The Great Asby Scar Archaeological Survey

The Westmorland Dales Landscape Partnership (WDLP)


Friends of the Lake District


Landscape Survey

Community & Outreach


The Westmorland Dales Landscape Partnership (WDLP) is a National Lottery Heritage Funded project that aims to unlock and reveal the hidden heritage of the Westmorland Dales. As part of the development phase of the project, NAA were commissioned by the Friends of the Lake District (FLD) to prepare detailed designs for two heritage-based projects—an archaeological survey of Great Asby Scar, and a survey of small-scale heritage features found in and around villages within the Westmorland Dales.

The Westmorland Dales project area is known to be rich in archaeology. On Great Asby Scar alone, there are 59 known sites recorded on the Yorkshire Dales Historic Environment Record (HER), including seven Scheduled Monuments. These sites mostly date to the Bronze Age and Romano-British periods. However, no intensive archaeological survey has previously been conducted across the Scar, so this is an exciting new opportunity. As part of the preliminary work, a number of sites were identified from historic mapping and LiDAR coverage , added to which were the results of an earlier small survey undertaken by Lunesdale Archaeology Society (LAS) and the 3 taster days conducted by NAA. The result was a further 52 potential sites added to the record, illustrating the efficacy of this type of Level 1 survey.

Alongside the research and fieldwork, open events were held to promote the project, culminating in a final celebration day held at Orton Market Hall in April 2018, which was attended by around 50 local people from across the area. Rebecca Cadbury-Simmons and Penny Middleton from NAA’s Heritage Management Team both delivered talks, discussing the methodology used and showcasing the initial findings.

All this information was fed into the final project design which was submitted as part of the Lottery Fund bid by FLD. Happily, everyone's hard work eventually paid off, and in January 2019 the WDLP received a £2.27 million grant from the Heritage Fund. In August the same year NAA bid for, and successfully won, the next phase of the Great Asby Archaeological Survey. This comprises a six-week community archaeology survey investigating an 11km2  area of open access rough pasture and limestone pavement located between Great Asby and Orton. The fieldwork will be divided into two three-week seasons, the first to be undertaken in Autumn 2019, and the second in Spring 2020.

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