Lickey Hills First World War heritage project awarded lottery funding

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A local heritage project which seeks to record and research the use of the Lickey Hills during World War I has been officially launched today (Monday 20th March) after being awarded £10,000 of lottery funding.

Image by Lickey Ranger on Flickr

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.

Now a schoolroom for visiting children but was formerly a mess building

The project, Hidden Heritage of the Lickey Hills has been awarded the funds through the Heritage Lottery Fund’s First World War: then and now WWI centenary programme.

It will be run in partnership with the Lickey Hills Society and the Birmingham Park Ranger Service and supported by the Worcestershire Archive & Archaeology Service.

The project will record and research buildings on Bilberry Hill in the Lickey Hills Country Park dating from the Great War.

Remnants of one of two gun butts for shell testing

The unusual – possibly unique – collection of buildings include two gun butts for testing field guns (see cover photo), a partially demolished munitions store, mess buildings and a gun emplacement. A bunker, possible officers’ mess and stable block previously on the site have since been lost.

Through the project, local people can come together to uncover and preserve the heritage of this unique site.  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. 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.

The information gathered will be used to create interpretation boards and a leaflet, as well as a teachers’ pack as an educational resource for school visits. The information will also be made available on the Country Park website and with relevant Museum and Archive collections.

Members of the project meeting with Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service in the bunker – 30/06/2016.

This will allow the public to discuss, contribute, share and research information about the Home Front. The end of the Project will be marked with a series of events open to the public to share the results of the research.

Jill Harvey of the Lickey Hills Local History Society said (LHLHS): “We are thrilled to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and can’t wait to start investigating, researching and recording the site.”

Project orgnisers would love to hear from you if you wish to be involved or if you have any information or photographs which could help. Contact LHLLHS by emailing info@lhlhs.org.uk 

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