we’ll be carrying out archaeological surveys in ancient woodlands. There’ll be on the job training looking at past woodland use and any evidence of pre-woodland use, such as quarries, settlements and field markers.

“We’re hoping that by surveying the woodlands people will gain a greater understanding of their importance and they’ll have a greater respect for them.”

Woodland is scarce in the South Pennines with a mere four per cent coverage.

The project is hoping to draw attention to this fact as well as share the area’s industrial history.

Geoff Lomas, Recreation Manager at Yorkshire Water, said: “We are delighted to partner with Pennine Prospects so we can combine our expertise.

“Together we can improve our knowledge relating to the heritage of ancient woodland in the South Pennines so these special places can be fully appreciated and carefully conserved from a cultural as well as environmental point of view.”

In addition to surveying the woodlands, the project will also use new techniques and skills to tell the story of the South Pennines’ woodlands.

The project will be working with Forest Schools and training a new generation of woodland heritage champions.

For more information about the project please visit www.celebrate-our-woodland.co.uk.