Hidden Valley Fieldwalk, 6 June 2015

Pendle’s Hidden Valley – Water Meetings Field Walk – 6 June 2015

In short, a highly productive day – quality not quantity.
Only four of us did the walk, including a new member – Mike W. We are very pleased to welcome some new ideas & fresh set of eye, and being few in number we had the opportunity to get to know Mike & vice versa.
We started from Blacko Bar Road in Roughlee then walked up to the old ridge road on the southern edge of the valley and followed this until it dropped down through the quarries & Hudderston Wood onto Water Meetings. Here we had our picnic in the summer sun & speculated on the cavortings that would have been taking place when the area was a playground for the Victorian inhabitants of the nearby mill towns.
After lunch we skirted other side of the valley from whence we came. When we got back to Blacko Bar Road David & Richard took the short cut back to the start while new boy Mike & I crossed the road & into the fields opposite. We then followed the line of the old road back to Roughlee Hall & thus to the end.
It was a route of under 3 miles yet full of things to ponder. Looking at the boundaries on the south side we were able to determine they were late medieval/early post medieval at the latest. Subsequent changes in farming methods led to fields getting larger & this succession was visible in the ways the boundaries had been maintained. The patterns of the fields mean they could well be much earlier in origin.
For some time now a number of people have thought that ground upstream between the two waters of Water Meetings was once a prehistoric fort or settlement. We spent quite a bit of time looking at & discussing the evidence for this on its southern & eastern flanks. There are two raised banks that are almost certainly artificial & one that is almost certainly glacial. Dating is open to discussion but prehistoric cannot be excluded. A cautious ‘strong possibility’ was the eventual conclusion. Well mine anyway, others were more positive.
Fittingly, given that the walk marked the end of the initial phase of the project, we also made a discovery significant to the history of the valley. Part of our ‘mission statement’ at the commencement of the Pendle’s Hidden Valley Project was that while we would record the whole history of the valley, the emphasis was on the pre-Conquest. It gives me great satisfaction to announce that we have discovered hard evidence of a previously unrecorded Mesolithic knapping site.
Over the course of the summer we will be continuing field walking to look at areas we have missed & those that bear further investigation. We will also continue our programme of digs. There is still plenty of time for you to get involved in the project & plenty of ways to do so. It need not be any of the more physical activities – there is a need for people to help with research & other more sedentary activities so please come & join us soon.

Alex Whitlock

Blacko Tower_proc

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