For peat’s sake: Isle talk ….

It’s not often I venture out to lectures on dark evenings but on Friday evening there was an opportunity for me to catch up with Dr Ben Geary.  Regular readers will recall other posts in which we mention Ben’s involvement with the Hatfield Trackway investigations.


We had responded to an appeal to advertise the talk and we did so as a blog post, otherwise the only other local advertising to Thorne was in a supermarket.  The event had been organised by Dr Charlotte Hursey of North Lincolnshire Council’s Isle of Axholme and Hatfield Chase Landscape Partnership.  There were twenty four attendees and that included staff and other statutory helpers.  The talk, sadly only a whistle stop taster from  investigations undertaken between 2004-2006 which left people wondering what next?  Despite being asked if it was the intention of the project to undertake further work on the site the audience were simply told:

The IoAHCLP would like your thoughts and ideas on how you use the area, how to open up more chances for people to benefit and enjoy it, and how these could be achieved. It would help the development of the project considerably if you would take a few minutes to complete the on‐line questionnaire.

The Partnership also needs local groups, organisations and individuals to bring forward ideas and support projects that emerge in the community. If you wish to put forward a project proposal please contact us via our website. 

Apparently they have not yet decided which projects will go forward for a share of the £1.9m allocated if the Phase 2 application is successful.  This was strange because the deadline for submission of main projects had already passed (7 October) and this invitation appears to have been made to select ‘partners’ linked to the Humberhead Levels Partnership.  We understand that the Project Manager has been in post since June and that there is a website but we have been unable to locate any governance information, constitution or standing orders.  No list of any partners or steering group structure.

Compare this to Natural England’s LIFE+ Project which already has a steering group with independent members and a cross section of stakeholders as well as NE staff involvement.  We reported on the recent launch event of the LIFE+ Project which despite its embryonic status appears to be begining to build capacity through partnership working.

A consultancy has been commissioned to write an audience development plan (what has that cost?), have they even set foot in Yorkshire and who wrote their script?

Written on Friday 24th October 2014 (Source: R4C website)

R4C has built up substantial experience in supporting the development and delivery of Landscape Partnership Schemes, especially in audience development and monitoring and evaluation. There are learnings and good practice we bring from this, but each piece of work involves exploring the unique character of the communities, landscape and history in that area, how they interact together and how their relationships can be developed and enhanced to the benefit of all.

We are delighted to have been appointed to produce the audience development and community engagement plan for the Isle of Axholme and Hatfield Chase Landscape Partnership Scheme. We will be finding out how local communities are involved in the heritage of their area, the barriers some people experience to involvement and the opportunities for creating projects which will benefit communities, wildlife and historical and cultural heritage.

This area of North Lincolnshire & east Doncaster Borough is a little known and mysterious landscape of moors, levels, old peat workings and collieries, alongside rich agricultural land with its own story of the old practice of ‘warping’ and the still practiced remnants of medieval strip farming. Water is the prevailing influence on the landscape with canals, rivers, and drains criss-crossing the area and the River Trent has the only other tidal bore (Aegir) in England apart from the Severn Bore.

At least the author appears honest as they we would assume that to describe the area “is a little known and mysterious landscape”, must be personal because to the rest of us including the likes of the Wesley Brothers, Vermuyden, Tomlinson and other diarists as well as eminent naturalists of their day Sir Harry Godwin (a Yorkshire Botanist), to Jeremy Pursglove author of “Taming the Flood” (also a Channel 5 series) who recently revisited the site as part of his researching the revised edition (watch this space for update on it’s progress and availability) it is very well known and loved and not least ‘fought’ over to safeguard its future.  Catherine Caufield author of Thorne Moors, eruditely introduces a candidate for the first ‘eco-warrior’ that of Wm Bunting.  But, this project proudly declares that it is “Reconnecting People with their Landscape and Cultural Heritage”.  Clearly an honest ‘foreigner’ not familiar with the history nor one minded towards research either?


The image above shows the first group of people (photographer excepted), including the English Heritage Officer visiting the incredible find in 2004. 


 The image above, taken in 2008 shows the state of the find four years later. 

Hatfield's Neolithic Trackway in 2011 "In situ" preservation or abandoned in a changing landscape?

Hatfield’s Neolithic Trackway in 2011 “In situ” preservation or abandoned in a changing landscape?

Watch this space for an update on any projects being funded through the Isle of Axholme and Hatfield Chase Landscape Partnership.  Conversely Dr Hursey would love to hear from you if you think that this (Trackway) is something which they should fund.  Details below:

Dr Charlotte Hursey, Project Officer.  Isle of Axholme and Hatfield Chase Landscape Partnership
Church Square House, 30-40 Church Square, Scunthorpe, DN15 6NL / PO Box 42, Scunthorpe, DN15 6XQ

Tel: 01724 297642      Email:

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