It was great to be a part of Heritage Open Days this year and we were thrilled to be a part of two fantastic events!
Roman Military Exeter
The first event was A Guided Walk Around the Fortress of the Second Augustan Legion at Exeter with Dr. John P. Salvatore. This tour evolved out of a celebratory coffee with John, who has worked 50 years in archaeology this year – quite an achievement! John has a keen interest in Roman military archaeology and mentioned he runs occasional tours of Roman military Exeter. We were really keen to attend one of his tours and he kindly agreed to run one, which we organised as part of Heritage Open Days.
It was a fascinating event, transporting us back in time 2000 years to reimagine the Guildhall shopping centre as barrack blocks and Exeter Cathedral as the site of a Roman military bath-house. It was a unique opportunity for local people to see the location of excavation sites from the 1970s, with an archaeologist who worked on them. Here’s feedback from two of our eighteen participants:
We thought John Salvatore was an inspiring and imaginative speaker – he really made you ‘see’ the Romans in Exeter. The idea of walking the perimeter of the fortress was brilliant and to have a fully kitted-out Roman soldier describe daily life at the time was a real treat at the end of a terrific evening. Top marks to everyone involved.’
Linda and Ian
Dunkeswell Abbey Tour
The second Heritage Open Days event was a guided tour of Dunkeswell Abbey, delving into the skills and masterful water management of the monks who lived and worked there. The tour was part of the Connecting the Culm project which aims to make the river better for wildlife and people, and more resilient to flood and drought.
Participants found out about the resourcefulness of the Cistercians, how they managed the water landscape in the medieval period and why they chose this beautiful rural site to build their abbey. We were kindly given access by a local resident to see the impressive earthwork remains of the fish ponds, astonishing in their scale.
The beautiful weather combined with the idyllic rural location and a pop-up cafe (run by local residents) selling tea and cake made this a perfect day out. We had a great turn out with 44 people attending the tours.
HAP has been out and about in the River Culm catchment delivering a programme of community engagement events for the Connecting the Culm project. A project which aims to create a better future for the River Culm by working with nature and local communities. HAP has organised a series of River Community Cafes, pop up events and workshops at primary schools to engage people in the project.
Using information stands, river themed activities and collaborative art to welcome people in and generate conversations, we have been raising awareness of the challenges the River Culm faces due to climate change and how we can work with nature to solve these problems. As a result, communities have been coming up with Nature-Based Solutions to tackle flood and drought, improve water quality in the river, and create a better place for wildlife and people.
HAP will be continuing its work with the Connecting the Culm project delivering a new series of events over the next three months called ‘Catchment Connections’. At these events, people can find out how to get involved with the project and learn about the Blueprint for the Culm, a 25 year vision for the river. Download the event flyer here and join us at one the events to find out more about the project.
As part of the ‘Catchment Connections’ events, we will be running guided tours at Dunkeswell Abbey this September, during the Heritage Open Days festival. Come along to find out about this tranquil monastic site in the Blackdown Hills, the resourcefulness of the Cistercians, how they managed the water landscape in the medieval period and why they chose this rural site to build their abbey.
Water management was vital to the survival and self-sufficiency of the monastic community and the Cistercians were experts at managing water in the landscape. Discover how the monks used their skills and knowledge to create a thriving rural community and explore the ancient remains of this monastic complex.
Find out more about this Connecting the Culm event at Dunkeswell Abbey and book tickets here
The Understanding Dunkeswell AbbeyChurch project team would like to welcome you to a community open day on May 7th 1-4pm 2022. Find out more about the unique history of Dunkeswell Abbey Church, one of the hidden treasures of the Blackdowns Hills. Discover the link between Dunkeswell Abbey Church, Canada and a family of skilled Victorian craftswomen! View new archive material from Devon Archives, enjoy tours of the church, and relax with tea and cake.
The Understanding Dunkeswell Abbey Church project, funded by The Pilgrim Trust, is exploring the history, current state and heritage significance of the former church at Dunkeswell Abbey, created by the women of the Simcoe family in the C19th. Find out more here.
HAP are currently working on a project called Understanding Dunkeswell Abbey Church. This Victorian Church, hidden away amongst the ruins of Dunkeswell Abbey in the Blackdown Hills, has a very unusual history.
It was built by a family of women who poured their time and energy into mastering the craft skills needed to create architectural fixings. Using a large drawing room at their home as a workshop they produced stained glass windows, altars, reredoses, a font, a pulpit, a reading desk, capitals, corbels and furniture reconstituted from antique carvings.
HAP are delighted to be working on a project with Dunkeswell Abbey Church Trust, called Understanding Dunkeswell Abbey Church. The project, funded by The Pilgrim Trust, will explore the history, current state and heritage significance of the former church at Dunkeswell Abbey, created by the women of the Simcoe family in the C19th.
As part of the project we are asking people to share their memories of Dunkeswell Abbey Church to help form a new archive. Whether you live in Dunkeswell, Hemyock, Exeter or further afield we’d love to hear your stories and anecdotes of Dunkeswell Abbey Church (Holy Trinity) and to see any photos you might have.
Please get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org with your stories, memories or photos. You can also say hello at our Community Open Day on Saturday 7th May 1-4pm at Dunkeswell Abbey Church. Keep an eye on our blog for more info about the open day and also the community website for Dunkeswell Abbey.
We had a great time on World Book Day 2022 working with a group of children in Beacon Heath, Exeter to help them discover more about Mincinglake Valley Park and create their own book.
Our heritage educator Catherine Farnell helped the children visualise Mincinglake today, and to understand the history behind it, by creating ‘archaeological layers’ which the children could ‘excavate’ and discover finds from the past, each with their own story.
Once we’d got the group thinking about Mincinglake Valley Park and inspired them with natural objects, archaeological finds and ideas, they were each given their own Mini Mincinglake Book. The children could create whatever they wanted in their books – drawings, writing, sticking, rubbings or anything else which appealed to them. We wanted to embrace all sorts of books for World Book Day – fiction and non fiction, written books and picture books, published books and self created books. For our Mini Mincinglake project we wanted the children to express themselves and explore their thoughts and ideas in their own personalised way.
The session went really well and was great fun. We’d love to develop more ways of helping children to understand and explore their local area and to express their thoughts and ideas.
The Archaeologists gave us an inspiring session. We appreciated the excellent preparation, for keeping to our timing, producing something that engaged the different ages. And generally being very easy for the children to relate to. Great work they are doing!
Di, Elfins group leader
Many thanks to the Woodcraft Folk’s Elfins group and to Tesco Bags of Help for their community funding.