Archaeology group bids to uncover title

Volunteers working on the exposed remains of a medieval farmhouse at Linbrig, near Alwinton.
Volunteers working on the exposed remains of a medieval farmhouse at Linbrig, near Alwinton.

Volunteer archaeologists are in the running to win a prestigious national award.

Coquetdale Community Archaeology group’s Border Roads project will compete against volunteer-led initiatives in Dartmoor National Park and Exmoor National Park to win a £1,000 bursary and the prestigious accolade of UK National Parks Volunteer Project of the Year 2018.

Based in the Upper Coquet valley, the project has involved some 90 hard-working volunteers who have spent four years investigating and documenting the history and archaeology of The Border Roads, the ancient routes through the Cheviots.

David Jones, project manager and the group’s secretary, said: “To be shortlisted for a national award is extremely gratifying and fantastic recognition for the project.

“Our volunteers have worked very hard with their dedication and determination making this a journey of discovery. By researching and sharing the area’s rich cultural and historical heritage, we hope to inspire more people to visit and learn about the Cheviot landscape and the people that shaped it before us.”

In 2014, Coquetdale Community Archaeology secured funding from Northumberland National Park Authority and the Heritage Lottery Fund to begin researching, documenting and communicating the archaeology along the routes through the hills.

Since then, it has published two books and is currently developing a new website. Volunteers have also run a number of archaeology sessions and field trips for schools.

The National Parks Volunteer Award winners will be announced at Kendal on Saturday.

Congratulating the group on reaching the final, Tony Gates, Northumberland National Park Authority chief executive, said: “We are very pleased that the hard work and enthusiasm of the Coquetdale Community Archaeology group has been recognised nationally, and wish them the very best of luck for the final.

“The project is immensely valuable; it has enhanced our understanding of Cheviot history and its legacy will undoubtedly attract more people to the hills and help them understand what they see.”