Settlers of the Nene Valley – an exciting new project!
Follow this link to find out more about our activities for all the family. “Settlers of the Nene Valley”
In January this year we were delighted to receive Heritage Lottery funding for three years, through the Nenescape Landscape Partnership Scheme, to provide activities which explore the Nene Valley, its people, heritage and identity in a changing landscape.
Our project, Settlers of the Nene Valley, aims to explore, re-create and celebrate the lives of the Neolithic, Bronze & Iron Age, Roman, Saxon and Medieval Settlers on the Stanwick Lakes site over the past 5,000 years and share this with the local communities.
To do this we are focussing on the journeys that the Settlers made, where and how they lived, and what we can learn from them.
We are offering hands-on opportunities for the local community to learn new skills in the traditional crafts and construction techniques which enabled people to settle and make their home in the valley. We also have outreach projects in local schools where we take a range of exciting heritage activities to compliment the school curriculum.
So far this year we have provided opportunities for the local community to learn about and try:
- Cooking methods used by the past Settlers, including making bread and cake
- Hurdle construction, leading to wattle and daubing
- Traditional spoon carving
- Making Roman clay dice and jewellery
- Being young archaeologists, investigating and recording finds
- Dressing up like a Settler and experiencing what they would have worn
- Two trails that have been developed based upon the heritage of the site. One is for our younger “settlers” and an updated heritage trail leaflet is for the older “settlers”, which takes them to the actual settlement sites.
Alongside all these activities our volunteers have been busy building two period buildings.
An Iron Age Roundhouse is under construction to replace one previously built on the site. Using traditional methods and materials, together with appropriate wood carvings, the building is taking shape and will be finished early 2019.
Our Ancestral barn is also being constructed using a variety of materials and styles that past Settlers would recognise. It will incorporate brick, stone and wattle & daub walls, a replica Roman mosaic floor and has an oak timber frame. The frame and a pantile roof have been fitted ready for work to continue next year. Once built, the barn will be used for Settlers’ events and activities.
Our annual event in September, as part of the Nene Valley Festival, had a wide range of hands-on opportunities for our visitors, coupled with the activities of our guests, the Bifrost Guard, a Viking re-enactor group, who provided an authentic backdrop to a very successful day.
In the coming year, we shall be investigating what the Settlers would have grown and how the produce would have been used for food, dyeing and medicinal purposes etc. The barn and roundhouse will also be completed by the summer of 2019.
Interpretation boards will be designed to leave a lasting source of information about the Settlers on the site long after the project ends in 2020.
There will be many opportunities to become involved, or just enjoy the atmosphere.
Rockingham Forest Trust, which manages Stanwick Lakes, is one of several organisations in the Nenescape Landscape Partnership Scheme that have received funding for activities which explore the Nene Valley, its people, heritage and identity in a changing landscape.