Hundreds of thousands of people (and hobbits?!) visit Lickey Hills Country Park every year. To those of us lucky enough to live close by, the hills provide an escape, a place to make memories, a beautiful space to reflect and get close to nature.
The Visitors Centre in Warren Lane hosts many events and is a welcome rest spot for a cuppa (and the loo!).
However, during World War I, our beautiful country park was home to some very different buildings and a new project has begun to research and record these buildings.
WWI buildings project
The Lickey Hills Local History Society, the Lickey Hills Society, and the Lickey Hills Rangers Team have started the project around the unusual, and possibly unique, buildings from the Great War on Bilberry Hill.
There are two large concrete gun testing butts and a munitions bunker in the old wood yard on Warren Lane, the latter being recently dug out from under tonnes of soil by ranger-led volunteer groups. There is also a toilet block and two mess rooms next to the Visitor Centre.
The projects aims to record the buildings and find out more about their use, recording the history of the buildings and helping people understand the heritage on their doorstep. Archive collections will be investigated to find out more about the type of work undertaken on the site during WW1 and also the military units that were involved.
The project is also supported by the Worcestershire Archive & Archaeology Service and the group plans to create a bid for Heritage Lottery Funding to support their future work.
Representing Lickey Hills Local History Society and Lickey Hills Society, Jill Harvey said: “The Country Park has hundreds of thousands of visitors every year, and most of us have walked past the buildings without a second glance, not realising their history – including me. Now that they are nearly 100 years old, perhaps it’s time we looked at them properly and realised their uniqueness.”
A key aim is that the work be carried out by volunteers within the community, with training offered in the various research and recording tasks being undertaken. If anyone is interested in learning more or in getting involved with the project they should contact Jill Harvey tel: 0121 453 5838 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Share your memories
People are also urged to get in touch if they have any memories or stories that have been passed down or any photographs or other physical evidence from that time that could be used.
There will be an Open Weekend on September 17th & 18th. 11am to 4pm at the Visitor Centre, Warren Lane, Lickey B45 8ER.
See the intriguing collection of World War 1 buildings in the Country Park. Guided walks. Plus the Worcestershire World War One Bell Tent and re-enactors. Free and open to everyone.
Cover photo by Lickey Ranger on Flickr