Shaping the historical legacy of Colne Valley
Project aims to create archive recording stories and memories from businesses and locals alike
Groundwork South, which runs the Colne Valley Regional Park, has been given £45,000 by the Heritage Lottery Fund for the project, which will showcase the “unofficial countryside” in the park.
It will look at the manmade areas of the park, which includes part of Denham and Iver, and how former gravel pits, quarries, railways and agriculture have become popular recreational areas over the years.
The park covers more than 40 square miles and spreads from Rickmansworth to Staines. During the last 50 years, parts of the park have been shaped by quarrying and railway use, which has left lakes, pathways, and park areas.
Working with local businesses, community associations, historical societies and local groups, the project aims to create an industrial heritage archive by recording stories and memories from residents, compiling photographs showcasing the landscape changes over time, and gathering researched information bringing it all together.
Volunteers will help to create the archive which will be used to design heritage trails throughout the park, and presentations to engage and share with the community as well as future visitors to the Colne Valley.
Fiona Brewer, project officer from Groundwork South, said: “Many visitors to the Colne Valley Regional Park do not realise that the lakeland landscape that they enjoy across the park is man made and has been formed from an industrial history such as gravel extraction.
“This exciting project will enable us to create an oral history of landscape change from wet meadows to industrial sites to attractive lakes.”
She added: “We are extremely pleased to have the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund for the ‘50 Years of the Unofficial Countryside’ project.
“It is a great opportunity to create a valuable historical legacy of the Colne Valley Regional Park that will not only engage the local community but visitors coming from outside the park as well.”