Launch event 18 March
This Exploited Land of Iron officially launched on 18 March 2017 with IRONFEST - a fun-filled activity day at The Moors National Park Centre, Danby. A fantastic day was had by all and some pictures are shown below. The event also included an exhibition from photographer and writer Ian Macdonald - “An Exploited Landscape in Transition”.
A special launch edition newspaper was printed for the event, and can be viewed below.
On Wednesday 16 August the Land of Iron team were out entertaining families in the beautiful environment of the Danby show. The most popular feature of our stall by far was our large scale foam logo, where an unprecedented number of children and their parents joined forces to master the art of arch building. Our information boards explored the history of the area and the conservation aims over the next 4 years and the exciting technology and techniques we’ll be using to achieve this.
On Saturday 19 August the team were out manning a stall at the Rosedale show, helping to celebrate this gorgeous historic village. Once again proving popular with adults and children alike, our activities included owl pellet dissection and arch-building, alongside the displaying of our exciting information boards.
On Wednesday 23 August the Land of Iron team took part in the Egton show, delivering family-friendly fun with archive photographs, information boards and our famous arch-building activity. There were smiles all round as we introduced the aims of the Land of Iron programme and fond reminiscences from family remembers who had parents and grandparents that used to work in the ironstone industry.
Friends of the Stockton and Darlington Railway – 192nd Anniversary
On Saturday 23 September we joined the Friends of Stockton and Darlington Railway in Stockton-on-Tees High Street to celebrate the 192nd anniversary opening of this historic line. Joining the many and varied railway-focused stalls, we introduced the public to the aims of the Land of Iron programme, epic badge making, and the volunteer opportunities available in the stunning North York Moors. We focused on the core importance the railways played in opening up the North York Moors landscape to the industrial mining of ironstone and made a whole host of new friends with the dedicated heritage groups of Teesside.
Rosedale History Weekend
On Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 April Rosedale Local History Weekend highlighted the rich heritage of Rosedale with archive photographs, maps, plans and artefacts, local artwork and crafts, children's activities, guided walks and talks. Thanks to Rosedale History Society and all their volunteers for an excellent event.
Hot lime mortar training workshop
Volunteers from the project spent an enlightening day on 4 May with Nigel Copsey from the Earth, Stone and Lime Company learning about the theory and use of hot lime mortar mixes in building conservation. This technique is the same method that was used to build most of the kilns and mining structures in the Land of Iron and can produce a very strong and durable mortar. The term hot lime mortar comes from the fact that when the quicklime is mixed with water (slaked) it generates considerable heat, which is a truly remarkable reaction to observe.
Glaisdale guided walk
On 6 May Simon Chapman of Cleveland Mining Heritage Society led a fascinating 3-hour walk uncovering the hidden heritage of Glaisdale, which once hosted a major ironworks and mining complex. The walk picked out clues in the landscape that when pieced together give a clear picture of the area's industrial past. Simon is currently working on a book about the mining history of Glaisdale, due to be published later in 2017.
Combs Wood community archaeology excavation
The site at Combs Wood dates to a brief period in the mid-19th century where ironstone mines were popping up all over the North York Moors. The operations within Combs Wood only lasted less than a decade and were in trouble from very early on due to faulty blast furnaces and a falling price of iron, the final blow coming in 1864 when one night a landslide buried many of the mine entrances.
From 15 to 19 May we excavated a trench that encompassed one mine building, a possible yard and a waterwheel pit. Within the building we found plaster on the walls that were originally thought to be dry stoned, we found a cobbled layer that most likely formed the foundation to tapped earth or lime ash floor which has now gone. In the centre of this was a large stone slab that would have formed the base/support for an unknown feature. We found fragments of crown glass with the bullseye. This bullseye was the result of spinning that was part of the glassmaking process. Numerous other finds included pantiles from the roof, clay pipes for smoking, glass bottles, a possible horseshoe and tons on pottery.
Grosmont Cooperative 150th Anniversary
On Saturday 20 May the team helped Grosmont Cooperative Society celebrate its 150th birthday, making it the world's longest standing independent co-op. Information displays explained what the project will be doing over the next 4 years and "Ironstone Explorers" badge making was very popular with families.
Grosmont Extravaganza of Heritage and Wildlife Recording
On 17 June we spent 24 hours recording as much of the wildlife and heritage around Grosmont as possible, logging an amazing 291 different species and a wealth of buildings information that will be used to develop conservation and management proposals for the area. Huge thanks to Whitby Naturalist Society and Yorkshire and Humber Ecological Data Trust, who helped with species identification and logging of records.
Combs Wood post excavation finds processing
On the 5 July a group of 5 volunteers assembled on the front lawn of the Old Vicarage for some processing of the finds from recent excavations at Combs Wood. This activity involved washing the archaeological finds, cleaning them of all the mud and soil caked on from the (very wet) excavation in May. The volunteers cleaned pottery, glass, metal and ceramic building material leaving them to dry in trays. ‘Star finds’ included a lemonade bottle (F. Harland Superior Leamonade Whitby), an ink bottle and a gilded button embellished with a horse head relief.
Tuesday 25 July to Saturday 5 August - Goathland Incline archaeology dig
An exciting archaeological excavation to search for traces of an industry that transformed local life, culture and the landscape. We excavated using archaeological methods to find out what hidden structures and traces of industry remain at the top of the Goathland Incline. The North York Moors is famed for its natural beauty and richness but once this landscape was a hive of industrial activity. By careful excavation we unearthed evidence of this industrial past to uncover the lives of the miners, railwaymen and their families that made the North York Moors their home.