Tel: Chair – 01229 716113 or Secretary – 01229 480254 | Email:

Welcome to the Duddon Valley Local History Group Website

DVLHG was formed in the early 1990s and runs a programme of activities and talks for its members. Our five year long study of the whole valley has restarted extending the survey to cover areas not walked in earlier phases. Our findings led to our current major project with Oxford Archaeology North excavating three medieval longhouse sites near Seathwaite Tarn.

Duddon Dig

Duddon Dig

We are now preparing to start our second season to uncover the secrets of Longhouse Close.
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Follow our continuing survey work on the valley looking at the Corney Fell.
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Find out about the sorts of walks we do.
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Find out about the sorts of talks we put on.
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Previous Projects

Previous Projects

Catch up on on our previous exploration and surveying in the valley.
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Downloads and Publications

Downloads and Publications

Read the reports of our activities and find out about the books we have published.
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Latest News

2019 Has Arrived

Work is underway at OAN to produce the final report for the dig. We still haven’t had feedback on some of the results and the final conclusions.

We are also working on the “Popular” Report which will give a less academic review of the last three years. much of the text and images have been gathered together and Stephe and Ken are going down to Lancaster soon for a meeting with Rachael and Adam to see what needds to be done next.

Our other project for the year is to sort out the group archives. These are currently filling Gail’s space and aren’t easily accessible for research. We have decided to rent an upstairs room at the Victory Hall, previously the Doctor’s Surgery and move everything to there as a central location.We have bought three old filing cabinets and will start checking and cataloguing our stuff before moving it to its new home. If you are interested in helping, contact Gail.

The closing of Butler’s Solictors has seen us getting 250 early edition Ordnance Survey Maps covering from Egremont to Barrow. Some of these are hand tinted First Editions but they haven’t been well looked after and are dusty and damaged. Stephe has catalogued them all now but they are going to need sorting into what we want to keep, what we could offer to other Local History Groups and, possible, which of the duplicates we could offer for a donation to pay for the archiving tape to repair our selection. If you wouldbe interested in helping vacuum, ironing and then repairing, contact Stephe.


Section from the 25″sheet for Broughton published in 1890


Duddon Dig Final statistics:

The Duddon Dig has been a community archaeology project from the Duddon Valley Local History Group overseen by Oxford Archaeology North, with the support of the Lake District National Park and the National Trust with a major funding contribution from the heritage Lottery Fund.

Stephe Cove has done a lot of the administration over the three years and has put together some final statistics to quantify the contribution that our volunteers have made to the dig.

In total, there were to have been 48 digging days and we lost just one full day and three half days due to the weather. This was helped by the fantastic 2018 summer and contrasts with the 2007 dig higher up the fellside where it rained just about every single day.

There were 788 volunteer days altogether from 106 different volunteers and 9 members of the steering group. 43 came for all three seasons and 43 for just one of the years. As you would expect, 82% of the volunteer days came from Cumbrian addresses. One came from Sweden and one came up from Ascot for two seasons before moving up to work in Cumbria for the final year. Of the “Cumbrians”, 56% were from South Lakeland and 30% from the other side of the Duddon in Copeland.

Many thanks to everyone involved from those who gave us money and materials to those who helped out in so many different ways. We await the scientific results with great interest.

Presentation of results:

Tuesday 6th November 2018

Stephe presented the first session looking at the community involvement which was a large part of the HLS grant application. The efforts of our volunteers over the three years made a contribution in kind of nearly £40.000. The school project in five primary schools, one secondary school and a sixth form in Yorkshire contributed another £10,200 with 569 children days, 63 staff days and 30 days from Stephe and Mur. By the end of the project Mur reckoned to have done the reconstructing plates and cups activity 68 times!

Thanks were given to the professionals involved OAN’s archaeologists, to Eleanor Kingston from the National Park and Jamie Lund from the National Trust. Particular thanks were given to Gail for sorting the Parish Rooms, to Antony and Hilary at Turner Hall, to Ian for his photography, to John for his metal detecting, to Chris at Ricky’s taxi for organising the school transport and to all the volunteers who took part, especially the steering group that kept everything going.

Jamie Quartermaine then spoke with a review of the whole project from the surveys in early 2016 to filling in at Longhouse Close at the end of June this year. The dates for building and occupation were not conclusive and certainly not as early as we had hoped and there is still debate as to whether they were only shielings, for summer occupation, rather than longhouses for year round settlement. The big surprise was that we got seven Bronze Age dates with a very narrow range between 1496 and 1196BC. It seems that the raised platform dates from that time and the medieval building was a later use of the area. This was the case in the earlier excavations at Stephenson Ground. The relationship of the walls has not been satisfactorily resolved and we have no idea of what was going on for the 2500 years in between the dated periods.

Still we’ve had a great time and developed a group with a wide range of skills and look forward to taking part in future projects around the county.


Walks Programme

 This year there is a very varied programme, with something to suit everyone. If you intend to go, please contact the Leader at least the day before stating where you will meet.  In the event of very bad weather confirm with leader on the day to see if the walk is going ahead.

NB. Start times vary.

 Next Walk: 

7th February 2019 – Secret Barrow

Stephe Cove 773965 & Dave Hughes 716659

09:30 Broughton Square; 10:15 Town Hall car park SD 198690

Tour of the Town Hall at 10:30, then celebrity graves at the Cemetery or the Archives if wet

Easy – not much walking but some stairs

see Walks Page for details of the walks programme.


Talks Programme

Next Talk:

23rd January 2019

Horrible Railway Histories:

Bill Myers -Bill will take us back through history to recount railway accidents in Furness

see Talks Page for details of the talks programme.

Our Projects Gallery

Click on the images below to view more images in the gallery…