History research volunteers needed!

5th April 2019

With a history dating back to prehistoric times, there is a lot yet to discover about The Ridgeway's history and excitingly there are two new volunteer opportunities to reveal more of The Ridgeway’s history.

The results of a recently commissioned LiDAR survey of the Chilterns AONB will be available to view on an online portal at the end of May 2019. At 1400 km2 it is the largest survey of its type ever flown in this country for archaeological purposes. The survey creates an exceptionally precise topographic map of the region, even under tree-cover. From this any man-made lumps and bumps, many of them hundreds if not thousands of years old, can be spotted and interpreted. The LiDAR survey and a new Archaeological LiDAR Web Portal is part of a Chilterns Conservation Board project called Beacons of the Past, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund – see here for details: www.chilternsaonb.org/projects/beacons-of-the-past. Working with the Beacons of the Past project team, the Ridgeway Partnership is looking for at least 2 volunteers to to do a focused study of the new LiDAR data along the corridor of The Ridgeway National Trail.

Parallel to the LiDAR volunteer opportunities, the Ridgeway Partnership is looking for 4 to 6 volunteers to identify interesting stories from history linked to numerous locations along The Ridgeway National Trail – from the famous landmarks such as the ancient Uffington White Horse and Avebury stone circle, to the less well-known places with intriguing histories and associated historic figures including local villages. The stories will be made available to the public in printed literature, on the National Trail website, social media and hopefully in a mobile phone app planned for the future. The hope is that this information will bring the Ridgeway’s history alive for people visiting the Ridgeway National Trail and present a comprehensive, inspiring story about the entire Trail.

Both opportunities involve volunteer research that can be done from the comfort of your own home, but some research activities will require volunteers to go to one of the history study centres relating to the Trail (Chippenham, Oxford, Reading and Aylesbury).

For more information about these two new volunteer opportunities, please visit: https://do-it.org/organisations/the-ridgeway-and-thames-path-national-trails and look for 'Ridgeway history research volunteer' and Ridgeway LiDAR history research volunteer' adverts.

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Lumps and bumps of Uffington hillfort, Oxon
Boer War monument on Coombe Hill, Bucks - Colin Drake