Our Lottery Year was an evening with refreshments in Parsons Meade Community Centre on Friday 12th April 2019, during which the organisations and people who have been involved with the Friends during the past year made brief presentations to explain what has been made possible through our first Heritage Lottery Funding bid and to describe the results of their surveys and investigations :
- Matt Johnson kicked off for the Wildlife Trust for Beds, Cambs & Northants (WTBCN) and described the Habitat Survey which was carried out early in 2018. The resulting report and map detail the various different sub-habitats that exist in the Country Park and makes interesting reading.
- Ryan Clark of Northamptonshire Biodiversity Records Centre (NBRC) then described the very successful Bat Walk, Moth Trapping and Bioblitz which took place at the end of August/beginning of September. This managed to increase the known recorded species in the Park from 143 to 319, including one particular moth species not recorded in Northamptonshire for 117 years! The results are available in the Bioblitz (Biological Surveys) Report and is a fascinating read for anyone interested in the local flora and fauna.
- Rebecca Peace from Brampton Valley Training (BVT) discussed the work they do and explained the Tree Health & Safety Report which was surveyed in April 2018, which was the main focus of our first Lottery bid. This report is another engaging read, with snippets of intriguing facts about the history of the fort.
- Dane Wood, also from BVT, outlined the Basic Tree Inspection Course which was held in May and which enabled the 12 attendees to be awarded LANTRA Technical Awards certificates.
- Francesca Service from Northampton Museum explained how she used the Tree Survey results to design a simple Tree Trail around the Hillfort, identifying some of the most significant trees, and producing a coloured leaflet and separate black & white leaflet which can be coloured in by children, as well as the tree descriptions behind the QR codes which are now posted around the Tree Trail. The Tree Trail remains available for all, with the leaflets obtainable from the Drovers Return café.
- Luisa Jepson, our Events Manager, closed the presentations with a brief chronology of the various events the Friends have arranged (with Luisa’s guidance and help) throughout the last year:
- The archaeological sand pit treasure dig which Luisa arranged for the Friends pitch on Alfie’s Day in July had 150 “treasures” hidden in it, only 10 of which were still there at the end of the day.
- The Scavenger Hunt in August was another very successful event, with both children and adults joining in the hunt(s) for things mentioned in the Biodiversity reports.
- The Bat Walk and Moth Trapping (31st Aug / /1st Sep) was another successful event, as described above by Ryan Clark.
- The Winter Walk, held between Christmas and New Year, was guided by Luisa and was again well attended, with over 80 people and numerous dogs.
- The BloodAxe Vikings event, which actually included several other re-enactment groups, was our best attended event, with over 300 people visiting during the day. All the Vikings (and Normans) want to come back to the Hillfort, so we have already started planning something for the Heritage Open Days events in September (2019).
Photos of all these events (and more) can be seen in our Gallery.
The Friends chair, Mavis Wilmshurst thanked all the above on behalf of the Friends for their efforts during the last year and made special mention of the Friends Project Manager, Phil Foster, for his input and liaison with the Heritage Lottery Fund, which undoubtedly helped make all the surveys, reports and events (and expenses) run smoothly.
Another mention for stalwart support that must be made is to Colin Ingle and all the staff at the Drovers Return café, without whom the Park would not be what it is today.
Although attendance at Our Lottery Year evening was low, we would particularly like to thank West Hunsbury Parish Council chairman Richard Matthews for coming along.
The Friends have enjoyed all the surveys and events and hope that we can keep the momentum going with a second Lottery bid to carry out further investigations on the Hillfort and its artefacts. Keep an eye on this website for progress reports and updates.