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Our Latest Project

A Survey of the Washfolds in the Duddon valley

Washfolds were used to clean the fleece of the flocks of sheep on the fells before they were clipped and the wool sent to the market. They are scattered over both sides of the valley and altogether we have found forty five sites recorded in the Heritage Envoronment Records (HER) or in the  Duddon Valley Local History Group survey, Ring Cairns to Reservoirs (R2R) survey in 2009. Some are marked on the early editions of the large scale Ordnance Survey maps as washfolds, wash dubs or sheep washes. Map legends record Washfold Point on Devoke Water and Wash Dub Beck above Turner Hall camp site.

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The Duddon Dig

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Ring Cairns to Reservoirs (R2R)

The initial impetus for the project was the discovery of a prehistoric ring cairn in the upper reaches of the Duddon Valley, the desire to understand more about its origin and purpose, and the need to explore whether there were other related sites in the vicinity. This motivation led to a discussion and a verbal contract between the Lake District National Park Authority (LDNPA) and the Duddon Valley Local History Group (DVLHG).

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The Longhouse Surveys

The R2R project discovered a huge number of previously unrecorded archaeological sites. Many of these were high on the fellside in locations which are now unsuitable for agriculture. There was much speculation about the possible age and purpose of these structures, and it seemed probable that some were of medieval origin. In particular, the footprint of some structures indicated that they might have been longhouses.

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Talks Programme

We have tried to maintain and stimulate the enthusiasm of both recent and longstanding members and guests by the presentation of talks covering a range of local and topical subjects of historical interest. These have included archaeology; geology; industrial heritage; vernacular architecture; agriculture; local crafts, skills, lifestyles and interests; personalities, entrepreneurs, artists, writers, poets, philosophers, historians and ‘thinkers’; transport and infrastructure, and oral history.

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Walks Programme

In addition to an annual programme of talks, the Group has a programme of history and archaeology themed walks and visits.  These take place over the period October to April.

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