WYHF Meeting Hebden Bridge 30th June 2012

West Yorkshire Heritage Forum Meeting 30th June 2012, 10:00-c.16:30 Birchcliffe Centre, Hebden Bridge HX7 8DG

Directions to the Birchcliffe Centre

09:30 Arrival & Coffee
10:00 Welcome   & Introduction to the West Yorkshire Heritage Forum Paul Boothroyd, Forum Co-ordinator &   Mike Turpin, Forum Webmaster
10:20 Community   Archaeology at work in the South Pennines – Watershed Landscape Project Louise Brown, Pennine Prospects
10:40 Pennine   Horizons – A new HLF project based in Hebden Bridge Frank Woolrych, Pennine Heritage
11:00 Questions
11:10 Coffee
11:30 Some   New South Pennine Prehistory David Shepherd, South Pennine Archaeology   Network
11:50 Recent work on charcoal stances at Hardcastle Crags South Leeds Archaeology
12:10 Title TBC Andrew Marsh, National Trust
12:30 Questions / Discussion
13:00 Lunch
14:00 Walking tour of historic Hebden Bridge David Fletcher, Pennine   Heritage

Booking: Booking is not essential, but it would be helpful to know in advance if you will be attending.

Refreshments: Please bring your own lunch; tea and coffee will be provided.

Displays: There will be the opportunity for you to bring a display, leaflets, etc. to advertise your group / Project.

Parking: There is a car park at the Birchcliffe Centre.

Afternoon walk: The Birchcliffe Centre is sited part way up a steep hill. The walk will start at the Birchcliffe Centre at 14:00 and will meet at a designated place in the town at 14:30 for those of you who wish to drive down (be aware that parking in Hebden Bridge on a Saturday afternoon can be tricky). Please note that we will not be meeting back at the centre after the walk.

Archives: There will be the opportunity to take a tour of the impressive archives over lunch, or as an alternative to the walk.

The meeting was hosted in the Birchcliffe Centre which is currently being refurbished with Heritage Lottery Funding to provide learning and conferencing facilities.  Several organisations provided displays illustrating their work within West Yorkshire. 

These included:

WYAS who provided a tempting bookstall

South Leeds Archaeology

Northern Earth

After a welcome from Frank Woolrych to the Birchcliffe Centre, Paul and Mike introduced the WYHF and talked about this website.

The first speaker was Louise Brown from Pennine Prospects who provided us with a comprehensive overview of the activities associated with the Watershed Landscape Project.  She was keen to point out that the whole idea was to get people actively involved and engaging them with the environment.  She used the example where a volunteer carried out an aerial photo survey using his interest in model aircraft to illustrate the way in which heritage professionals can build upon the skills and knowledge brought to a project by volunteers.

Frank Woolrych told us about the history behind the Birchcliffe Centre and how the Pennine Horizons Project has evolved.  The website is still work in progress but is certainly worth looking at.  Pennine Horizons are planning a series of trails around the area and some are already up on the website.  Other aspects of the project include the image archives and learning resources which are part of the chapel renovation programme.

David Shepherd offered us an interesting account of pre-history investigations in the South Pennines area and as he said the talk suggested more questions than provided answers.  We were certainly left with the impression that there is a lot out there that still needs looking at!

Paul Boothroyd introduced the audience to the fascinating world of historic charcoal burning within a woodland environment.  A topic which was probably quite new to the majority of the audience!  A review of charcoal burning techniques was combined with the latest news on the work being carried out by volunteers from South Leeds Archaeology at Hardcastle Crags on behalf of the National Trust.

The morning was rounded off with a talk by Andrew Marsh describing the task of woodland management with particular reference to the Hardcastle Crags area.  Not only did Drew explain why there is a need to actively manage woodland environments, he also provided an insight into the Flora and Fauna of the area.

After lunch David Fletcher from Pennine Heritage led a walking tour of Hebden Bridge for those hardy souls prepared to brave flood damage, festivals and the weather!

We started off down in the square next to (but unfortunately not in!) one of the oldest packhorse inns looking at the modern sculpture of a fustian knife celebrating the textile industry in the Hebden Bridge Area.

David then dragged us up the old packhorse road leading out of Hebden Bridge, OK for pack horses and apparently 1960’s minis but not so good for us on foot!!

David did provide a most interesting glimpse into Hebden Bridge’s history and after listening to him for a couple of hours we realised that we were only hearing a fraction of his encyclopedic knowledge of the area.

Overall the day was both informative and rewarding to those attending and our thanks go to the folks in Hebden Bridge who made it all possible.  We can now start to plan and look forward to our next event in Mirfield and hope to see many of you there.

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