You may have noticed a new wooden building taking shape behind the visitor centre at Stanwick Lakes, but do you know what it is for?
One hundred and fifty years ago blacksmiths, lace makers and shoe makers were working in every town and village in the valley. Over the next four years, a new Heritage Lottery funded community project called Trading Places will explore, celebrate and breathe new life into the traditional skills that shaped the Nene valley.
The project is based at Stanwick Lakes, in a newly built green oak Training Barn that will hold a range of traditional skills courses. The training programme will mostly work with young people who are not currently in education, training or employment; the Training Barn will soon be welcoming the first group to discover how to use a blacksmiths forge, a shoe makers last and a basket weaver’s bodkin. Over the life of the project there will also be opportunities for local people to meet the crafts men and women, see them at work and maybe even have a go themselves.
The Barn itself is a great example of craftsmanship, it was built by a local Northamptonshire company, Oakley Framing Limited, using green oak and traditional techniques.
The project will also be providing a variety of school and community heritage activities in the towns and villages along the valley from Wellingborough to Thrapston; using photographs, storytellers, Victorian crime and re-enactors to bring the past to life.
Trading Places is managed by the Rockingham Forest Trust who also manage Stanwick Lakes. The Trust hopes that the project will help people to connect with, enjoy and understand the history of their local area.
Look out on the Trading Places Facebook page and the Stanwick Lakes website for details of events, demonstrations and training workshops in the coming months.