Why is it we are so drawn to looking up the past? Is it nostalgia? Or perhaps a human need to feel connected to the landscape?
Volunteers are working together with a sense of curiosity and diligence to collect old place names from locals, old maps and archives. Names signal to Norse occupiers, medieval big cheeses, enterprising merchants, landscape features and land use. Places are named ‘Harry Intake’, ‘Shive of Cheese’, ‘Breasty Haw’ and ‘Low Jack Side’. What does this tell us about the land and how it was used? We’ll be finding out more soon.
These projects show how partnership between professionals and volunteers can achieve results well beyond the resources of any individual or small specialist team. It does not take long for the magic of maps and real life stories to enchant.
Other volunteers have been trained to interview and record people’s memories about living and working in the landscape, from farmers and coppice workers to people whose families go back generations. Mike Thwaites from Oxen Park has been shortlisted for interviewing. Given his experience as a builder and stone-waller we know we’ll be digging rich soils with his input.