Shap­ing the his­tor­i­cal legacy of Colne Val­ley

Project aims to cre­ate archive record­ing sto­ries and mem­o­ries from busi­nesses and lo­cals alike

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS -

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.”

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