DigVentures is helping Mid Pennine Arts develop an ecomuseum: an outdoor heritage trail linking 11 different sites in the valley.

Understanding the archaeology of Spodden Valley is just one part of a series of projects contributing to the development of the ecomuseum. You can find out more about the other activities and wider project here.

‘Spodden Valley Revealed’ has been developed by Mid Pennine Arts, informed by working with specialists, such as DigVentures, across a spectrum of exciting projects planned to feed into the ecomuseum.

In December 2016, DigVentures and a small group of volunteers from the local community conducted a survey to record the condition of known archaeological sites in the valley, and to identify potential new sites that could be worth investigating.

As a result of the survey, we identified exciting new archaeology, including a possible prehistoric standing stone. The survey weekend revealed the great variety of and high significance of sites in the Spodden Valley area. Some are better preserved than others, and it became very clear that more in-depth investigation is needed to ensure that we collect as much information as possible, as well as preserve these special places for the future.

The ecomuseum is planned as an outdoor trail of 11 heritage sites through the valley, designed to illuminate the area’s unique history through compelling stories of its people. For example, James ‘Treacle’ Sanderson, who ran close to a four-minute mile 90 years before Roger Bannister; and the Whitworth Doctors, bone-setters in the 17th century who attracted famous patients from all over the country (including the Archbishop of Canterbury) with their curious and strange remedies.

A programme of community activities and events for schools, volunteers and residents of all ages will be offered, aimed at teaching new practical and transferable skills, building a sense of place and most importantly: having fun!

Spodden Valley Revealed has been made possible thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund, as well as Newground Together, LEF, Lancashire County Council, Ernest Cook Trust and Crook Hill Community Fund.