PLB : £4M Heritage Lottery Fund boost will see Northamptonshire heritage site open to the public- Creative design and consultancy for cultural and natural heritage

£4M Heritage Lottery Fund boost will see Northamptonshire heritage site open to the public

Northamptonshire County Council is preparing to bring to life thousands of years of Northamptonshire’s archaeology and heritage and make it accessible to the public, thanks to a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) boost and support from heritage design consultancy, PLB.

The PLB team has worked with the local authority on its second round HLF bid, which was awarded last week, giving the council just under £4 million to progress the Chester Farm scheme.


Chester Farm


PLB Projects Director, Sarah Oswald, says: “Chester Farm is an archaeologically and historically important site, covering 34 hectares, which includes a large area designated as a Scheduled Monument and a complex of Grade II and Grade II* listed buildings.

“Combining evidence of earthworks and finds from the Iron Age, through to a deserted Medieval village site and listed buildings representing a history of farming and settlement from the Medieval period through to the 20th century, this site offers a unique learning opportunity. It’s fantastic that the wheels can now be set in motion to provide public access to this wonderful resource.”

PLB worked in association with Northamptonshire County Council, Mace and Tourism UK to develop a scheme which will provide public access, balanced with an economically viable and long-term sustainable re-use of the buildings, which supports the whole site’s maintenance and management.

Having supported Chester Farm through a successful round one bid, PLB worked on activity planning and interpretive design for the round two application with the local authority.

Sarah Bridges, Archives and Heritage Services Manager at Northamptonshire County Council says, “This site contains evidence of human activity spanning ten thousand years, and has been home to communities over some two thousand years. Our vision is to make Chester Farm somewhere that people want to come; a place that, through education, learning and enjoyment, adds value to their lives, and helps them to appreciate Northamptonshire’s outstanding heritage.”

Evidence of occupation and activity on site include Mesolithic flint, evidencing activity by hunter-gathers; Iron Age settlements; a Roman walled town, including roads, temples, domestic and other buildings; a deserted Medieval village know as Chester–by–the-Water; a post-Medieval farm complex with a range of buildings dating from the 16/17th century through to the 20th century; and a tramway used for ironstone extraction in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The development of the site will include an Archaeological Resource Centre, bringing together all the archaeological artefacts owned by the county, district and borough councils together in one place for the first time.

“The Chester Farm project will open up the whole site to the public, and the intention is to develop it as somewhere you can learn more about the county’s fascinating history and heritage, with opportunities to join in educational or volunteering activities,” adds Sarah Bridges.

Posted 19th August 2013

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